Campaigners gather in Abersoch to protest against second homes
A further protest against the number of second homes in the area has been held in Abersoch.
The demonstration is in response to a new consultation on second homes and self-catering holiday accommodation launched last month by the Welsh Government.
Event organiser Dafydd Griffiths said that protesters engaged in positive conversations with tourists visiting the area.
Speaking to the Cambrian Times he said: “The tourists who stopped to chat, who were staying in a nearby caravan park, were of the same opinion as us in that the locals should be living in the houses.
“They also enquired what the local authority and the Senedd were doing to address the situation.”
Last month, Chair of Cymdeithas yr Iaith’s Sustainable Communities Group, Elin Hywel, present at the Abersoch protest, said the consultation itself was an attempt to “downplay the effects of the housing crisis across Wales”.
The consultation was announced before hundreds turned out to a rally last month at the Tryweryn dam to call on the Welsh Government to take action on high house prices and second homes.
“Ordinary people across Wales are feeling increasingly desperate and are begging their government to protect them from the effects of the open market that is ruining their communities and their chances of getting a home.
“The housing crisis is not an abstract issue but is rather an injustice that has a direct impact on all aspects of daily life.”
Views are being sought on potential changes to local taxes which could be used by local authorities to tackle the effects that large numbers of second homes and commercial holiday lets can have in some parts of Wales.
Wales is still the only UK nation to give local authorities the power to introduce a 100 per cent council tax premium on both second homes and long-term empty homes (empty for more than a year).
This additional income can be used to address issues affecting the supply of affordable housing or for the provision of public services and other facilities such as public transport.
The Welsh Government consultation on council tax and non-domestic rates was launched by Climate Change Minister Julie James last month to address the impact of second home ownership seen in some of Wales’ communities.
Plaid Cymru’s spokesperson for housing, Mabon ap Gwynfor MS, said: “Rising house prices, increasing demand for second homes, and fewer properties available for rental; the housing crisis in Wales is getting worse.
“In launching a consultation, the government has at last acknowledged there is a housing crisis but in failing to act where they can, they are allowing this crisis to get worse.”
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