Ceredigion call on Welsh Government to give them greater powers to tackle holiday homes
Katy Jenkins, local democracy reporter
Greater powers to control holiday homes is being requested of Welsh Government as Ceredigion councillors back finding a way of helping young people stay in their communities.
The full council approved a Notice of Motion today calling on the Welsh Government to:
- Add a new clause to the Planning Act so that it is compulsory to make a planning application before obtaining the right to convert a residential home into a holiday home or a holiday let;
- Adapt the policy framework to allow for maximum thresholds to be set with regard to the number of holiday homes in a given area;
- Make it compulsory for second-home owners to ask for planning permission before turning a second home into a holiday business or an Airbnb business.
Councillors raised wider issues including the authority’s own planning policy in the Local Development Plan, the idea of a tourism tax being explored by Welsh Government and the need for more houses to be built.
“There’s a wider problem than just holiday homes, we need to look at the LDP,” said Cllr Lyndon Lloyd.
Cllr Mark Strong, who proposed the motion, said a lack of available and affordable housing was an increasing issue in the west of Wales, adding “I think it’s important that the communities don’t suffer and people that work here can afford to live here.”
Building more houses was not the only solution he added, and local authorities needed Welsh Government to “listen to what we are saying very carefully and take action.”
“Thousands of people in our communities in west Wales that are now suffering the risk of not being able to buy their own home throughout their life because of the unfair competition that can come from rich people that can buy a second or third home,” he added.
Seconding the motion was council leader Cllr Ellen ap Gwynn who said a committee in Cardiff was to discuss second homes and she was “hoping we will see something from the government sooner rather than later.”
A proposed amendment from Cllr Dafydd Edwards that the planning permission for change of use be required retrospectively as well as for new applications but following discussion it was withdrawn.
His suggestion that maximum levels of holiday homes be set at a community council level was also not carried forward after concerns of “displacing the issue” were raised.
The motion was unanimously approved although a number of councillors had withdrawn from the meeting due to personal and prejudicial interests in the matter.
A separate recommendation from scrutiny that a 100 per cent council tax premium be levied on holiday homes be explored was also discussed and it was resolved that officers would prepare a full report.
Cllr ap Gwynn said more work was needed including consideration of the impact the current 25 per cent levy has had on the number of properties turned into holiday businesses and the loss of income this has, as well how other authorities use levy funds to support young people buy homes, renovate and build homes.
It was agreed that a report on taxation issues and how any revenue raised could be spent be prepared.