Denbighshire records big increase in the number of second homes and holiday lets
Richard Evans, local democracy reporter
As many as 7% of homes in some Denbighshire villages and small towns are holiday properties, figures have revealed.
A council report shows the number of second homes has risen in Denbighshire from 228 in 2016 to 401 in 2022.
The number of holiday homes has also risen from 116 in 2018 to 228 in 2022.
According to the council report, there are currently 58 second homes in Rhyl, 51 in Prestatyn, 41 in Llangollen, 27 in Denbigh and 27 in Corwen.
But many smaller towns and villages had a higher percentage of homes used as either second homes or holiday homes.
Highest was Llantysilio with 7.59%, closely followed by Cynwyd with 7.28%, Clocaenog with 6.93%, Llandrillo with 6.67%, Aberwheeler with 6.67%, Bodfari with 5.49%, Tremeirchion, Cwm and Waen with 5.74% and Nantglyn with 5%.
Cllr Brian Blakeley was concerned.
“It would be wrong of me, being the homeless champion in Denbighshire, to not bring this up,” he said.
“Looking at these properties that are being used in summer, of course, and empty during the winter – and we are losing revenue as well from this – it concerns me that we have got so many people homeless in Denbighshire that we can’t use these properties.
“A lot of young people are not able to get on the housing ladder due to this, and we are losing a lot. They are moving away.”
Cllr Delyth Jones added: “This issue is very important for many areas in Wales on many levels, the economy, the effect on everything, the Welsh language and also in rural areas.”
A second home is defined for council tax purposes as a dwelling that is not a person’s sole or main home and is substantially furnished.
A short-term holiday let is considered to be a property let for the purposes of a holiday only; the guest will have a main home elsewhere, and the let is for less than three months.
Both second homes and holiday lets have had a significant impact on the affordability of homes with some communities in North Wales becoming empty in the winter months.
The problem has also damaged Wales culturally in terms of the Welsh language.
The figures were shared and discussed at Denbighshire’s communities scrutiny committee where councillors were asked for their comments.
The report examined the current planning requirements for second homes, short-term holiday lets and new measures proposed by Welsh Government.
The report also provided information on the current planning requirements and controls available in relation to second homes and short-term holiday lets.
The report outlined current powers, explaining that caravans, chalets, glamping pods and converted rural buildings were subject to planning legislation.
But regular homes used as second homes or holiday homes were not; however, earlier this week, Welsh Government announced councils will be able to control numbers of second homes and holiday lets under new legislation.
It is expected that landlords of short-term holiday lets will also have to abide by a new statutory licensing scheme.
Councils had already been granted the ability to increase council tax by 300% on second homes from next year, but a loophole has complicated this.
Now a new tax system is expected to be put forward with planning requirements for both second homes and holiday homes.
The changes to planning regulations are expected to come in by the end of the summer.
The council report was backed unanimously.
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