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English city votes to ban new-build second homes and holiday lets

22 Jun 2022 3 minute read
Brighton by Angerey (CC BY-SA 4.0).

The council of the city of Brighton in England has voted to ban new-build second homes and holiday lets in a bid to bring down soaring house prices.

The move by councillors comes after a Brighton and Hove City Council report found that more than 3,000 properties in the city could be being used as short-term holiday lets.

According to Rightmove, the average property in Brighton and Hove costs £473,000, a 14% increase on the £414,000 average cost at the start of the pandemic.

The crackdown comes after residents in the town of Whitby in the north of England voted by 95% to stop people buying new properties as second homes there last week.

Cllr Amanda Evans said that the ban in Brighton was necessary as younger people could not afford to live in the city.

“Younger employees at the council are moving out to Worthing because they can’t afford to live in Brighton,” she told the local newspaper, The Argus.

Three-quarters of properties in the Edward Street Quarter, a new development, had already been sold off “for outrageously high prices” before the development was completed, she said.

“I bet they’re not being bought by people who are going to live in them themselves,” she added.

‘Failure’

The result comes as Wales looks set to introduce its own far-reaching legislation that will allow councils to curb ownership of second homes.

The Welsh Government confirmed last month that they would carry on with plans for tax hikes on holiday lets that do not rent out their properties for more than half the year.

Following a consultation, from April local authorities will be able to set council tax premiums on second homes and long-term empty properties to 300% from April 2023.

The criteria for self-catering accommodation being liable for business rates instead of council tax will also change at the same time, from 70 to 182 days.

Welsh Conservatives have however opposed the move, with Aberconwy Senedd Member Janet Finch-Saunders accusing the Welsh Government of being “obsessed” with second homes.

“Industry data suggests that Wales needs to build 12,000 homes a year by 2031 but before the pandemic we saw that the Welsh Government could barely manage half of that,” Janet Finch-Saunders said.

“Shockingly in 2018-19, we saw the number of properties completed fall to 30.6% below levels seen prior to devolution.

“This failure to deliver on new homes is compounded by the reality that the Welsh Government refuses to listen to the common-sense policy solutions that I have put forward, including the re-introduction of the Right-to-Buy scheme and amendments to planning policy.

“Instead, the Welsh Government has become obsessed with targeting second homeowners and legitimate holiday let businesses.

“However, it is clear that even in this the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru are failing, once again announcing a new scheme without having thought it through. It is totally shocking that six months into this scheme Gwynedd’s Council Leader remains unsure as to what the Welsh Government are even piloting.”

The Senedd Member’s most recent register of interests shows that she jointly owned seven properties, including a residential/holiday-let property in Menai Bridge with her daughter.


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Jurgen the Brown
Jurgen the Brown
5 months ago

Brighton being anti-English?

hdavies15
hdavies15
5 months ago

Shocking, innit ?

Glyn Jones
Glyn Jones
5 months ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Racists!

AntonJacques
AntonJacques
5 months ago

No, they’re being anti-Welsh clearly

The Original Mark
The Original Mark
5 months ago

Oh well, just your average xenophobic tories for you,

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
5 months ago

Perhaps a Plaid MP should ask questions in Westminster about a racist English Council banning Welsh people from buying second homes.

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
5 months ago

There are several comments here rightly mocking the ‘xenophobia’ trope being pedalled by anti-Wales trolls on various social media sites regarding Cymru’s fight-back against second homes. One of the unforeseen benefits to the recent decisions by local councils in some English coastal towns is that it pulls the rug from under the feet of those in England who choose to see Wales’ new legislation as anti-English and nothing more.

David
David
5 months ago

The current makeup of the Brighton and Hove City Council is:
Party Councillors
Green Party 20
Labour 16
Conservative 12
Independent 6

Wilson Marilyn
Wilson Marilyn
5 months ago

Why was so much press space given to one Conservative member rather than a FAR more rounded and honest approach to this question and article? Your media is biased and it shows.

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