Last permanent residents of village where almost every house is second home call for action
One of the last permanent residents of a village where almost every house is a second summer home has called for action.
88-year-old Norman Thomas, the last Welsh speaker in Cwm-yr-Eglwys in Pembrokeshire, called on the Welsh Government to protect dying communities such as his.
Only two of the 50 houses in the village now have permanent residents – and those residents are in their 80s. The rest are holiday homes.
One house which did have a permanent resident is now for sale – for £1.3m.
Norman Thomas told BBC Radio Cymru this morning that the village is completely empty during the winter and there is no longer a pub or shop.
“It’s sad that young Welsh people can’t afford these houses,” he told Dros Frecwast.
“The Government is to blame, and they should do something to stop it, and give the locals a chance – they have no chance now. There is no work in Pembrokeshire for them.
“It’s too late for Cwm-yr-Eglwys, these houses have all been sold to English people. I have nothing against them – they bring work here.
“Every winter there is work going on on the houses, and people from the area who do it, and without it local people would suffer.”
The only other permanent residents are Elizabeth and Harry Broughton, who moved there from Lancashire 20 years ago.
But they told BBC Cymru Fyw that they welcomed the fact that the village is full of holiday homes, as their investment has grown in value beyond their hopes, they said.
“We’re sitting on gold here, there’s no doubt about that,” Mrs Broughton said.
The Welsh Government have agreed to look at what “further interventions are available” to them.
“Wales is the only nation in the United Kingdom to give local authorities powers to raise higher levels of council tax on long-term empty properties and second homes,” a Welsh Government spokesman said.
“The local authority decides and increases council tax premiums. We have also increased the higher rate of Land Transaction Tax, which applies when people buy additional properties.
“We are looking at what further interventions are available and how our partners can use existing powers.”