Second homes should be ‘compulsorily’ bought back and given to local people, says Pembrokeshire councillor
A councillor has said that second homes should be “compulsorily” bought back by local authorities so that they can provide homes for local people.
Tenby Councillor Michael Williams said that while he welcomed the ‘Wales is not for Sale’ campaign, parts of Wales had already been sold and “must be reclaimed”.
Without “drastic action” communities would become “unrecognizable” with “irreparable damage” done, he told the Narberth & Whitland Observer.
“I asked the Local Authority to investigate the possibility of the compulsory purchase of second homes of the type that would suit first time buyers, and the current law will I hope be changed to facilitate this,” he said.
“There are many small properties within the conservation area which until fairly recently were occupied by local families, they should be purchased following a valuation by the District Valuers office and offered to young local families, with a mortgage offered by the Local Authority at preferential rates.
“Without what might be perceived as quite drastic action, our community will be changed and become unrecognizable, even if it continues to exist.
“I welcome the campaign ‘Wales is not for sale’ – the situation in Tenby is that it has been sold, and it must be reclaimed.
“In the infamous Act of Union of 1536 there is included a word rarely heard these days, ‘Extirpation’. This was meant to ensure the total destruction of the Welsh language. Perhaps it could be applied to second homes?”
Michael Williams however added that while second homes were a problem for the Welsh language they were destroying non-Welsh speaking communities too.
“It is not only a Welsh language issue although the damage being done to Welsh language communities is catastrophic, even outside these areas irreparable damage is being done too often to what is a unique culture and way of life,” he said.
“Our social, cultural and economic life is being eroded by this influx of individuals who know nothing of our history, who move here because they say they love the area and within very few years campaign to change our basic values.
“An example of this might be the Tenby dog ban recently suggested to the town council by a person who doesn’t even reside in the County and appears to have no roots here!
“We are gullible enough to allow them to inveigle themselves into positions, without offering themselves for public election, where they can inflict their often alien values upon the local communities.”
The First Minister Mark Drakeford has said that the Welsh Government is likely to announce some proposals on tackling the housing crisis by the end of the month.
Speaking on the BBC’s Sunday Supplement programme on Sunday, the First Minister said that he “expects the Cabinet to have a paper before the end of this month drawing together all those ideas and giving us some practical proposals to consider”.
“Some listeners will know that an important report on this whole issue was published in March by Dr. Simon Brooks in Swansea University.
“We hope to respond to that report this month as well, and make a series of recommendations aimed at not just the Welsh Government but local authorities as well.
“So there’s a lot of activity going on in this area. What I said in my first speech in the Senedd was nobody has a monopoly of ideas or wisdom on this topic, and when we come forward with our proposals we’ll want to discuss them with others.
“And see if there are any other ideas that we could add to that repertoire, to strengthen the protections that are available in those local communities where, if we’re not careful, people who were born, brought up, and want to make their futures in those parts of Wales, simply find that that’s not possible for them.”