Senedd Member angry after company sends homeowner letter asking to buy his property amid housing crisis
Anglesey’s Senedd Member has said that he is angry after a company sent a letter to a constituent asking to buy his property, amid a housing crisis on the island.
Ynys Môn MS Rhun ap Iorwerth said that he had been passed a letter received by a Benllech homeowner from a Warwick-based company, Coastal Holidays.
The letter asked whether the homeowner was “interested in selling or renting the property long term”.
Speaking in the Senedd, Rhun ap Iorwerth said that it showed why robust action was required to “safeguard the housing market, and through that safeguard the Welsh language”.
“This is a company that is trying purposefully to take properties out of the local housing stock, disenfranchising people in the community from being able to buy those houses and driving prices up,” he said.
Addressing Welsh Language Minister Jeremy Miles he said: “The Minister today has talked about good practice that he wants to see developing. Does the Minister agree with me that what we see in this letter is poor practice?
“It’s not unique, of course, but it is testimony to why we need the kinds of measures that are being mentioned today that emanate from the co-operation agreement, and why we need to take robust action, including legislation, to safeguard the housing market, and through that safeguard the Welsh language.”
Responding, Jeremy Miles aid that he accepted “that that’s bad practice”.
“That’s the very kind of thing that we want to tackle in the broader plans that we have,” he said. “What I’ve said today will make a contribution.
“Good practice isn’t always enough; we sometimes will need to change legislation or taxation. We’re doing that in terms of planning and LTT and so on. So, that broader range of things will make a difference, hopefully.”
Earlier, he had launched a Welsh Language Communities Housing Plan aimed at tackling the housing crises in Welsh speaking communities.
He said that the large number of second homes and short-term holiday accommodation in some parts of Wales had “provoked strong feelings for some years”.
“In these communities, there is an understandable sense of injustice that people can be priced out of their local housing market by those purchasing second homes or homes bought as short-term lets.
“Wales has always been a welcoming nation, and we always want that to be the case. Tourism is an important industry in Wales, but too much holiday accommodation and too many second homes that are empty for much of the year can have a negative impact on the vibrancy of these areas and the sense of community.
“Often, second homes are concentrated in Welsh-speaking communities and can reduce our opportunities to use our language in those communities. Also, if young people cannot afford to live and work in our Welsh-speaking communities, that can also be to the detriment of the language.”
Following the debate, Rhun ap Iorwerth MS added: “In the face of a deepening housing crisis, where we’ve lost hundreds of homes from the local housing stock due to them being bought to be used as second homes or holiday lets, this recent letter from Coastal Holidays to homeowners in Benllech further highlights why we need to take real and urgent steps to address the situation.
“The package of purposeful measures that have been developed as a result of the constructive cooperation between Plaid Cymru and the Government in this area will, together, begin to address the injustices in our housing system and make a real difference to people and communities right across Wales.”
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