‘Wales is not for sale,’ second homes rally in Anglesey this weekend
Hundreds are expected at a rally in Anglesey this Saturday, September 17, calling for more to be done on second homes in Wales.
The ‘Nid yw Cymru ar Werth’ [Wales is Not for Sale] rally, organised by Cymdeithas yr Iaith, which campaigns for the Welsh language and the communities of Wales, takes place outside Anglesey council offices in Llangefni at 1pm.
“At the rally we will launch the next steps of our campaign,” chair of Cymdeithas’ sustainable communities group Jeff Smith said.
“The Government is clearly listening to the thousands of people who have come to rallies, responded to consultations and campaigned for homes for local people in their communities.
“It has been announced that local authorities will have new powers to reduce the impact of second homes and holiday accommodation in their area, so the next step of the campaign for us now is to press on local authorities to make full use of the powers they will have.
“But local authorities must act immediately in order to have an influence on the housing market in 2023.”
Second home ownership at a proposed Anglesey housing development “can be discouraged by imposing a higher council tax,” a planning document recently said.
Cymdeithas yr Iaith has issued a three-point call for local planning authorities.
“Local planning authorities will have to [one] start consulting within the next few weeks on the level of the council tax premium on second homes, in order to raise the level by next April, or have to wait until next year to raise council tax.
“[Two] Prepare to pass an ‘Article 4’ proposal to ensure that a planning application must be submitted in order to change a main home into a second home or holiday accommodation.
“This is an urgent matter as the government has promised to introduce secondary legislation establishing the three planning classes (main home, second home and holiday accommodation) this autumn.
“[Three] Immediately proceed – as has happened in Gwynedd – to collect evidence and establish a solid case for taking these steps to tackle the problem of second homes and holiday accommodation depriving local people of homes. Without the research, they will be open to legal challenges.”
Jeff added: “We will also express disappointment that the Welsh Government is dragging its feet on the issue.
“The Government has not sent any guidelines to local authorities on how to implement the powers, or announced that funding will be available to enable them to do all the work that will be needed.
“On top of that, there is no mention yet of the secondary legislation to establish planning classes, which has been promised for the autumn, and there hasn’t even been a decision about who is to create the register of holiday accommodation.
“We will call on the Government to move faster on these issues as local communities are losing their housing stock weekly.
“We are therefore proud that the leader of Anglesey Council [Llinos Medi] and two county councillors can be with us at the rally.”
Gwynedd Council’s cabinet is seeking a decision to hold a public consultation on the possible proposal to raise the premium beyond 100% and up to 300% for second homes and long-term empty properties– for the financial year 2023/24.
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