Welsh Tories raise spectre of Meibion Glyndŵr in criticism of ‘hostile’ second-homes campaigners
Welsh Tories have raised the spectre of Mebion Glyndŵr in a letter to a police chief over what they see as “hostile tactics” by those opposing second homes in north Wales.
Shadow Minister Janet Finch-Saunders MS has written to North Wales’ Police and Crime Commissioner after stickers were placed on holiday homes on Anglesey saying ‘Nid yw Cymru ar Werth’ [Wales is not for sale].
Welsh language campaign group Cymdeithas yr Iaith – which placed stickers on houses in Rhosneigr – said it was calling on the island’s council to play its part in protecting the island’s communities by increasing the level of the council tax premium on second houses.
Commenting on her letter, Janet Finch-Saunders MS, who speaks on housing, said: “I am worried about campaigners are adopting hostile tactics to show their opposition towards second homes in North Wales because the last thing we need is this escalating into what we saw Meibion Glyndwr do in the 1980s.”
The Meibion Glyndŵr group became notorious after holiday homes were set on fire in Wales from 1979 to the mid-1990s.
anet Finch-Saunders added: “Whilst the frustration that house prices are going up in the area, making it harder for locals to buy property, are legitimate, the answer is to build more houses, not trespassing and defacing private property with aggressive campaign material.
“That’s why I have written to the PCC – so we can ensure the law is upheld and that protest remains peaceful and legal. People should not be afraid to sell or buy property because of antagonistic rhetoric from pressure groups.
“There are many issues facing Wales’ housing market, like Labour not building half the homes needed to keep up with demand, so let’s make sure we fix the causes rather than attack the symptoms of the Labour Government’s failure.”
Council tax premium
Osian Jones on behalf of the Nid yw Cymru ar Werth campaign has said: “The regulations and the housing situation have changed since the Council made the original decision to raise a council tax premium of 75% on second homes.
“2,208 houses on the island are considered second homes, which is 9 % of the county’s housing stock, so the council needs to use the opportunity next week to put measures in place now to reduce the problem, by raising the council tax premium for second houses.
“The Welsh Government is not doing enough either – it has been slow to give guidelines to councils about their new powers, and there is still no mention of money or resources for councils to cover the additional work.”
Anglesey Council decided in 2019 that it would charge a 75% council tax premium on second houses.
Since then, the Welsh Government has changed the regulations and Local Authorities can charge a premium of up to 300%, and can put measures in place to require planning permission to change a home into a second house.
Cyngor Môn’s cabinet will meet on Tuesday (29/12) to approve a report on Council Tax for 2023/24. The report confirms the decision made in 2019 to raise 75% of council tax premium on second homes.
Cymdeithas yr Iaith said that second homes are only part of the problem, pointing out that average house prices are £275,635 while the average salary is £27,124.
They are also calling for a Property Act that will regulate the housing market.
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