Burnham Market hotel owner hits back at criticism of second home owners

PUBLISHED: 06:30 02 April 2013

Brendan Hopkins outside The Hoste Arms in Burnham Market. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Brendan Hopkins outside The Hoste Arms in Burnham Market. Picture: Matthew Usher.

© Archant Norfolk 2013

The owner of an iconic north Norfolk hotel has criticised negative views about second home owners expressed by president of the Campaign to Protect Rural England.

In an interview with The Times, Sir Andrew Motion said, “townies in the countryside” were “gutting” rural communities and blamed them for helping to create the housing shortage.

Mr Motion said: “I think there’s a question about whether second homes mean you have inert dormitory communities in the countryside through most of the week, very often lived in by people who scoot down in their cars, see their smart friends, don’t join in the life of the community and don’t feed into it.”

The CPRE president did not call for a ban on second home ownership, but said: “I would increase taxes on second homes to make it very expensive.”

Brendan Hopkins owns The Hoste Arms, in Burnham Market. The village is frequently referred to as Chelsea-on-Sea due to the high number of second home owners there.

Mr Hopkins said: “I think Mr Motion has a very one-dimensional point of view.

“I agree that local people should be able to get onto the property ladder, but to say that people should be heavily penalised just for having a second home is wrong. The idea that second home owners should need a special planning permission is also wrong.

“Tourism is vital to the Norfolk economy and second home ownership is part of that.

“Many second home owners do a lot to support local communities. Many fall in love with Norfolk and end up retiring here. And you often have a situation when one partner stays Norfolk during the week while the other works in London and comes back at the weekend.

“And I can’t see these so-called dormitory communities anywhere, certainly not in north Norfolk.”

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb believes second home owners should not be given discounts on council tax and there is a case for giving councils power to decide whether someone wanting to convert a permanent home into a second home gets planning permission.

He said: “Clearly people owning second homes bring money into the local area, however, where there are villages with a high percentage of homes bought up by second home owners it can have a massive impact on the viability of local schools, shops and post offices and it can rip the heart out of a local community.”

6 comments

  • “And I can’t see these so-called dormitory communities anywhere, certainly not in north Norfolk.” Really? Hopkins ought to come for a walk around Stiffkey. I can point out the two-thirds or so of the houses which are holidaysecond homes.

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    Martin

    Tuesday, April 2, 2013

  • The cynic might think the reason that Mr Hopkins is getting so defensive about second home owners is because Mrs Hopkins, a director of Fleur Developments, is hoping to sell some of the posh new cottages her company is building in Burnham Deepdale as second homes for rich folk.

    Report this comment

    Betty Swallocks

    Tuesday, April 2, 2013

  • Oh Norman Lamb. His Lib Dems on North Norfolk District Council were the ones that implemented second home discounts! Would he agree it's wrong to give the rich tax cuts this month too? Of course not, because he voted to do just that.

    Report this comment

    JO

    Tuesday, April 2, 2013

  • Sir Andrew has a good point. Many second-homers arrive with all their groceries in the boot, and contribute nothing to local life. Some may indeed visit the Hoste Arms, but many have no effect on the local economy. The council tax on second homes which are not rented as holiday cottages should be at least doubled, and the extra money put to building houses which are only available to locals.

    Report this comment

    julygirl

    Tuesday, April 2, 2013

  • Hardly an unbiased view from someone whose business is firmly aimed at the richer in society. If local houses were occupied by those on an average local wage, those people would be unlikely to spend much at the Hoste Arms. Yes, tourism is vital but why do tourists need a house here? Why not stay in a B&B, hotel (!) or a holiday cottage which is at least occupied more often than a second home. And unless second homes are made harder to own by regulatory means, how will local people get on the ladder when everything is snapped up by Londonites at prices way out of their league?

    Report this comment

    littlesharpie

    Tuesday, April 2, 2013

  • Brendan Hopkins will be patted on the back by his clients for this but it is only publicity. Ok, so he may know "Many second home owners who do a lot to support local communities" - how do they, by spending money in his hotel? Many may "fall in love with Norfolk and end up retiring here" to the expense of locals who then can't buy property. And "you often have a situation when one partner stays Norfolk during the week while the other works in London and comes back at the weekend" - how often Brendan? I don't know any? When you live in a Norfolk village next to 3 second homes which are very rarely occupied and where the owners make no contribution to the local economy and never have the courtesy to even introduce themselves when visiting, it is not surprising that communities are being destroyed by empty properties.

    Report this comment

    MarkMyWords

    Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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