A tenth of all homes in north Norfolk are ‘second homes’
- Credit: Ian Burt
The stunning stretches of the north Norfolk coast have become desirable for second home owners.
Their popularity means prices are often higher than they would otherwise be, which can often leave local people priced out of the market. It also means some of our communities can feel very empty at certain times of the year as the second homes are not used as frequently.
The north Norfolk district is the sixth highest in the country for the number of second homes, according to the latest figures from the National Housing Federation (NHF), with 5,006 as of October last year - about a tenth of its overall homes.
Vicky White, owner of The Bowling Green Inn in Wells, said it was a complex issue. 'It's two sided really, as a business owner it's great because we wouldn't be here without the second home owners, they support the businesses which is great,' she said. 'But on the other hand, I've lived here for near enough 18 years but would never be able to buy anything here, as it's far too expensive.'
In many communities the figure is much higher, such as in Thornham - which falls in the King's Lynn and west Norfolk district - where about half of its 250-odd households are second homes.
West Norfolk is 19th on the NHF's list, with 3,362 second homes as of October last year.
Thornham Parish Councillor Colin Venes said the village prides itself on the integration between locals and second home owners, many of whom have helped get local projects, such as the village hall, off the ground.
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'Second home owners make a significant contribution to the area,' he said, 'and many feel that Thornham is their first home. Many have been here for a long time or have family connections and have real warmth for the area.'
The welcome is not one always replicated around the country.
Earlier this month it was revealed that people living in St Ives, on the south-west coast, will next month vote in a referendum to approve a neighbourhood plan, which includes a legal requirement to ensure all new housing in the area is for principal residence, with owners' status checked against the electoral roll and doctors' registers.
Back in our region, Suffolk Coastal had 2,738 second homes, Great Yarmouth had 2,388, Waveney had 1,374, south Norfolk had 608 and Norwich had 496.