A new tax which could be levied on second homes would reel in more than £6.5m from Norfolk's Chelsea-on-Sea coast, with at least £1m from just two upmarket villages.

West Norfolk Council is considering bringing in the extra charge, which would double the amount of council tax paid on properties which are not principal residences.

In total, the changes could bring in £6.5m in tax revenue in the district, with more than £650,000 coming from Brancaster alone and at least £400,000 from nearby Burnham Market.

Eastern Daily Press: Brancaster is a second home hotspot with 41pc of homes not used as a permanent residenceBrancaster is a second home hotspot with 41pc of homes not used as a permanent residence (Image: Newsquest)

The villages have some of the UK's highest proportions of second homes and the area is known as Chelsea-on-Sea for the large numbers of Londoners with holiday and weekend properties there.

Terry Parish, the leader of West Norfolk Council (WNC), is pushing for the tax change saying the money could help the cash-strapped authority, which has a waiting list of almost 1,500 people needing council housing.

But some locals are resisting the measure warning that second home owners - who already contribute to the local economy - should not be penalised and should not be treated as a 'cash cow'.

Similar charges have already been introduced by North Norfolk District Council and Great Yarmouth Borough Council.

Eastern Daily Press: An aerial view of Brancaster StaitheAn aerial view of Brancaster Staithe (Image: Mike Page)


Under the change, WNC would introduce a 100pc premium on council tax on properties defined as furnished but are not anyone's main home.

The district is a hotspot for 'blow-ins', with nearly half of the homes in some villages owned by people not living there permanently.

Eastern Daily Press: The cliffs at Old HunstantonThe cliffs at Old Hunstanton (Image: Newsquest)

Second home ownership has come under fire in recent years and has been blamed for contributing to the housing crisis due to taking up homes for locals while also pushing up prices till they are out of reach for villagers.

West Norfolk Council is currently grappling with 1,469 people on waiting lists for council housing as of November 2023.

However, the substantial income generated by the new charge is currently expected to be of little direct benefit to the villages themselves.

Eastern Daily Press: Looking across the saltmarsh in Brancaster StaitheLooking across the saltmarsh in Brancaster Staithe (Image: Newsquest)


As it stands, only £230,000 of the £6.5m raised in west Norfolk will go to parish councils, while WNC's share would only be slightly more, £440,000.

County Hall is set to be the biggest beneficiary, receiving 75.3pc of the share (£4.9m) while the Police and Crime Commissioner would receive £930,000.

But district leaders hope to push for a better deal.

Eastern Daily Press: Terry Parish, leader of West Norfolk CouncilTerry Parish, leader of West Norfolk Council (Image: West Norfolk Council)

Mr Parish, leader of West Norfolk Council, said: "Raising the council tax premium for second homes is a no-brainer. 

"As a council, we are in need of a cash injection as like others we are facing rising costs.

"Along with other leaders, we will certainly look to negotiate a better share of the money, which can be put back into the communities from which it was raised."

North Norfolk Council agreed to the changes in October 2022 - which could raise more than £8m a year - and members have already promised to push for more of this money to be retained and put towards affordable housing in the district.

Last month, Great Yarmouth Council followed suit, with the raised charges expected to generate £1.77m a year - with just £152,698 coming back to the borough.

The second home premium has come under fire, with some fearing it could harm the businesses that rely on this seasonal trade from wealthy out-of-towners.

Eastern Daily Press: Brancaster beach is a popular destination for holiday makersBrancaster beach is a popular destination for holiday makers (Image: Matthew Usher)


Dennis Clark, Burnham Market parish council chairman, believes the levy is misplaced.

"I think it is total nonsense. What we should be doing is taxing the furnished holiday lets, which currently only have to pay business rates.

"We welcome second home owners, who contribute to the village and local economy. But holiday let owners benefit from all the services delivered by the parish council while not contributing anything." 

Eastern Daily Press: Burnham Market has been named among the UK's poshest villagesBurnham Market has been named among the UK's poshest villages (Image: Archant)

Mr Clark has been lobbying MPs and council leaders to push for this change.

Mr Parish also acknowledged this was an issue and worried the council tax premium could lead to some second home owners changing their property to a holiday let to exploit this loophole. 

Councillors will vote on the measures late this month, which will not come into effect until April 2025.

But the tide is already turning on second homes in the region.

Eastern Daily Press: Coastal views in BrancasterCoastal views in Brancaster (Image: Chris Bishop)

Locals in Burnham Market recently delivered their verdict on the issue at the polls, with more than 80pc voting to ban people buying up new builds as weekend retreats in their community.

Prospective owners will now have to prove it will be their principal residence or else they will be blocked from purchasing the property.

Other villages that have also agreed to these changes, or are considering doing so include Heacham, Blakeney and Old Hunstanton.