Anger over reduction to tax discounts on second and holiday homes in Great Yarmouth

Locals and holiday makers have been left angered following plans to reduce council tax discounts on

Locals and holiday makers have been left angered following plans to reduce council tax discounts on second and holiday homes. Picture: Submitted - Credit: Archant

Locals and holiday makers have been angered by a decision to reduce tax discounts on second and holiday homes in the Great Yarmouth borough.

A letter from the borough council has informed them of reductions from 50pc to 10pc.

Councillor Graham Plant, the leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council, said this move will ensure owners of second and holiday homes make a 'fair contribution' to the provision of local services.

Jim Chivers, from Cambridge, owns a chalet in Hemsby and said the move will cost him an extra £300 per year.

He said: 'I was stunned to see the letter come through the post and see that the change has been made without any notice or consultation.

'Me and my wife are coming up to retirement and that is another cost we are going to have to consider when deciding whether we want to keep our chalet or get rid. There could be a lot of empty chalets in the future.'

Great Yarmouth Borough Council say reducing the discount will apply to 1,700 properties and save an estimated £364,000 in total across Norfolk County Council, Norfolk Constabulary and Great Yarmouth Borough Council.

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It is one of three changes to local council tax which will come into place on April 1, 2017.

Councillor Plant said: 'As part of wider efforts to bring empty homes back into use as quickly as possible, full council has changed the 100% discount period for empty homes, meaning the owner pays full council tax after one month of the property being vacant, instead of the current three months.

'Separately, full council has removed the 5% discretionary discount on second homes and reduced the discretionary discount on unoccupied and furnished dwellings with planning restriction on periods of occupancy from 50% to 10%. This ensures that owners of second and holiday homes make a fair contribution to the provision of local services, while recognising that they do not live in that property all year.

'The discretionary discounts, last reviewed in Great Yarmouth in 2013, are wholly optional and the changes will result in savings for three local authorities at a time when all public bodies face financial challenges. Great Yarmouth Borough Council will invest its savings to continue delivering on public priorities, which include housing.'

Jonathan Childs, Norfolk County Councillor for the East Flegg ward said that he saw both sides to the argument but that it could be the 'straw that breaks the camel's back' for many chalet owners.

What do you think of the changes? Email kieran.lynch@archant.co.uk

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