Fears more holiday parks could go the same way as Pontins in Hemsby as tax hikes hit home
- Credit: Nick Butcher
Holiday hotspots along the east coast could go the same way as Pontins in Hemsby as borough council tax hikes hit home.
The warning comes as some 1,700 properties including caravans and chalets are being handed higher bills from April 1 as discounts are slashed from 50pc to 10pc.
The increase was agreed by Great Yarmouth Borough Council last year to ensure visitors make a 'fair contribution' to the provision of local services.
But as invoices drop on doormats some second home owners are saying they may have to pull out.
Deborah Smith, in Dunstable, said visiting the family chalet in Scratby was probably beyond her pocket after 30 years of happy holidays.
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Under the changes her bill has jumped from was £354 to £917 bringing the total annual cost of having the seaside retreat to well over £2000.
She said: 'I find this increase absolutely disgusting and unjustifiable.
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'A lot of people will now have to seriously consider if they can still afford to run a chalet, unfortunately for us the decision is probably that we cannot.
'Yes we use the infrastructure of the area but we also bring in much-needed money, by either visiting ourselves or letting the chalet out to other holiday makers.
'The site closes at the end of October and reopens at the beginning of March, so for four months it is not occupied and now only a 10pc reduction will be applied.
'This hefty rise in council tax could result in people just not being able to afford to run a chalet and by walking away you will find run down and abandoned chalets, which will not benefit anyone.
'Surely Great Yarmouth Council does not want to create another disaster like the old Pontins holiday park in Hemsby?'
Meanwhile Margaret Warne and her partner Michael Slade are worried they will have to give up their chalet in Winterton.
The 73-year-old from Lowestoft cares for her grandson and looks to the holiday hideaway for some welcome respite every week.
She said the changes were unfair given that the site was closed for five months and that the increase should have been phased in, adding: 'If feels like we are being punished.'
She believed the hike would have a detrimental effect on the seaside economy, with shops and attractions suffering.
Council leader Graham Plant said the changes ensured owners of second and holiday homes made a fair contribution to the provision of local services, while recognising they did not live in that property all year.
The abandoned Pontins holiday park in Hemsby has been left to ruin since it shut in 2008.
The 20 acre site is a source of local frustration while new uses are scoped out.
A 200-home scheme was refused a year ago with planners saying it was 'unneighbourly'.