Readers respond: Should second homers be banned from Norfolk?
- Credit: Paul Reynolds
Whether second homers should be banned from buying new homes in Norfolk has sparked fierce debate.
On Wednesday, this newspaper asked if new homes in Norfolk need legal protection to stop them from being bought for second homeowners and holiday lets.
More than 400 people commented across social media and this website, with arguments on both sides of the fence.
This what readers had to say:
Elizabeth Maxim described owning more than one house as “greedy” adding “Think how many fewer houses we'd need if people didn't have holiday homes.”
Commenting on the EDP website, “The Truth”, argued we live free, democratic country, where people should be allowed to buy second homes.
“Trying to ban non-natives trying to buy homes is a dangerous proposed route to go down,” they said.
“Crying shame about those who cannot afford a home in their local town or village but that's the price of living in a popular desirable area.”
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But “Mardler” disagreed, arguing that Norfolk has limited land. They said: “The problem is not people wanting to live on the Norfolk coast or anywhere in Norfolk, it is that they don't live there all the time, they are not permanent residents and in the case of holiday lets they are something worse than second homers.”
Nigel Stap said holiday lets were bad for residents, forcing the closure of Sedgeford Primary School.
“Within 20 years from the first second homeowners arriving the number of children in the village dropped from 30 to under five and the school shut, forever,” they said.
It was not just Norfolk residents who called for the end of second homes, Susan Slater-Nash said: “I visit Norfolk and stay in Thornham.
“These second homes are left empty 75pc of the year. There are very few residents that live in these villages now which is very sad.
“Norfolk should have put the brakes on long ago.”
Some commentators took a more balanced view, Thomas Williams said the situation was “tricky”, and it was no surprise people wanted to have a second home in Norfolk.
“I think lots of us would love to be in a position to afford a holiday home somewhere and yes, it should be something people can do.
“Yet, it's not possible, nor desirable to keep building more and more new homes to keep up with demand.
“I cannot see what can logically be done without angering one side or the other. I suppose if I were to suggest something, it would be to levy extremely high council tax rates against second homes and use the funds to build more affordable housing.
“Unfortunately, the current system wouldn't permit that.”
Mr Williams was one of the dozens of commentators to call a council tax levy on second homes - a move already in place in Wales, where a 100pc council tax premium can be charged on second homes, generating money for the government and local councils.
Others argued that banning buy to let properties would be a better move.
“All new homes [should] have a no rent for x years clause in the deeds,” Steve Woods on Facebook said.
“We really need to find a way for people to start being able to buy homes to live in again, instead of them all being snapped up by investors and rented to the less fortunate.”