Real Estate

Whitby votes to limit sales of second homes

Whitby has become the latest tourist hotspot to vote for a limit on the sale of second homes as residents sounded a “very loud message that enough is enough”.

Families in the Yorkshire fishing port said they had been priced out of the housing market as wealthy incomers paid exorbitant prices for holiday boltholes.

About 28% of properties in Whitby are used as second homes, and in one recent development 19 of 20 new houses were sold as holiday lets, according to a local councillor.

In a poll of the town’s residents on Monday, 93% voted to restrict the sale of new-build and additional housing to full-time residents.

The poll, which had a turnout of 24%, is not legally binding but organisers said they hoped it would influence planning decisions by Whitby town council and Scarborough borough council.

The result is the latest sign of unrest in Britain’s tourist hotspots as local families struggle to match the prices paid by those wanting second homes by the sea.

In Cornwall, the honeypot areas of St Ives, Fowey and Mevagissey have voted to limit sales of new builds to full-time residents. The Welsh government recently increased the maximum level of council tax on second homes from 100% to 300% over concerns that places such as Anglesey and Gwynedd, home to the stunning Llŷn peninsula, were being overrun with holiday lets.

Whitby Community Network, the organiser of the poll, said it hoped the results would send a clear message that “change is needed”.

A spokesperson said: “The poll results clearly demonstrate the strength of feeling in the local community … We trust that our elected councillors will take note and take action.”

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Sandra Turner, who has lived in Whitby since she was a child, said residents wanted to send “a very loud message that enough is enough”.

She told the BBC: “It’s not that we’re against tourism, we’re not, but we don’t want to give up our town either. We need to be able to live here, we need to be able to work here, families want their families to stay here and not move away and that is what’s happening. People are having to move out of the town to enable themselves to live and own a home.”

A spokesperson for Scarborough borough council said: “The outcome of the poll is no more and no less than an expression of the views of the electorate of the parish who have voted in the poll and is not binding on any organisation.”


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