Second home owners are facing a huge tax increase after residents complained empty properties are ‘tearing communities apart’.
Homeowners in the Yorkshire Dales are being threatened with the stringent measures by council leaders, who are seeking approval for an increase in tax under a five-year pilot scheme.
At present there are 1,500 second homes in the national park, accounting for more than 10 per cent of the housing stock and up to 23 per cent in some areas.
People in the Yorkshire Dales are being threatened with an increase in tax on their second homes
According to Rightmove, there has been a boom in the average cost of a home in the Yorkshire Dales, with costs rising to £264,933 – some 20.7 per cent more than the national average of £209,998.
Second homes are being bought by people looking to retreat to the tranquil national park over holidays and weekends.
However locals say empty properties are forcing schools to close, young people to leave and leading to a loss of services.
Councillor Richard Foster, leader of Craven Council, told a meeting: ‘As local authorities we have a duty to our communities and to this special place to try to address the causes before it is too late.
‘I think we’ve come to the point where we would not be doing our duty if we didn’t take a serious look at second homes.
‘Do we really want to be known as the generation that sat on our hands while our communities fell apart?’
Locals say empty properties are forcing schools to close, young people to leave and leading to a loss of services
Councillor Yvonne Peacock added: ‘Young people have left the upper Dales in high numbers and one of the reasons why so many have left in recent years – and why so few families are attracted here at the moment- is that good, affordable housing is out of their reach.
‘A large council tax increase on second homes could change that.
‘Incentivising the sale or renting out of second homes could bring more homes back into full-time occupancy.
‘For a twentysomething who returns from work each evening to a bedroom in their parents’ house, passing several empty houses on the way must seem very wrong.’