‘Determined to safeguard our communities’
RALLIES ACROSS WALES OVER SECOND HOMES ‘CRISIS’
CAMPA I G N E R S gathered in Llanberis on Saturday for a rally over the ‘second homes crisis’ in North Wales.
The protest was held at Llyn Padarn in the Gwynedd village amid calls for the Welsh Government to give local authorities greater powers to control the housing market.
It comes following concerns that local families will be forced out of their own communities because of rising house prices – as a result of properties being snapped up as second homes.
The rally in Llanberis was part of wider action across the country this weekend, as part of the ‘Nid yw Cymru ar werth’ (Wales is not for sale) campaign – with similar events held in Aberaeron and Carmarthen.
The high-profile campaign has urged the Welsh Government to intervene in the issue, with such demands echoed by county councils on both sides of the Menai Strait.
Gwynedd Council recently passed a motion backing calls for a cap on the number of second homes, with Nefyn town councillor Rhys Tudur warning that councils’ powers though.
Cllr Tudur is understood to have been one of the speakers at the weekend rally, with other attendees including Plaid Cymru MP for Dwyfor Meirionnydd, Liz SavilleRoberts.
In a video posted on Twitter at the protest, she said: “I think it says something about the strength of feeling that so many people have turned out here in Llanberis at the protest in this terrible weather.”
She commented that “there’s a real concern are
“limited” about the future of our communities” in the area.
The MP added: “The sheer number of houses now being sold as second homes.
“I live in Morfa Nefyn, I’ve seen the number and the percentage of second homes increasing there. Something has to be done.”
She assured that everyone at the rally was “respecting the social distancing regulations.”
In a statement to our sister paper, the Daily Post, organisers said: “It was important to show our determination to safeguard our local communities, but also important to do it in a way which safeguarded those taking part.”
They added: “This is why the 200 supporters taking part were spread over five locations throughout Wales.
“Together with the 5,300 who have signed the online petition, the message has gone out loud and clear to the Welsh Government that there is a Housing Emergency, and that they need to give Local Authorities emergency powers to ensure community control of housing and homes for local people.”
The Welsh Government previously said it recognised the challenges second homes present to the availability and affordability of housing in some communities.
Speaking in the Senedd recently, minister Eluned Morgan said it was a “complex issue,” but gave an assurance that the Welsh Government was determined to make it possible for those brought up in the area to be able to stay. She added that Wales was the only UK nation where local authorities can charge up to a 100% premium on the standard rate of council tax on second homes.
Nefyn town council is set to be given an audience with the First Minister today, Wednesday, to discuss the issue.
Rhys Tudur, a Nefyn town councillor, said: “I will be pressing Mr Drakeford to give councils the power to set ‘higher rates’ of land tax rates as well as make changes to planning law to limit the conversion of houses to self-catering accommodation.”
Arfon MS Sian Gwenllian, who helped facilitate the meeting, added: “I look forward to joining in a virtual meeting between the First Minister and representatives of Pen Llŷn’s Hawl i Fyw Adra campaign next week.
“But it’s one thing to hold meetings and make the correct noises and say you understand the problem.
“Taking action to stop the rise in second homes in so many areas in west Wales is another matter.”