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Increasing council tax on second homes in Yorkshire voted down

Words: Laura Edgar
Richmondshire / Shutterstock_688021912

A proposal to increase council tax on second homes in the Yorkshire Dales National Park (YDNP) 'has in effect been killed off', said its chairman.

The proposal was one of a number aimed at retaining young families in the area, as well as attracting others to the area.

Richmondshire District Council voted by 13 to 12 against joining with other local authorities in seeking talks with the government on the “options available for increasing council tax for second homes within the YDNP”.

Parts of Richmondshire have the highest levels of second homes in the national park – over a quarter of the housing in some parishes.

Car Lis, chairman at the YDNPA, praised leader of Richmondshire District Council Yvonne Peacock for ensuring that the matter was brought before the full council.

He said: “It would be remiss of me not to make clear to the public that the proposition to talk to government has in effect been killed off. In my view, the decision has let down local communities by stopping the conversation before it had properly started.

He said Richmondshire has rejected the view that too many second homes can have an adverse impact on the viability of local communities, as well as rejecting the view that there are too many second homes in the YDNP.

“I think many people living in the national park will be staggered by these conclusions.”

He noted that opponents to the measure have not put forward an alternative to address the level of second-home ownership in the park.

“What level of unoccupied and under-occupied homes in our Dales villages do they think will present a problem, 20 per cent, 30 per cent, 40 per cent, 50 per cent?”

While the Dales is characterised by “strong, self-reliant communities”, Lis is in no doubt that some of these communities have been “considerably weakened” in the past 20 years for a number of reasons including the “rapid growth in unoccupied and under-occupied housing”.

He said the park would continue to work with its local authority partners on developing the wider ‘Attracting Families’ initiative.

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