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Yorkshire Dales ponders higher council tax on second homes

Words: Huw Morris
Yorkshire Dales National Park / iStock-494447560

Civic leaders across the Yorkshire Dales are considering a five-year pilot scheme to increase council tax on second homes in the national park.

More than 10 per cent of housing in the Yorkshire Dales National Park - around 1,500 properties - are second homes.

Now Craven District Council leader Richard Foster is warning that community sustainability has become a pressing concern and is working with Richmondshire District Council leader Yvonne Peacock and Yorkshire Dales National Park chairman Carl Lis on a detailed proposal to be considered before Christmas.

Foster said local authorities in the Dales are “putting an immense amount of work into trying to get new, affordable homes built but so many homes are being lost to second home ownership that the positive effects of the new homes are being cancelled out”.

He added: “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?

“Second homes are typically unoccupied for much of the year. That results in a substantial economic loss to the local community and – perhaps even more important – a loss of vitality. It doesn’t seem unreasonable to suggest that second home owners should be asked to help make good these losses.  

“Higher Council Tax charges on second homes could be the answer. Any additional money raised through this pilot could be ploughed back into community services.”

Peacock said there is an urgent need to prioritise the needs of local communities over second home owners.

“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,” she added. “A large council tax increase on second homes could change that.”

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