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The coastal village where fed-up residents have voted to ban second homes

Burnham Market residents have voted to ban second homes. (SWNS)
Burnham Market residents have voted to ban second homes. (SWNS)

Residents of a coastal village where the average house price is £1m have voted for a ban on people buying second homes in the area.

Burnham Market in Norfolk has been dubbed ‘Chelsea-on-sea’ because of the large proportion of Londoners with property there.

It is estimated that one in four properties in village, which has a population of 724, is a second home.

Now, more than 80% of people living in Burnham Market have voted to back a bid to limit the number of second homes and holiday lets in a recent referendum.

Conditions on all new developments will require them to be 'principal residences', while there will also be a ban on existing homes being turned into holiday retreats.

Burnham Market is dubbed ‘Chelsea on sea’ because of the large proportion of Londoners with property there. (SWNS)
Burnham Market is dubbed ‘Chelsea on sea’ because of the large proportion of Londoners with property there. (SWNS)

Dennis Clark, chairman of Burnham Market parish council, said residents “have made their feelings clear”.

He added: “We don’t want to keep people away from Burnham Market, but we want to encourage lower-cost housing so that the people who work here can live here.“

Priced out

The average house price in the village is now £1m and, as in other villages in the area, locals say they are being priced out.

Those who remain have warned of the area being “hollowed out” by the large number of properties which are often left empty.

Now the proposals have been approved they will become part of the village's neighbourhood plan which will be used to guide West Norfolk Council when determining local planning applications.

Over 80% of residents voted to back a bid to limit the number of second homes and holiday lets in a recent referendum. (SWNS)
Over 80% of residents voted to back a bid to limit the number of second homes and holiday lets in a recent referendum. (SWNS)

'Confusing'

The issue of second homes has become a increasingly concerning talking point in recent years.

Earlier this week, television presenter Kevin McCloud said the government’s “confusing” environment, energy and housing policies have been a “very corrosive way of running a country”.

He warned the UK was “not building enough houses to meet demand” and that people living in coastal areas and the countryside were being “constantly priced out of the market because of the number of second homes”.

He said: “We have in this country, a great culture of housing associations, and a great history of social housing. So we know we can do it. It’s just really what we need is the political will from central government, but who knows, that may all change in the next year.”

How many people have second homes in England?

According to the English Housing Survey (EHS), a second home is a property that is mainly used by friends or family of the owners as a holiday home, a let to others as a holiday let or for occupation while working away from home.

The EHS say that in 2021/2022, there were 2.1 million households – the equivalent of 3% of all households – that reported having at least one second property.

Just over a third (712,000) said they used the property as a second home, while the majority let the second home out in the private rented sector.

In the same period, there were 809,000 second homes owned by households in England – up 13% from 2010/2011.

That figure suggests that some households own more than two homes.

In Scotland, local authorities could be given the power to double council tax rates for second homes from April, under new proposals to be put before Holyrood.

The Scottish Government is to seek to make changes to legislation that would allow authorities to charge a premium of up to 100% of the full rate of council tax on second properties.

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