The Northumberland seaside town which has had a tourism boom - but locals say it 'needs to be a balance'

Seahouses on the North Northumberland coast.
-Credit: (Image: Craig Connor/ChronicleLive)

One village in Northumberland has been hailed as the most-profitable place to have a holiday let in the country - but locals are calling for "balance" to protect it for the future.

Seahouses in Northumberland is experiencing a tourism boom but this is dividing those living and running businesses there - with many wary of the influx of summer visitors. In 2023, rental income surged by a massive 36 per cent to £29,700, according to a report by Sykes Holiday Cottages.

That increase was the biggest seen in the UK between 2022 and 2023. But the knock-on impact has led to a surging property market and increases in house prices. Young people are being forced out because they can't buy in the area.

This is not the first time that communities in North Northumberland have raised the issue of over-tourism - with the county council having earlier this year made the decision to double council tax on second homes to attempt to address the issue. While places like Seahouses rely on tourism, rising house prices have seen younger people priced out of living locally - and this has an impact on the workforce available to provide for those tourists.

Local business owner Julie Dawson is struggling to hire staff, and says the village has changed so "it's just not the same any longer". Speaking to the Daily Express, she said: "I don't mind some tourism, but there needs to be a balance as there are far too many now. Too many second homes, and no affordable housing for our children. It's a vicious cycle as more tourism needs staff to run businesses but no permanent housing chases the working age people out."

Robert Glass, another local, expressed more concern over how locals are being priced out. He said: "This area massively depends on tourism but the preponderance of second homes, holiday lets, and Airbnbs has meant there is virtually nowhere affordable for local people to live unless they are on big wages."

Overflowing car parks in the area have been blamed for rising pollution. while local people also reported "huge" numbers of tourists queuing at the side of the road to cross because there's so much traffic.

The town is lined with boutique shops, quirky cafes and restaurants - including a range of famed fish and chip shops. This year too, for this first time since 2019 the Farne Islands have been open for a full summer of landings to visit the puffins and guillemots - among other bird species - on Inner Farne. The boat trips leave from Seahouses' picturesque harbour.

Another local resident Rach Douglas added: "What is needed is balance. This can only come from investment in social and affordable housing for residents and investment in social, educational and economic services for those residents of all ages."

Just along the coast, the issue of second homes has been a hot-button issue in Beadnell for some time. In 2022 a damning report by the Campaign to Protect Rural England found places such as Beadnell and Seahouses were at risk of being "strangled" by the preponderance of holiday-let properties.