Seaside town crowned top for holiday lets - but locals call for 'balance'

Seahouses on the Northumberland Coast
-Credit: (Image: Getty)

Seahouses, a quaint Northumberland village, has claimed the title of the UK's most lucrative location for holiday lets. However, local residents are calling for "balance" to ensure its sustainability.

Boasting a wealth of boutique stores and unique coffee spots, not to mention acclaimed chippies and eateries, Seahouses is no stranger to charm. This year also marks the first complete summer since 2019 when the Farne Islands welcome tourists eager to watch puffins and guillemots on Inner Farne, with boat trips departing from Seahouses' picturesque dock.

Despite enjoying a boom in tourism, the idyllic coastal town that is also close to the gorgeous 12th-century Bamburgh Castle has witnessed rising tensions among both residents and business owners, with many expressing anxiety over the seasonal surge of holidaymakers.

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Rental income increased by 36% to £29,700 in 2023 according to recent data, but this has increased house prices for locals and forced young people out as they can no longer afford to buy in the area.

While tourism is vital for places like Seahouses, the rise in property prices is also creating a workforce shortage that could ultimately impact the very tourists they rely on. Julie Dawson, a local business owner, is struggling to find staff and is concerned about the changing character of her village.

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."

Farne Island to see the puffins
Visitors take the boat trip across to Farne Island to see the puffins -Credit:Getty

Another resident, Robert Glass, echoed these sentiments, highlighting the dire housing situation for locals. 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."

The surge in visitors has also resulted in packed car parks, leading to increased pollution levels. Residents have also noticed "huge" queues of tourists waiting to cross roads congested with traffic.

Rach Douglas said: "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."

In a related development, just a short distance along the coast, the issue of second homes has been causing quite a stir in Beadnell. A damning report by the Campaign to Protect Rural England in 2022 pointed out that places like Beadnell and Seahouses could be "strangled" by an excessive number of holiday-let properties.

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