Locals in a Norfolk seaside village have voted to ban people from buying second homes in a bid to help locals find affordable properties.
More than 80% supported the move, requiring all new developments in Burnham Market to be ‘principal residences’ as well as banning existing properties from being turned into holiday homes.
Outside peak season, residents say the village - where the average house price is now £1 million - is left "hollowed out" because of the number of holiday homes left empty in the winter months. It is estimated that one in four properties in Burnham Market is a second home and that the population has fallen by more than a fifth in just two decades.
Speaking to The Independent, Anthony Green, a carpenter born and raised in the village, says pharmacies, banks, bakeries and other local businesses have shut down to be replaced by smart clothes shops and cafes.
“I can’t afford to live in Burnham anymore, it’s way out of my budget. I know people who visit their homes once or twice a year and the rest of the year, they’re living in Barbados.”
Dennis Clark, chairman of Burnham Market parish council, adds: “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. We need young people to be able to stay here to keep the village vibrant.”
The issue is not confined to Norfolk; North Devon Council recently launched a consultation that could result in closing a loophole that allows HMO landlords to rent out their rooms as holiday lets. The government has yet to announce the results of its study into a registration scheme for short-lets in England.