Posted: Tue 6th Jun 2023

Gwynedd Council could take ‘unprecedented’ step to gain control over second and holiday homes

North Wales news and information
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, Jun 6th, 2023

A council could be set to make an “unprecedented” move to gain more control over holiday lets and second homes.

Cyngor Gwynedd could become the first authority in Wales to make changes to its planning rules by introducing what is known as an “Article 4 Direction”.

It would allow the council to control the use of houses as second homes and holiday accommodation in Gwynedd.

The move would make it necessary to submit an application for planning permission to change from one use to another.

A report is being presented to the council’s cabinet on June 13 which will request the start of the process which could lead to the changes.

The proposals have been criticised by the Welsh Conservatives, who accused the Plaid Cymru-led council of being “anti-aspiration and anti-business”.

If it goes ahead, the authority would control the use of houses as second homes and holiday lets within the Gwynedd area (excluding Eryri National Park).

Last year, the Welsh Government announced a series of measures to address housing issues – some of which are now being implemented.

Amongst them, planning legislation was amended so that local planning authorities could introduce the Article 4 Direction to control the use of houses as second homes and holiday accommodation.

If the cabinet gives approval, the authority will be required to give notice of the Article 4 Direction, and hold a period of public engagement over the proposal.

Councillor Dafydd Meurig, Cyngor Gwynedd’s cabinet member for environment, said: “Cyngor Gwynedd, along with organisations like Hawl i Fyw Adra and Cymdeithas yr Iaith, have tirelessly called on the Welsh Government for years to tackle the increase in holiday homes across the county, and the effect it is having on our communities.

“Detailed research was presented by our planning policy service highlighting that our residents are being priced out of the housing market.

“Recent research has showed on average 65.5 per cent of Gwynedd’s population is priced out, with the percentage increasing significantly in areas where there are higher numbers of holiday homes.

“There was recognition of the real challenge facing our communities last year as the Welsh Government announced a series of measures in the field of planning, taxation and licensing to try to get better control of the situation.

“The government has amended the planning regulations, introducing three new planning use classes, namely main home, second home and short-term holiday accommodation.

“The report being considered by the council’s cabinet outlines the strong evidence-base in the Gwynedd local planning authority area to reform the planning system locally by presenting an Article 4 Direction.

“This would make it necessary to submit an application for planning permission to change from one use to another and help the council in protecting our housing stock and supporting Gwynedd’s residents to have access to houses within their reach in our communities.

“Gwynedd would be the first authority in Wales to introduce the change, and placing an Article 4 Direction to control the use of houses as second homes or short-term holiday accommodation will be unprecedented.

“We are therefore pleased that the Welsh Government has committed to providing financial support that will enable us to appoint additional planning officers to deal with the extra workload.”

Reacting to the news, Welsh Conservative shadow minister for climate change, Janet Finch-Saunders, said: “This is a shocking decision from the Plaid Cymru-run council which smacks of nationalism at its worst and is typical of Plaid’s anti-aspiration and anti-business aims for Wales.

“However, the issues with homes in Wales lies with the Labour government who fail year on year to build enough houses.

“We should be finding solutions to double the amount of homes being built not punish second homeowners who contribute to the local economy.”

By Dale Spridgeon – Local Democracy Reporter



Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email news@north.wales

More...

Police hit back at ‘operation overkill’ criticism over driver eyesight tests

Conwy

Gwynedd man jailed for torching own home in ‘reckless and dangerous’ incident

Gwynedd

North Wales Police issue alert over fake job advert scam

News

Denbighshire Council Admits ‘Underestimated’ Bin Collection Time, Thousands of Collections Missed

Denbighshire

Newly Formed Clwyd East Constituency Set For Hot Contest on July 4

Denbighshire

Candidates vying for Clwyd North hotly contested parliamentary seat

Denbighshire