Housing crisis

Rise in holiday homes ‘fuelling housing crisis’ in Shropshire

Councilor Heather Kidd raised the issue at the full council meeting

Shropshire Council has now vowed to look into the issue, after councilors reported tenants had been asked to vacate their homes by landlords seeking to cash in on the ‘stay-away’ boom.

Councilor Heather Kidd, who represents Chirbury and Worthen, raised the issue at a full council meeting as the authority agreed the council’s tax base – the number of properties equivalent to Band D in every city and parish – for the coming fiscal year.

Figures showed the tax base in Chirbury with Brompton parish had fallen by two properties since the 2021/22 tax base was defined – a situation mirrored in other rural areas of the county including Buildwas, Great Hanwood , Kinnerley and Nash.

The result is that affected parish councils will receive a reduced amount of their precept – or be forced to increase what is charged to other properties to make up the difference.

Councilor Kidd said: ‘The council’s tax base for my particular rural area is shrinking because we have whole properties pulled out and turned into holiday homes due to the ‘stay-away’ problem that has surfaced during the pandemic.

“We are not building houses in rural areas as we should. There may be some built in the coming year in my division, but that hasn’t happened in many, many years.

“We can’t afford to lose housing and lose houses from council tax as we are doing now.

“What I would like to raise is that we are starting to look at the transfer of houses in professional rates as holiday homes and how we are going to deal with that, because Shropshire has suddenly been discovered by the big world.

“It also means that the pressure on housing within my division means that my case work is huge, just trying to match people to stay where they work and where they have support.

“So the impact on both the council’s tax base for the division as a whole and the council’s is a big factor, but also the housing we need – housing for our local people – is also a big factor. a fundamental problem.”

She added: ‘I have nothing against people developing holiday accommodation, but the conversion of existing homes into holiday accommodation is something that has hit Cornwall, the Lake District, a number of different areas, and I don’t want that to happen in Shropshire. ”

Liberal Democrat councilor Viv Parry, who represents Ludlow South, said she had also been approached by residents about the issue.

She said: “We have a huge problem in Ludlow with holiday homes and second homes.

“We are seeing that people who have stayed in some of these houses … are being asked to leave their homes because [their landlords] want to turn them into vacation homes so they can charge more. I think that happens in a lot of places.

Councilor Parry said the problem will in turn put further pressure on the county’s social housing sector and on the council, with more and more people needing a place to live as private rentals are withdrawn from the market.

Councilor Gwilym Butler, who holds the resources portfolio, said he was aware of the issue and would ask the appropriate review committee to investigate.