As a local and independent candidate in the Harlech and Talsarnau by-election on 24 June, I’m learning a lot about local people’s concerns from doorstep meetings. People have concerns about local public transport, the environment, parking charges, council tax etc.

What most concerned them was the number of houses turning into holiday homes. Some no longer have neighbours, just holiday homes. Many addresses have no registered electors.People are worried whether their children will be able to find a home locally and what will happen to local shops and other services as the number of full time residents falls.

Last year holiday homes took up nearly 11 per cent of Gwynedd’s housing stock, and over 20 per cent of Harlech’s. This year it’s undoubtedly increased.People in Cornwall and the Lake District and some other holiday areas are also concerned to protect the well being of their local communities.

We need new measures to control the level of holiday homes within reasonable limits, particularly ordinary homes becoming holiday homes, such as planning law changes, higher land transaction tax, and limiting business tax relief.

We also need tourist accommodation to welcome visitors, such as the long-awaited development of the new St Davids Hotel complex. This would provide more bed spaces in the area plus jobs for local people including some all year round which the local economy needs.

Martin Hughes Harlech

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