Much has been written in these pages about the need to organise an effective response to the large number of houses being used as second homes.

The detrimental effects on our villages and communities are well documented, with schools closing, our villages deserted in the darkness of winter, with residents unable to buy homes to consider a long-term future in the counties where they were born.

While a Welsh-first policy has also been mooted for those who are about to sell their homes, the reality is that market forces make such a measure a blunt weapon.

But there is hope.

Gwynedd, a county with more than its fair share of second-home owners drawn by stunning sea and mountain scenery in the summer, reports that it has ‘plenty of money’ for local residents struggling to get on the property ladder.

And the funds are there because Gwynedd council members took the brave but necess­ary step to double the council premiums paid by those who own second homes in the county.

Now residents are being encouraged to take advantage of the shared equity Gywnedd Homebuy Scheme that has been extended by the council. For young couples struggling with house prices that seem beyond their reach, the scheme at last offers hope. And long may it last.

For those who own second homes and feel that the new premiums are discriminatory, the effectiveness of this scheme — allowing locals to live locally, allowing communities to survives and thrive — speaks to the contrary.

This scheme was initiated by Gwynedd in September once it became clear that the Welsh Government was determined to provide the measures and tools for councils to act in their own best interests, serving residents and countering the negative hollowing out of communities from too many holiday homes.

This is a small victory, one that we can only hope is replicated by other local authorities up and down Wales.

Ceredigion and Powys councils would do well to pick up the phone and learn how the plan works.

There are too many young families in these counties unsure of whether than can buy a home, start families, and ensure the future of our local communities.