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Friday, 1 February, 2002, 16:41 GMT
Holiday home ban: Overkill or necessity?
Holiday home ban in Pembrokeshire
A ban has been put on building holiday homes in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park in west Wales with immediate effect.

With the planning authority claiming it has reached "environmental planning capacity", applications for new homes within the national park will only be considered if there is a proven local need.

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The ban is seen as a measure to halt the number of holiday and retirement homes which are blamed for pushing up house prices.

Similar policies have already been adopted by English national parks such as Exmoor and the Lake District.

It is estimated that the national park receives an average of 100 applications annually, and it is envisaged that the number of future recommendations of such applications will be reduced drastically.

Is this restriction on housing really necessary? Should the national park be turning away potential investment? Will other parks follow suit with their own restrictions?


What we really need is total ban on the sale of property to non-local people as they have on Guernsey. If you weren't born there you cannot buy anything except the deregistered housing which generaly speaking is very highly priced. This means that the locals will always be guaranteed affordable housing and the mainland tax dodgers will have to pay substantially for the privillage of dodging there. Len Rosser, UK

I totally agree - you have only to look at Broad Haven to witness the damage of a disastrous planning programme.
Lillian Stoney, USA

Well done to the Welsh - it'ss about time bulding was scalled down in England, before it becomes one big slab of concrete.
Paul, UK

A good idea - but why not give planning permission to build, but stipulate that half the housing has to be for locals (therefore, within what locals can afford) and the other half to be sold as the developers like. I live in the south east and cannot afford to even look at new developments - this may be a good idea for all rural areas - give the kids somewhere to live!
Sandra, UK

About time one of the national parks in Wales did something like this. Snowdonia is desperate for something similar! Of course, if they reversed the ridiculous rule of 50% council tax on these homes, and charged them double instead - that would help the local communities.

And if they then put covenants on any new houses that the buyers had to have lived in the area for a few years, that would also alleviate the problems. Usually, anything like this happening in Wales gets bogged down with the usual accusations of being "racist" even though it's not. It's a problem that affects areas in England just as bad - but there's not the nationality issue mixed up with it there.
Geraint, Wales

Anne Robinson is right. Wales is a waste of space anyway, and I believe that it is correct to have a ban.

Will, UK
Anne Robinson is right. Wales is a waste of space anyway, and I believe that it is correct to have a ban. That will prevent more Scots, English and Irish going there and making themselves miserable. This is a preventative measure as far as I am concerned. Who cares about the economy there, just leave it all alone is what I say!!!!!
Will, UK

I'd like to point out to Gareth that if holiday home accommodation is reduced, then the Welsh economy will benefit from increased trade for hostels and hotels.
Blewyn, Uk

Build accomodation in the nearest towns and leave the national parks as parks. No one is obliged to have a second home anyway. Why ruin our national treasures for the egos of a very few? Set aside a few small areas for camping, as is done in national parks in other countries.
Fatimah Begum, UK

Surely it's better to build purpose-built holiday homes in clusters, rather than having their would-be purchasers chasing existing properties? This would reduce the competition for, and 'contamination' of, existing community housing areas. This would create, effectively, an up-market version of caravan holiday parks, bringing in tourist investment without excessively disrupting local communities.
Mike, Manchester, UK

I'd like to ask Gareth, England whether he would find it acceptable for his local economy to depend upon the whims of for example rich German tourist trade? Tourist trade which can not be guaranteed. BSE, an oil spill and foot and mouth have all hit the Welsh tourist trade severe blows of late. Some steps must be made towards making Welsh communities self- suffient. No more begging the crumbs from those that have done so well at feathering their own nests at Wales' expense. This latest step is a step in the right direction.
Mark, Wales

The proposed regulations do not go far enough. All rural areas of Wales need much stronger legislation.

Royston Jones, Wales
I agree many towns, villages and national parks are being ruined by second homes. However tourists do need somewhere to sleep. I feel second homes that are empty for long periods should be discouraged, but ones that are occupied for most of the year, not just the weekends, should be tolerated.

This ban does not solve the countrywide problem. Perhaps the rates should be doubled for a second home that is within a tourist spot.
Caron, England

The proposed regulations for curbing the numbers of holiday homes in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park do not go far enough. All rural areas of Wales need much stronger legislation.
Royston Jones, Wales

National Parks are areas of outstanding "natural" beauty - not development sites. The building of homes in these areas contradict the reason for having a National Park. These areas should be fully preserved and this is certainly a good move. We have enough in the way of urban areas in this country, we don't need the effects of urbanisation encroaching on what is left of our natural open spaces in this country.
P Gleave, UK

Good on you Wales. I only wish Cornwall had done the same thing years ago and then maybe our towns and villages would remain alive during the winter months. As it is now you can go to towns like Newquay and find them like ghost towns in the winter because all the residents have returned to their hometowns and abandoned it to the elements. Holiday homes and parks scattered through the county have destroyed the natural beauty of some of the areas. Most of it is unnecessary as cities, such as Plymouth, have large brown site areas which could be developed.

The government has stated that the South Hams district of Devon must provide thousands of new homes. This is an area of outstanding natural beauty and they are being forced to build new towns within the countryside. Luckily, Plymouth is a progressive city and they have put forward a plan which will greatly reduce the burden upon the South Hams district.
PhilT, Oman

The countryside is beautiful in Wales and there are lots of dilapidated empty cottages and barns that surely could be done up rather than building these new houses that have no character.

Gareth, England
Come on wake up. The reason for ban can't be to secure cheaper housing for locals.Let's face it - developers will go elsewhere and the shortage of stock will lead to price increases! The truth is they'd like to ban incomers especially those without sympathy for the Welsh language.
Stewart, Wales

The first response was right for me. Do not let people build there.
George Brown, UK

Although I am English and live in England I think this is the right move for Wales. The countryside is beautiful in Wales and there are lots of dilapidated empty cottages and barns that surely could be done up rather than building these new houses that have no character. Just one point to the Welsh people who are jumping on the nationalist bandwagon with this - where would they be without our visits and holidays? No economy, that's where.
Gareth, England

This is common sense. Second homes should be discouraged. I live and work in the south of France - the place has been ruined by over-development. Ordinary local people have to struggle to afford a decent home, while there are tens of thousands of empty properties, many used for 2-3 weeks a year.
Dave, France

Of course they should. Having been born and brought up in a Welsh national park, I am very distressed about the future of the local communities in those areas - we are being priced out of our home areas. Mid Wales may be having an increase in population and rising house prices, but not to the benefit of the local community - for my University Dissertation, research I undertook showed that over 90% of young people leave the South Powys area after school - is this the future we want for rural Wales?????
Ceri Davies, Wales

The most important thing is to maintain a housing market affordable to local residents and, perhaps even importantly, help to preserve local communities

Richard Bartley, Ireland
A little research will tell you that Pembrokeshire has a population of 114,400 of which 55,900 are effectivily owners of nothing of all. To be building second homes is a bit rich whilst so many locals cannot afford housing. I do note however that just 42 people own nearly 30,000 acres so maybe they could share out a bit to their neighbours. (source "Who owns Britain" - Kevin Cahill)
Bob, UK

Holiday homes do not bring investment into a community, quite the opposite in fact. They displace families and reduce local retail trade, not to mention make no effort to become part of the local community. The Welsh language is under dire threat in these areas, precisely because holiday home owners and retirees make no effort whatsoever to speak the language. It is high time that the Welsh took control of their own housing markets and regulated them for their own benefit.
Blewyn, UK

High time - it is commendable and should be adopted all over Wales
Richard Jones, UK

Some will see this as an attempt to keep out the English. However this is not the whole picture, as an English National Park has done the same. Outsiders buying holiday homes destroy local communities. The most important thing is to maintain a housing market affordable to local residents and, perhaps even importantly, help to preserve local communities, whether they be Welsh or English. Well done to Pembrokeshire National Park.
Richard Bartley, Ireland

Limiting the number of new houses will surely push up the price of those older houses which are on the market, as demand exceeds supply. Isn't this the opposite of what is intended?
Rhys, Wales

Congratulations to them. The national parks are there for us to all enjoy, not to be turned into a holiday park for those that can afford a second home. The reason they are national parks is that they don't look like housing estates, so let's keep them that way. Full time homes maybe, but holiday homes? No way!
Allyson, UK

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