New survey to assess level of holiday home ownership on Northumberland coast

A housing survey is being carried out to assess levels of holiday home ownership on the Northumberland coast.

Wednesday, 18th December 2019, 12:20 pm
Bamburgh beach and Bamburgh Castle Picture by Jane Coltman

The work is a follow-up to the 2014 survey done by the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership.

Five years ago, the survey revealed the extent of holiday home domination in some communities, with Newton-by-the-Sea at 82 per cent, Beadnell at 80 per cent and Bamburgh at 53 per cent.

Those levels prompted the inclusion of a principle residency clause in the North Northumberland Coast Neighbourhood Plan to prevent new housing being used as holiday homes.

Jessica Turner, AONB historic built and environment officer, spoke at a meeting of Bamburgh Parish Council.

She said: “The 2014 report across the whole AONB found that about 45 per cent of houses are second homes/holiday homes so we are still at a tipping point where it becomes unsustainable.

“Anecdotally, I feel we have had an increase in second home ownership in the villages.

“The local council tax or business rates give us some indication of how dwellings are used but first hand knowledge is better.

“Increased second home ownership for non-residents impacts on services such as doctors and schools. We want an idea of where the trend is going so we can support and come up with policies that support the vitality of the community.”

She said evidence from the survey could help to back up the principle residency clause in the neighbourhood plan, which covers Bamburgh, Seahouses and Beadnell.

“It will help us respond to planning applications and refer to this document to say we don’t really need more holiday homes,” said Jessica.

Of the neighbourhood plan, she added: “It will be really interesting going forward to see how that impacts on dwelling use because it doesn’t restrict the use of historic properties - it restricts the use of new build properties.

“I think we all have to acknowledge across the whole coast there are a lot of holiday homes, a lot of second home ownership and a lot of holiday lets but there are vibrant, fabulous communities and we want to sustain them going forward.

It is planned to carry out the survey every five years.