Alnmouth becomes latest Northumberland community to seek levy from holiday home lets

Looking from Church Hill across to Alnmouth. Picture by Jane Coltman The parish council is planning to send a letter to holiday let owners in the village requesting a GBP25 donation.

It is following in the footsteps of Bamburgh Parish Council, which raised more than GBP1,000 towards its council tax precept after approaching every holiday home for a GBP25 donation. Coun Shaun Whyte, chairman of Alnmouth Parish Council, said: "This was prompted by a story in the Gazette when we heard that Bamburgh was sending levy letters to all the holiday lets there. "We know Bamburgh got a good response so we decided to do the same thing.

"Those letters will be going out in half-term week and it will be interesting to see what response we get." The letters will be hand delivered but it was also suggested that Northumbria Coast and Cottages could be approached to help. Coun Hilda Blythe said: "A lot of holiday home owners have external letterboxes which are rammed full and never emptied so I wonder if some of them will never be seen."

The model has also been adopted in Seahouses, Beadnell and Embleton. Meanwhile, the parish council - with help from local residents - has completed a housing survey to assess levels of holiday home ownership The work is a follow-up to the 2014 survey done by the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership.

"It's about 50/50 which confirms the figures in our own survey two years ago," said Coun Whyte. "We've got 16 per cent holiday homes, 30-odd per cent holiday lets and 50 per cent permanent residents." 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. Across the whole AONB, about 45 per cent of houses are second homes/holiday homes.

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.

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