Union plea to buy up holiday homes

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THE DERBYSHIRE Dales has the second highest number of under used holiday homes in the whole of the East Midlands, it has been revealed.

Owing to these figures, campaigning trade union group GMB is calling for local authorities to be granted powers so they can levy taxes on under used properties and even use compulsory purchase orders where there is acute housing need.

Andy Worth, GMB regional secretary, said: “Urgent action is needed to ascertain if holiday homes are actually being used at all.

“A holiday home that is only used for a few weeks a year is very different to a holiday home that is occupied for most of the year – in terms of its economic benefits to any locality.”

He added that, under the Localism Act, council’s should have more powers to utilise vacant and under-used properties.

Kamal Jeet Jandu, GMB national officer, said: “We want to raise this subject in the hope we will spark debate with local council’s.

“The Dales already has a housing shortage and to have vacant homes – which don’t support business and price residents out of their own area – is just ridiculous.”

In response, a district council spokesman said that it was a “complicated proposal” and that – as three per cent of all houses in the Dales are holiday homes – the “GMB Union didn’t particularly have the Derbyshire Dales in mind”.

The spokesman said: “Providing affordable housing remains our top priority, but we are sensitive to the fact that tourism is a vital element of our economy.”

In the East Midlands there are 8,088 properties used as holiday homes, according to figures from the 2011 census.

The Derbyshire Dales had the second highest with 762 recognised holiday homes.