Norfolk seaside resorts face council tax threat

Coinslot - Norfolk
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Holiday park property owners in the Borough of Great Yarmouth will pay increased council tax bills from 1 April, with many stating their seaside staycation homes are no longer affordable.


The seaside economy of Norfolk’s coastline has been put at risk by Great Yarmouth Borough Council as holiday park property owners take stock of increased council tax bills.

A decision by the council last year means 1,700 properties, including many caravans and chalets, will have council tax discounts slashed from 50 to 10 percent from 1 April.

Under the changes, one property owner’s bill will jump from £354 to £917, bringing the total annual cost of having the seaside retreat to well over £2000.

Deborah Smith, who owns the family chalet in Scratby, said: “A lot of people will now have to seriously consider if they can still afford to run a chalet, unfortunately for us the decision is probably that we cannot.”

The reasoning behind the council’s decision is to ensure that visitors make a ‘fair contribution’ to the provision of local services. However, Smith’s holiday park closes for four months at the end of October, making the new 10 percent council tax reduction disproportionate to the time she will spend in Scratby.

“This hefty rise in council tax could result in people just not being able to afford to run a chalet and by walking away you will find run-down and abandoned chalets, which will not benefit anyone,” Smith continued. “Yes we use the infrastructure of the area but we also bring in much needed money, by either visiting ourselves or letting the chalet out to other holidaymakers.”

Many in the region are worried that the borough’s holiday parks will go the same way as Pontins in Hemsby, which has been left to ruin since it shut in 2008.

Sharing this concern, Margaret Warne, who owns a chalet in Winterton, said the changes are unfair given that the site is closed for five months of the year, suggesting that the increase should have been phased in over time. Warne added that the hike will have a detrimental effect on the seaside economy, with shops and attractions suffering due to the council’s short-sightedness.

With coastal communities suffering years of neglect from Westminster, local councils should be working to encourage tourism on Britain’s seaside resorts, not compounding the problem with decisions that actively discourage it.

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