‘Holiday cottages are taking the lifeblood out of our village’

Kersey parish councillors have raised concerns about the growing number of holiday cottages in the village.

Council chairman Andrew Cumming said a recent sale of a property in The Street had sparked fears that the picturesque village could become less vibrant if more properties were sold and then became used for holiday lets.

Commenting on the recent meeting where the issue of holiday lets was raised, he said: “This was a reaction in response to a property being sold and then appearing for rent on a cottage holiday website.

“One of my fellow councillors made the point of talking about how we could tackle holiday lets taking the lifeblood out of a vibrant village like Kersey.

“We live in a very attractive part of the country and there is a risk that second homes may proliferate. I am sure it is something that may well appear on our agenda in the future.”

Mr Cumming said he did not know what percentage of homes were now being rented or let in the village.

Babergh District Council is unable to single out the exact number of homes used for holiday lets in the district.

But there are 471 furnished properties that are no-one’s sole or main residence, and the figures include unoccupied properties, second homes and holiday homes.

A spokeswoman said: “At the moment, they would pay 90 per cent on their ‘unoccupied, furnished property’ but as from April 1, they will have to pay 100 per cent council tax.”

Long Melford parish councillor Richard Kemp said holiday lettings and second home ownership was “quite a problem” for local communities.

“They take up a unit of accommodation that local people could use and they have an effect on the price of property,” he said. “Many of those people who own holiday lets can afford to pay over the norm.”

Mr Kemp said that it was a two-edged sword, however, as holiday lets attracted tourism to villages which was vital in the current economic climate.

He added; “I would say there is probably less than 1 per cent of homes in Melford used as holiday lets.

“People from outside the area use these homes and they bring tourism to the area.”