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High angle shot of suburban neighbourhood

The Challenge
Second Home ownership is a prominent feature of many rural and especially coastal communities in Wales. Property can be much more expensive in these locations than in neighbouring areas, and are often empty for much of the year. There is often a perception locally that this can undermine the viability of community life. Critics of second home ownership argue that second homes drive out young people and undermine the Welsh language.

The Method
The core part of the project is a comparative study of policy on second home ownership in Wales and Cornwall. In Wales, local councils have the power to raise a council tax ‘premium’ on second properties. In Cornwall, community councils are able to use a piece of English legislation, the Localism Act, to attempt to control the growth of second home ownership through the planning system. By looking at Wales and Cornwall in comparative context, the project will be able to compare fiscal and planning approaches to this issue. The project will also seek to question whether second homes do in fact damage the Welsh language. This assumption has been taken for granted in Wales but in fact has never been tested.

The Impact
The project will produce a short report that will be made available to Government in Wales. It will also be the basis for an article in the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol journal, Gwerddon, the sponsors of this project. It is hoped that the findings will help influence public policy in the field.