Whitby woman says family is being broken apart by rise in short term lets and holiday homes

Gregg Easteal finds out how Whitby residents have been affected by a rise in second homes, short-term lets and holiday homes

A woman from Whitby says her family is being broken apart by the struggle to buy a home in the town.

Shelly Nicholson has blamed the rise of holiday homes for the issue which she believes is forcing out people who have lived in the area for generations.

"Mr brother is Whitby born and bred but has had to move to Guisborough as he couldn't afford to be on the housing market here," she explained.

"My youngest son, 31, can't afford to be on the housing market here. He's had to move to Leicester for work and housing.

"Any new housing estate, they're being bought up as second homes, holiday lets, even on the council estates now there's properties being brought up.

"Our generations, we're losing that history."

Shelly Nicholson says some of her family have been forced to move out of the Whitby area. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Ms Nicholson's words come as a new proposal to regulate short-term lets and holiday homes has been revealed by the government in the hope of making it easier for people in tourist towns to remain in their communities.

Douglas Hill is an artist in Whitby who says half the houses in the street where he lives are holiday homes.

"Everything that turns up is a second home or a holiday home," he said.

He previously said he lived in St Ives in Cornwall "which went exactly the same way", adding: "They're taking the parking, the noise, all the buildings are empty."

Their comments to ITV Tyne Tees coincided with Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, announcing on Monday 19 February that it was taking steps to ensure that local people have greater opportunities to buy homes.

Artist Douglas Hill sees parallels between Whitby and Cornwall. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Speaking in Cornwall, Mr Gove said: "We know that short-term lets can be helpful for the tourist economy, but we also know there needs to be an element of control so that local people can also rent those homes as well."

The new measures include making future short-term lets require planning permission and joining a mandatory national register.

It is hoped the move will give communities like Whitby greater control of the number of holiday homes in their area.

North Yorkshire Councillor Phil Trumper said: "We're definitely going in the right direction.

"We're looking at a town now where 20% of the housing stock is taken up by holiday lets and second homes.

"That has a detrimental effect on young local people trying to get on the ladder and trying to find a home themselves. "

Speaking following the announcement, Rachael Maskell, Labour MP for York Central, said: "We've seen it in the Lake District, in Whitby and of course in York.

"What we're seeing is communities being hollowed out, not having local residents living in the local vicinity and as a result, we are seeing a string of holiday homes instead and of course that changes an area."

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