'Uproar' over Love Island's Dr Alex George's Pembrokeshire holiday home purchases

Dr Alex George's purchase of four Pembrokeshire cottages sparks second homes debate. Credit: Dr Alex George/Instagram

A debate has been sparked after news that Dr Alex George, a former Love Island contestant, said he purchased four cottages in Pembrokeshire to convert into holiday homes.

Dr Alex George, from Carmarthenshire, bought four cottages and said he had originally planned to renovate them all into holiday homes, but announced he now plans on using one of them to home a Ukrainian family.

One ITV Cymru Wales viewer, said: "Dr Alex George put a post up about buying four cottages somewhere in Pembrokeshire for holiday homes and there’s local uproar as first time buyers (such as myself) can’t even afford first time let alone holiday lets."

Owen Williams said, "Considering he's (Dr Alex George) from Carmarthen, he cannot be unaware of the ongoing issues in Pembrokeshire - literally the county next door to Carmarthenshire.

"There's this campaign going on called 'no second homes' and it's justified because if you cannot afford to live in the area in which you grew up, where you know people, where your family are, where your friends are, and you are simply priced out of the market by people who can spend hundred and hundreds of thousands pounds more on properties, then how an earth can you establish a foot-hole in the community in which you grew up and establish yourself?

"And it just comes to the situation where you simply cannot afford to live anywhere near where you were born or where you grew up."

He continued, "It doesn't just happen in Wales either, it's not just happening in England or Scotland or Ireland, it happens elsewhere - I've got a chap on my Twitter feed this morning saying it's happening in Sweden where local dialects are being completely destroyed because people are moving into the area with huge wealth, far greater access to resources than anyone locally and of course they're going to have their choice.

"People can say that's capitalism, but capitalism does not favour communities...

"If we continue to decimate communities, there will be nothing for people who are not transient tourists."

Some have shown support for Dr Alex's decision to host a Ukrainian family. Credit: Lorraine

Mr Williams said there is a wider issue at play, "I don't blame (Dr Alex George), I just blame the entire movement of just buying properties in rural communities and turning them into holiday lets."

He continued, "There will still be tourists but they can stay in caravans or in purpose built holiday resorts, not in the houses that a century ago would have been occupied by fishermen and farmers and labourers [...] and the people who made the community what it was.

"We shouldn't destroy our communities simply to give people a holiday let and a nice time for three months a year.

"What are we in Wales unless we’re a nation of communities? When you remove language and dialects and you remove the will to maintain language and dialects, you kill those vital cultural and historic levers. They're gone."

Charlotte Pearce similarly disagrees with Dr Alex George buying properties to use as holiday lets.

She said, "He’s bought four properties in a sought after area leaving less opportunity for people who actually want to live there permanently.

"House prices continue to increase and this has a knock-on effect on local business and amenities.

"It’s nice that he’s giving one temporarily to a Ukrainian family but there are three other properties that relocating families/locals/first time buyers now don’t have a chance purchase."

Dr Alex has not disclosed where in Pembrokeshire the cottages are located. Credit: Dr Alex George/YouTube

"This is a contributing factor towards the ridiculous housing market (especially for first time buyers). Properties are few and far between in the country, people are being rushed into making decisions in fear of missing out, and it’s not helped by city dwellers wanting to buy their second/third (fourth or fifth) home to try to pursue a new career in 'property management' when really its just a self-serving Airbnb hosting opportunity."

Meanwhile, a woman from Haverfordwest said that people buying holiday homes in the area is a "massive problem".

She said, "We’ve found a property we are looking into buying and it's already had interest from outside buyers. Locals seem to be pulling the short straw for whats on offer in the county. It’s not giving anyone who lives here a chance."

She added that because many properties in the area are holiday lets, it means that communities, jobs and businesses tend to "suffer" during the off-peak seasons, "There are a lot of businesses that have to close during off-peak seasons which then has a knock on affect on local businesses and jobs."

However, some people are in support of Dr Alex's announcement.

Kath Wilson said, "Good on Alex, he's bought holiday let properties in a pretty bad shape to renovate, he'll welcome a family from Ukraine to stay in one and let the others... That area relies on tourism so all good."

Linda Davies added, "At least a Welshman has bought Welsh properties! We always like to stay in Welsh cottages for our breaks. He has worked hard to earn his money and can do what he likes with it. Da iawn."

Dr Alex said he has received "threats of violence" following his announcement. Credit: PA Images

Dr Alex revealed on Instagram that he has received "threats of violence" following his announcement.

He added that he would rent the home to a local person "if and when the refugees wanted to leave".

In a statement, he said: "You can take my word for it or not, these cottages would not be possible for residential purchase.

"I would happily meet with local leaders to discuss housing in Pembrokeshire and see how I can support.

"I am an avid campaigner and activist myself but being respectful and reasonable should always be a baseline for discussion."

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