A holiday home that is only used for a few weeks a year is very different to a holiday home that is occupied for most of the year in terms of its economic benefits to any locality says GMB.
GMB is calling for local authorities to be given powers to levy taxes on underused holiday homes and also to be able to compulsory purchase them in areas with acute housing need.
This follows the publication last month of the 2011 Census returns which showed that there were a total of 20,090 residents with a holiday home in one of the 47 local council areas in the region who do not usually live in that council area.
Some 12,309 of these usually live in other regions of the UK outside the region.
In North Norfolk there are 4,842 residents from outside the area with a holiday home in the area
This was the highest number for any area in the region.
Next was King’s Lynn West Norfolk with 3,539 residents having holiday homes followed by Suffolk Coastal 3,029, Tendring 1,404, Waveney 1,362, Great Yarmouth 1,297, Mid Suffolk 448, Maldon 379, Babergh 377, Colchester 364, Breckland 361, South Norfolk 298, Broadland 274, St Edmundsbury 230, Huntingdonshire 174, Braintree 138, Norwich 107, Cambridge 104 and South Cambridgeshire 100.
The figures for all 47 areas in the region are set out in the table below ranked by highest to the lowest numbers and express these as a ratio per 1,000 residents in the area.
These are not estimates of the number of holiday homes in a local authority, as more than one person can record the same second address.
At the time of the 2011 Census, 165,095 residents had a holiday home within England and Wales that was for holiday use.
There were also 8,181 residents with a second holiday address in Scotland or Northern Ireland.
These figures come from a new analysis by GMB of the latest available data from the 2011 Census which was published on October 22 for the number of residents with a holiday home in a local authority who are usually resident outside of that local authority.
Paul Hayes, GMB Regional Secretary said, “There are 20,090 people who have holiday homes in the 47 local council areas in the Eastern Region.
“In many areas urgent action is needed to ascertain if properties used as holiday homes are actually in use at all. A holiday home that is only used for a few weeks a year is very different to a holiday home that is occupied for most of the year in terms of its economic benefits to any locality.
“A holiday home that is used only a few weeks a year at a time when there are families in bed and breakfast accommodation gives rise to fundamental questions on the role and power of the local authority on the use of residential property in its area.
“GMB consider that, under the Localism Act, local councils should have the power to levy taxation on underused holiday homes and other empty properties.
“In areas with acute housing need the question should be able to the raised in the council chamber as to whether underused houses should be subject to compulsory purchase.”
For all the latest news see Thursday’s (November 15) Echo.