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Badger goes house hunting.

HELLO readers.

Badger spent an entertaining weekend engaged in two tasks.

One was enjoyable, watching the new James Bond film, the other less so.
We’ll deal with James Bond first.

Daniel Craig has hung up his Walther PPK for the last time.

There’s been a lot of speculation about who will be the next James Bond (who WILL return – Badger watched right until the end of the titles to make sure).

Henry Cavill, Idris Elba, James Norton, Tom Hardy, Tom Hiddleston, Tom Holland, old Uncle Tom Cobley and all, have been proposed as the new 007. Not to mention the idea that Bond could be a woman.

Badger has his nomination.

Look at it this way, readers, being black and white, Badger comes with his ready-made eco-friendly tuxedo.

When it comes to diversity, what could be more different than a well-padded mustelid of a certain age as opposed to a human?

It’s either that or Doctor Who.

And Mrs Badger’s already said no to knitting a long multi-coloured scarf for when Russell T. Davies phones Herald Towers to enquire after Badger’s availability for that gig.

Then we come to the second part of Badger’s weekend.

Badger is lucky. He has a warm and comfy sett, relatively watertight, and modestly outfitted with all the creature comforts. There’s even a dried hedgehog store. Hedgehogs are amazing things: soak them in a little stock, and they plump up beautifully for a succulent and tasty treat.

It goes lovely with a Vodka Martini: shaken and not stirred. You can even stick the olive on the hedgehog if you’re feeling posh.

But while Badger’s sett is warm and cosy and modestly pleasant, there are plenty of people who cannot afford to rent – let alone buy – their own homes. At least not dstecent ones.

Welcome to the world of bedsitters, houses of multiple occupation, half-arsed, grubby, unsafe flat conversions done on the cheap, flats over shops and – too often – flats instead of shops.

How parts of our county town aren’t known as Hovelfordwest escapes Badger – and Pembroke Dock and Milford Haven are as bad; if not, worse.

Many people in Pembrokeshire – and Wales – are exercised about housing. They are particularly exercised about the number of second homes and holiday lets.

Second homes are, nominally, what they say on the tin. Imagine you’re a smart metropolitan-type in a well-paying job. You and your partner/spouse might well decide a compact and bijou five-bedroomed detached property on the outskirts of St Davids might well be the very place to take your ease away from the stress and strain of living in London.

Holiday lets are properties invested in for commercial gain, and they are either purpose-built or converted to leisure use for profit.

Airbnbs are the grey area.

Sort of … charcoal.

Imagine you’re our first couple – let’s call them Humphrey and the Lovely Samantha.

You have your house in St Davids, but, what with one thing and another, you can only get there for a couple of months a year. Why not rent it out for a spanking sum to help cover the mortgage and pay for Jocasta’s and young Ulysses’ school fees? Have you seen the cost of a school trip to Tuscany?

So, you rent out your second home.

It’s a steady income, and you’re not subject to the same sort of red tape as a business.

If you’re very clever, you either get to write off the income against tax or get a nice little cash bonus salted through a limited company from which you draw dividend income.

Of course, you could trouser the cash and pay no tax on it all.

There’s a fair few like that around Pembrokeshire, and not all of them let short-term Airbnbs.

In the spirit of enquiry, Badger looked on Airbnb’s website to see what was available in Pembrokeshire.
He limited his enquiry to a week away after the October half term.

More than 300 Airbnbs are available in Pembrokeshire for that week. And Airbnb limits its search results to a mere 300.

The properties available ranged from a static caravan on a farm to a selection of high-end executive homes (built for the local market, naturally) dotted around our County and mostly situated in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.

Readers, if you’ve got £1500 smackers to spare for a week in Pembrokeshire, you can have the pleasure of renting Humphrey and the Lovely Samantha’s five-bed newly built home on St Davids’ outskirts. Or a nice cottage on the Parrog, Newport. Or a nice townhouse in Tenby. Or – for a little less – a newly built executive home in St Florence.

You can see, Badger hopes, the direction of travel here.

Badger also noted several interesting developments described as annexes, studios, shepherds’ huts, cabins, and the like.

All very chichi and nice.

And he began to wonder… how many of those had planning permission?

You see, you can have certain permitted developments on your property for your own and your family’s use. But if you intend to let them out, and some of the ones Badger found look like they were built for rental purposes, you need planning permission.

Badger’s made a list of what he’s found and will be sitting down with the lists of planning registers from the County Council and the National Park.

My word, there are a lot of them to go through.

However, a quick check Badger did on a sample set revealed that planning enforcement is not so much hit-and-miss as non-existent.

Those nice little places in little villages around Pembrokeshire to extend family homes to accommodate family members have never seen dear Auntie Ida and beloved Uncle Ruprecht over their porches.
Not once.

Not ever.

And yet, there they are, readers, advertised as lovely holiday lets for the more or less discerning traveller with the cost of a family holiday in Benidorm to spend on a week schlepping around the Preselis.

Badger loves going through the reports and – being a Badger – especially loves digging out the dirt.
And he’s got the scent of weasel in his nostrils and is ready for the hunt.