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Pembrokeshire Politics West Wales

Call from Saundersfoot councillor to speak and vote on second homes tax 

Saundersfoot councillor Chris Williams (Pics: Google/Pembrokeshire County Council)

A PEMBROKESHIRE councillor, one of the organisers of Saundersfoot’s annual New Years Day Swim, is seeking permission to speak and vote on a possible raising of the second homes council tax in the county.

Pembrokeshire is currently operating a 100 per cent council tax premium for second homes.

Earlier this week, the council’s Cabinet backed a 200 per cent premium for second homes, along with empty properties facing a 50 per cent premium for those empty for two years, increasing to 200 per cent for those empty for three years or more.

Cabinet backing takes the form of a recommendation to the full council meeting of December 14, where a final decision will be made.

Ahead of a debate by all members of the council, Saundersfoot county councillor Chris Williams has submitted a request for dispensation to speak and vote on any discussions on a tourism levy or the second homes council tax premium, made as he works part-time as a caretaker for second homes.

Saundersfoot councillor Chris Williams (Pic: Pembrokeshire County Council)

In his application to be heard by the council’s December 11 standards committee, Cllr Williams – chairman of the annual New Year swim event – says: “Saundersfoot is a vibrant holiday destination with 27 per cent of properties being in the second home or holiday let category.

“Part of my part-time work is being a key holder/caretaker for such properties. For clarification, I only manage them in a caretaker capacity for insurance purposes. I provide a service that examines the properties on a fortnightly basis, and it does not involve any bookings or payments. I provide a service to local residents as well as a few non-locals who require property maintenance.

“My in-laws have a main residence that is their only property and they rent it out periodically. My parents have an annexe attached to the rear of their property which they let out in the summer period.

“I was born and brought up in the village and fully understand the impact of tourism in Saundersfoot. I believe that I will give an honest and balanced assessment if I am allowed to speak on the matter.

“As an organiser of three major charity events (New Year’s Day Swim, SaundersFest and the Tenfoot Swim) I fully understand that many of my constituents either work or run businesses in the tourist industry and I feel that I should be allowed to express their views in the debate.”