The town of Whitby held a rare parish poll on Monday night which saw 93 per cent of those taking part agree to that any new build properties should be restricted to “full time local occupation”.
The turnout was just under 23 per cent with 2,288 valid votes cast from an electorate of 10,072.
Robert Goodwill is the MP for Scarborough and Whitby and says while the vote is not legally binding and neither local authority, Scarborough Borough Council, nor the government are legally obliged to act, it was a “clear message” that there is more to be done.
He said: “I am not surprised by the result. This is an absolutely clear message that we need to do more to try and get housing for local people.”
Former town mayor, John Freeman, said he didn’t hold out much hope people would be listened to. Years ago he advocated that second homes and holiday homes should incur triple the rate of council tax, and said: “The people of Whitby have spoken – and the people of Whitby will be ignored. I don’t hold out much hope.”
A second question was also put to voters at the poll, asking whether Whitby should remain within the Scarborough area committee when Scarborough Borough Council becomes part of the new North Yorkshire unitary authority.
Only 253 voters said yes with 1,982 saying no.
Whitby Town Mayor, Coun Linda Wild said: “This demonstrates the importance of this issue for local people and the depth of feeling of being crowded out of affordable housing by an overabundance of second homes and holiday lets which can be in the hands of unscrupulous landlords.
“The power to tackle this lies with the borough council – which is making attempts to confront the problem – and with government – which needs to amend the planning regulations to make it possible to protect local housing for primary residence.”
A spokesperson for Scarborough Borough Council, with whom responsibility now lies for acting upon the results, said: “The outcome of the poll is no more and no less than an expression of the views of the electorate of the parish who have voted in the poll, and is not binding on any organisation.”