The number of second homes, holiday lets and empty homes in the North York Moors National Park has rocketed by more than a quarter over the last decade at a time when many are struggling to get on the property ladder because of soaring prices.
Members of the park authority were told at its meeting yesterday hat latest figures from the 2011 census show homes without permanent residents now account for a total of 17% of the park’s homes.
Campaigners have previously warned about a critical lack of affordable homes in rural communities where traditionally low wages often leave people struggling to live in areas where their families have lived for generations.
Caroline Skelly, the authority’s planning policy officer, said: “Work is needed to look at the reasons for the increase in vacant households and whether these are empty homes, second homes or holiday lets and whether there are any particular geographical concentrations of these properties.”
She said affordable homes were needed to meet local demand and to retain “a balanced demography” but says planning for future development in the area needs to reflect an ageing population.
A report prepared for members of the park authority’s planning committee said: “According to the census figures there are 2,158 residential properties in the national park which have no usual residents, representing 17 per cent of the total stock. This figure comprises empty properties, second homes and those used as holiday cottages.”
It said numbers had increased by 587 since 2001 - an increase of 27.2%.