Pembrokeshire County Council has begun a consultation exercise on the authority’s policies relating to second homes and long-term empty properties.

The council said that reducing the number of second homes and long-term empty homes is seen as desirable, as increasing the supply of affordable housing across Pembrokeshire is a priority.

Second homes and empty properties reduce the number of houses available to local residents.

Pembrokeshire currently has the second highest rate of second or empty homes in Wales and in 2017 the council introduced a 50 per cent council tax premium on second homes and a premium of up to 100 per cent on long term empty homes.

The money raised in Pembrokeshire is used to support the development of affordable housing, such as a long-term housing project in Solva, as well as providing grants to local projects through the Enhancing Pembrokeshire Grant fund.

The consultation asks respondents to give their views on potential options from April 1 2022 which include varying the Council Tax premium for second homes and long term empty properties.

The consultation is available here

The closing date for responses is Monday July 26.

The responses provided will be compiled into a report to be considered by cabinet before a final decision on the options will be made by full council on October 14.

Cllr Bob Kilmister, the cabinet member for finance, urged Pembrokeshire residents to take part in the consultation.

He said: “The more feedback we get on this matter the better. The issue of second homes and empty properties is one that cannot be ignored.

“While people from elsewhere in the UK find it relatively easy to afford property in Pembrokeshire, it is much more difficult for those living and earning locally.

“A high proportion of second homes in a community also poses a threat to the viability of local schools and opportunities to nurture and grow the Welsh language.

“While further possible actions on second homes and long term empty properties are being considered by the Welsh Government, the Council is currently only able to consider the level of Council Tax premium.

“I would ask all Pembrokeshire residents to provide feedback on the options for Council Tax premiums on second homes and empty properties so we have as many viewpoints as possible to consider ahead of future decisions.”