Resort calls for more funding

By Jenni DixonA TOWN council has called for some of the extra revenue generated from the increased tax on second homes to be poured into a seaside resort.

By Jenni Dixon

A TOWN council has called for some of the extra revenue generated from the increased tax on second homes to be poured into a seaside resort.

Waveney District Council has decided to slash the council tax discount from for second homes in its area from 50% to 10%.

It is estimated the move will raise an extra £557,653 for local authority coffers, but the council stands to get just £57,000 of that.

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Suffolk County Council, whose charge makes up the bulk of the area's council tax bill, will get £445,000 with the remaining £54,000 going to Suffolk Police Authority.

Southwold town councillor, Michael Ladd, has now called on the county council to put some of its £445,000 into the resort because of the high number of holiday homes there.

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There are about 1,400 second homes in the Waveney district, with many in and around Southwold. Latest figures revealed of the 1,229 properties in the seaside resort, 388 were second homes.

Mr Ladd, who is also a Waveney district councillor, said: “Around 35% of homes in Southwold are second homes and because Southwold has such a high proportion of second homes, council tax is lost to the county council, which is responsible for providing services in Southwold.

“Perhaps some money should be earmarked for Southwold. If we could talk about ring-fencing some of that money, it would be a step forward.”

Waveney District Council is also hoping to negotiate with the county council in an effort to get more of the money collected from second home owners poured back into the area.

But David Rowe, Suffolk County Council's portfolio holder for strategic and financial planning, said the extra revenue would be used to prevent rises in council tax.

“It has been agreed that for 2004/05 all extra money collected from second homes will be used to reduce council tax increases - responding to public concerns that council tax should be kept as low as possible,” he added.

“We obviously already collect some money from second homes and this is not spent specifically in the area of the second home.

“We have, however, agreed in principal to work with district and town councils and the Suffolk Association of Local Councils on a project to investigate the effect of second homes and look at ways of addressing some of the issues that arise.”

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