Second homeowner hits back

A HOLIDAY homeowner has launched a scathing attack on councillors who complained about the number of second homes in a coastal town and branded them "nimbys".

A HOLIDAY homeowner has launched a scathing attack on councillors who complained about the number of second homes in a coastal town and branded them "nimbys".

Businessman Paul Bradley, 69, who owns a four-bedroom terrace property in Southwold, said he was fed-up with being accused of destroying the "fabric" of society just because he owns another house.

Mr Bradley who lives in Buckinghamshire, bought the house four years ago as an investment, which he hoped would later contribute to his pension fund.

The entrepreneur, who runs a private vehicle hire business, now rents it as a holiday let for the summer months and said his tenants were ploughing money into local businesses and services.

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Mr Bradley decided to speak out after Suffolk County Council revealed it was launching an investigation into the impact Suffolk's 5,000 second homes has on communities and how it affects the housing market, particularly for first time buyers.

"I was made redundant and I think it was a blessing. I've saved all of these years since then and very successfully as a self-employed entrepreneur, and some people are pulling up the drawbridge and saying I don't like your people coming here buying homes and destroying the fabric of society," he said.

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"My (mortgage) discount has been reduced down to 10%. I said I didn't object to that but I do object to the inference I am a bit of a highway robber.

"They don't like seeing people coming into their town and taking property under their noses and redeveloping it and trebling its price.

"They hate that because they have never stuck their neck out that far and do not take a risk. They are Nimbys saying 'you're not coming into my backyard'. It really is warfare."

Many picture-postcard towns and villages in Suffolk, particularly along the coast, have become highly sought-after locations for holiday homes. Southwold alone has 388 second homes.

But the high demand has sparked a surge in house prices and many local people have been priced out of the market.

Now county and district council officials will spend the next four months compiling a report on the issue and deciding what, if anything, can be done.

Peter Austin, leader of Waveney District Council, last week said second homes distorted the housing market and forced prices up, which would otherwise be used by local people raising their families.

"I think it's grossly unfair that a young family cannot get tax relief on a mortgage whereas if you are buying a property as a business you get tax relief," he said.

Mr Bradley said he spent two years doing up his Southwold home himself and hoped to move there with his wife in 2007 for retirement after the children had left home.

"We stayed at Aldeburgh and had a superb time. We borrowed a couple of bungalows there and got to like it and saw it as an investment opportunity," he said.

"I have four bedrooms and have eight people and the lady opposite who runs the coffee shop says your tenants are wonderful, they all come here.

"I object to this rather superior, patronising attitude that we're newcomers here. We have done it this way and I have spent three years battling to get planning consent to relay my drive at the back.

"They are accusing me of coming in and destroying their communities. If they do not let me in how am I going to contribute in any way," he added.

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