The UK trade union GMB is campaigning for under-used holiday homes in areas where there is a shortage of affordable housing to be bought up by councils – and it also argues that the owners of the homes should be forced to forego their second homes if they rarely use them.
Recent figures show that more than 170,000 people own a holiday home in Britain; GMB says that those who use them for just a few weeks a year bring little value to local economies.
The controversial news highlights the value of shared ownership as an eco and economical way to holiday in a second home – whether it’s timeshare or fractional, the difference being that fractional owners usually own a share of the actual bricks and mortar, rather than simply the right to holiday at the property or resort for a certain time period every year.
Instead of remaining vacant for most of the year, the GMB claims authorities should be given powers for compulsory purchase in areas with acute housing need.
Paul Kenny, the general secretary of the GMB, said: "A holiday home that is only used for a few weeks a year is very different to a holiday home that is occupied for most of the year in terms of its economic benefits to any locality.
The Telegraph reports that over 40,000 people have a holiday home in the South West of England, while another 30,000 owners have properties in Wales. More than 10,000 people from outside Cornwall own a home in the county, while the figure for Gwynedd in North Wales was 7,700 and almost 5,000 in north Norfolk.
However Sue Pittendrigh, owner of Second Home Services, said she believed it ought to be a human right for property owners to do what they like with their own homes.