'But what about second homes?' - Suffolk councillor likens Southwold to Tolkien's Shire
PUBLISHED: 12:17 18 September 2018 | UPDATED: 12:55 18 September 2018
A Waveney councillor has likened the town of Southwold to The Shire and empty second homes as their own "dark cloud" at the Liberal Democrat conference in Brighton this week.
Councillor David Beavan told delegates at the gathering for Britain’s third party that “like The Shire, a dark cloud hangs over” his ward of Southwold - but rather than stormy weather, it’s empty second homes casting an ominous shadow over the town.
Cllr Beavan added that 60% of the houses in his area were empty for large periods throughout the year, causing the council and local services to miss out on up to half a million pounds in council tax and business rates annually.
He said: “They claim the houses are rented out as holiday lets even though they’re not let at all.
“People are buying houses and leaving them empty - they only care about profit.
“Well, in this Shire the hobbits are now revolting.”
His proposed solution was to close the loopholes around second home ownership and collect the missing rates.
Railing against the Conservative-controlled district council, he added: “The Tories can’t claim there’s no money when they won’t collect the rates from the rich.”