BBC NEWS | Locals-only rule stalls house sale – in upshot, a woman in Pennal (near where I grew up) has been stopped from selling her £240k council house to an Iraqi couple from Hampshire, who have already sold their house.
While I have (obviously) every sympathy for local people trying to buy a house in the area they grew up in, why should there be special rules for rural people in small Welsh communities? You don’t (on the whole) get special rules for working-class Londoners who want to buy a house where they grew up, so why should working-class Welsh people be accorded special rights?
Build new houses, restrict those to people on low-incomes, sure. But literally stopping newcomers (especially ones who seem quite keen to learn Cymraeg etc.) when they’ve already sold their other house (so they’re not going to treat it as a holiday home) seems daft at best, wilfully stupid at worse. Bet they wouldn’t apply the rules for a Cardiff couple.
This gets back to the essential same problem that the fox-hunters have – in essence, they want special rules and regulations to enable them to live in a time-warped sepia-tinted time when they could go around doing what they want, while the rest of the urbanised world has moved on. Plus, they want subsidies from the urban world to help them do it – but they don’t want any incomers arriving with strange modern ideas and attitudes.
If you do want to protect Welsh communities, then sell houses at rates local people can afford. Don’t go chasing the English pound or the Yankee dollar. Build more houses for local people. Practice what you preach. Don’t wail as yet another house is sold to a retirement couple and you pocket the proceeds. Oh, and of course, make those communities attractive enough for young people to want to stay in them in the first place.