Wednesday, 24 Apr 2024

Second homes crackdown ‘responsible for disgusting tourists with no manners’

A crackdown on second homes in an area of North Wales has been blamed for falling standards of behaviour in some holiday resorts.

Local businesses and long-term visitors were left aghast when one of the latest incidents saw a party of “horrible people” reportedly become abusive and refuse to pay for meals at a beach restaurant on the Llŷn Peninsula in Gwynedd.

North Wales Live report the Llanbedrog Beach Bar sharing CCTV images of diners allegedly throwing their plates at a staff member and telling her to “f**k off”.

The party of two men, two women and two children were also said to have turned all their plates upside down and spelt “p*** with their fries.

Leaving a mess strewn across a table, they apparently filmed staff as they refused to pay, giving spurious reasons.

“They were the rudest people we have ever had here,” wrote a staff member, urging other local eateries to ban them.

“They are horrible, horrible people! I felt so bad – they were all shouting and causing a scene in front of the children and they were old enough to know what was going on.”

The group’s behaviour attracted universal criticism and sparked several online debates.

Local restaurants were quick to share the bar’s Facebook post and residents united in condemnation. A woman from Ruthin said: “Disgusting behaviour. Animals!”

One concern is the impact of bad behaviour on valued hospitality staff at a time of mass shortages as the peak holiday season approaches.

Another is a perceived decline in standards and attitudes by holidaymakers in the past year or so.

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A holiday let owner in Llanbedrog said Cyngor Gwynedd Council was to blame for hiking council tax premiums for second homes.

In April, the rate was raised from 100% to 150% but many second home owners, fearing the worst, had already sold up.

Sold properties were being converted to Airbnbs and “rented out to anyone”, he said, and were no longer a bolthole for families that have been visiting the area for years.

A woman from Wigan said some second-home owners were being forced to let their properties at “massively discounted prices” to meet the Welsh Government’s 182-day occupancy threshold for avoiding council taxes and premiums.

The overall impact is a change in the type of customer the area has traditionally attracted, it is claimed.

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“Definitely noticing the difference,” said one woman. “Glad I am not the only one disgusted with the behaviour of the visitors this year.”

A Pwllheli man added: “The behaviour of the few so far this season has been sadly quite shocking!”

Last year Sue Hanning spoke to North Wales Live about her decision to sell her second home in Abersoch.

Unable to justify the extra council tax costs, nor willing to share it with “strangers”, she sold the two-bedroom property she’d bought with her first husband 28 years previously, so cutting family ties with the village going back almost seven decades.

She said of the Airbnb visitors: “They don’t care about the area and they don’t care how much noise they make.”

The retired primary school teacher from the West Midlands described short-term visitors partying late, throwing beer cans and litter off balconies and even spitting from their rooms.

A Staffordshire visitor said falling standards of behaviour wasn’t limited to former second homes.

“People are renting caravans to people they do not know,” she said. “A lot more problems on our caravan site this year than ever before.”

Some people have taken issue with the broad characterisation of the type of people blamed for lowering standards.

The owner of holiday cottage near Pwllheli said: “Even the most affluent entitled public have bad behaviour. No need to blame families who may only be able to afford lower-end affordable accommodation.”

A travel boss said there was big changes in places like Abersoch.

“The new lot and their off-spring with money, have no manners, no consideration, no courtesy, no compassion, no kindness, no inclusiveness,” he said.

“Abersoch has not gone off, just the quality of the visitor.”

Agreeing with this was a woman from Pwllheli.

 “I worked in Abersoch for many many years from the 80s up to 2000,” she said.

“It’s really sad to see the decline in basic manners. The “old money” knew how to treat people with respect.”

Another woman concurred. “Abersoch sadly isn’t how it once was,” she said. Around one in five second homes in Wales are in Gwynedd, causing generations of young people to be unable to afford their own homes or forced to move from their communities.

Cyngor Gwynedd has brought in a suite of measures designed to restore some balance and address the issue of homelessness in the county.

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