Sunday, 29 May 2022

Welsh residents slam Love Island's Dr Alex for buying four cottages

‘Young people can’t afford to live in the area’: Welsh residents slam Love Island’s Dr Alex George for buying up FOUR holiday cottages in beauty spot where house prices have shot up by £54k since before lockdown

  • Alex George, who found fame on Love Island, has bought homes in Tenby, Wales
  • The A&E doctor announced he wanted to turn the properties into holiday homes
  • But residents in Tenby have urged the reality TV star to reconsider the scheme
  • Figures show how  house prices have boomed in Pembrokeshire since 2020
  • People living in London flocked to area and others like it during Covid pandemic
  • But wages have not risen at the same rate as house prices in the Welsh county 

Residents in a desirable South Wales town already being swamped by second home owners have reacted with fury after a Love Island star announced plans to set up a cluster of holiday rentals. 

Dr Alex George, an A&E doctor who found fame on the hit ITV reality show, is facing the ire of residents in Tenby after revealing his intention to convert turn four long-term rental properties into holiday cottages.

Townsfolk say the area is already suffering from sky-high property prices due to an influx of investment from second home hunters from London – who flocked to the Pembrokeshire seaside town during the Covid pandemic.

It comes as figures shows how house prices have boomed in Pembrokeshire since the first lockdown.

According to Land Registry data, average property in the south wales county now cost £234,000 – up from £180,000 in March 2020 and £150,000 a decade ago. 

Kerry Westerman, 71, a retired shop manager, told MailOnline: ‘It’s disgusting, it’s at the stage where there are no homes for the youngsters to afford to buy. The practice is killing Tenby.

Residents in a desirable South Wales town Tenby, who are already being swamped by second home owners have reacted with fury after a Love Island star Dr Alex George (pictured in 2018 on the ITV show) announced plans to set up a cluster of holiday rentals

‘There is one excuse after another and now it’s getting to the stage where cafes and other places can’t find the staff anymore because young people can’t afford to live in the area.

‘One of my relatives has stipulated in her will that their house has to to be sold to local people.”

Paul Deverson, a 55-year-old photographer and art shop owner, who lives just outside Tenby, said: ‘All these holiday homes are not helping the local economy as more and more people have to move out of the area.

‘The knock on effect has implications for the whole of Pembrokeshire.

‘I wonder if the doctor will be using local tradespeople to work on the properties.

Townsfolk say the area is already suffering from sky-high property prices due to an influx of investment from second home hunters from London – who flocked to the Pembrokeshire seaside town during the Covid pandemic

According to Land Registry data, average property in the south wales county (pictured) now cost £234,000 – up from £180,000 in March 2020 and £150,000 a decade ago

‘It’s a big problem because people are desperate for accommodation, but we also need to rely on the tourist trade.’

Builder Bernard Robert, 40, said: ‘The property market is too expensive for locals, so it may as well end up for the tourists.

‘I feel sorry for the youngsters who can’t get on the property ladder because of the ridiculous prices.

‘I can’t see why the council doesn’t buy these properties if it seriously wants to do something positive to help out. That way they can dictate the use.’

Kerry Westerman, 71, (pictured), a retired shop manager from the local area, told MailOnline: ‘It’s disgusting, it’s at the stage where there are no homes for the youngsters to afford to buy. The practice is killing Tenby’


Builder Bernard Robert, 40, pictured left, said: ‘The property market is too expensive for locals, so it may as well end up for the tourists.’ Pictured right, photographer Paul Deverson, 55, who lives just outside Tenby, said: ‘The knock on effect has implications for the whole of Pembrokeshire’

Health food shop worker Karen Edwards, 61, from nearby Pembroke, said: ‘The prices here are out of this world. How can local people possibly hope to buy and live locally.

‘I came from Birmingham to live and work here 15 years ago and I’ve seen things change dramatically.

‘I know a man who’s aged who with his younger sister has had to go and live back with mum and dad.

‘The government has to try to work out a fair balance for everyone.’

Estate agent Ian Kidd, 60, who lives in Tenby, said: ‘I have a holiday home in the centre of town, that sleeps 12 people.

‘I have to let it for 183 days of the year or I lose my status as a business. It used to be 70 days.

Health food shop worker Karen Edwards, 61, pictured, from nearby Pembroke, said: ‘The prices here are out of this world. How can local people possibly hope to buy and live locally’

Estate agent Ian Kidd, 60, (pictured) who lives in Tenby, said visitors to his holiday homes bring a huge amount to the town’s economy, by his estimate of around £200,000 a year1

‘Those visitors bring a huge amount to the town’s economy, by my estimate around £200,000 a year.

‘From my position as an estate agent, I believe most of the holiday accomodation is owned by Welsh people living in and around the area.’

On the other hand, Dr Alex was praised by fans after revealing he plans to house a Ukrainian family in one of the four holiday homes.

The 31-year-old took to his 2million Instagram followers on Sunday to explain he plans on renovating the homes but wants to help out a family in need.

He penned: ‘Today’s the day! I’m so excited to announce that I’ve bought 4 holiday cottages in beautiful Pembrokeshire, in Wales.

‘I initially bought these for my passion for property and renovation, as well as wanting to create relaxing spaces for families to holiday and enjoy the Welsh countryside in!’

On the other hand, Dr Alex was praised by fans after revealing he plans to house a Ukrainian family in one of the four holiday homes. The 31-year-old took to his 2million Instagram followers on Sunday to explain he plans on renovating the homes but wants to help out a family in need

Many of his fans shared their excitement of the announcement, with one writing ‘You are amazing,’ and another adding: ‘Honestly, a true influencer.’

Residents, meanwhile, say there is already a ‘house crisis’ in Tenby. And they have urged the reality TV star to reconsider his plans to create home holiday homes. 

After receiving the backlash, Dr Alex has defended his decision, saying he has received threats of violence after announcing the purchase and that the cottages would not be suitable for residential purchase.

He wrote on his Instagram Story: ‘For clarification, because it seems to have caused quite a lot of confusion. These ‘cottages’ are a singular converted farm out-house. These are on the land/property of another residential house.

‘I am not going to discuss all the details of this because of the obvious (it’s social media). There is a good reason why we have opted for most to be for holiday stars and one of which can be for a refugee family and yes, afterwards a local if the family decide to leave.

‘I appreciate those who have tried to respectfully share concerns about housing the area. Sadly I have received a number of threats of violence which is never acceptable. Let alone abuse.

‘You can take my word for it or not, these cottages would not be possible for residential purchase. If (I will not be pushing anyone out the door) and when the refugees wanted to leave, I will invite a local to rent the suitable flat.

‘I would happily meet with local leaders to discuss housing in Pembrokeshire and see how I can support. I am an avid campaigner and activist myself but being respectful and reasonable should always be a baseline for discussion.’ 

The area has seen a staggering 56 per cent rise in house prices over the last 10 years, with wages in the area having only seen a small increase

The average wage for a full-time employee in Pembrokeshire was just over £25,000 in 2012. By the end of last year, that figure had risen to £33,000 – a 33 per cent increase

The area has seen a staggering 56 per cent rise in house prices over the last 10 years, with wages in the area having only seen a small increase.

The average wage for a full-time employee in Pembrokeshire was just over £25,000 in 2012. By the end of last year, that figure had risen to £33,000 – a 33 per cent increase.

One resident, Davey Haynes, told The Times: ‘Feel free to renovate these houses but please reconsider turning them into holiday homes or second homes.

‘Our villages in Pembrokeshire are empty, us locals are being driven out. Whilst tourism is important, we don’t need an influx of more people.

‘We need local, affordable housing for us young people hoping to return home.’ 

How wages and property prices have changed in Pembrokeshire since 2012 

2021

Average Wage: £33,806 * provisional

Average house price: £203,353 

2020

Average wage: £32,433

Average house price: £170,964 

2019

Average wage: £29,829

Average house price: £174,787 

2018

Average wage: £30,074

Average house price: £166,216 

2017

Average wage: £29,453

Average house price: £165,121 

2016

Average wage: £28,533

Average house price: £153,350 

2015

Average wage: £29,696

Average house price: £151,128

2014

Average wage: £28,403

Average house price: £151,017 

2013

Average wage: £28,602

Average house price: £146,926 

2012

Average wage: £25,467

Average house price: £156,256 

*Average house price is based on June figures for each year for Pembrokeshire from Land Registry

**Average wage is the mean average wage for a full-time employee in Pembrokeshire, according to ONS data

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