ALMOST every tourist destination is having problems with too many homes being rented out on Airbnb too many being bought by people from outside the area to use as occasionally used second homes, and too many being snapped up at high prices as investments or as holiday rentals.

The consequence is that local people are being priced out of owning a home and affordable local rental properties are becoming impossible to find.

Many things have been tried in other parts of the country including raising council tax on second homes and using planning rules to try and prevent newly built properties from becoming tourist accommodation. All of them can sometimes help but also come with practical difficulties and an impact on local small businesses.

There is, however, one policy which is known to work. Building local council houses and building properties that Housing Associations can rent out at reasonable prices is one of the most direct ways of providing homes for local people, It is the best way of helping the likes of teachers, nurses, farm and hospitality workers to be able to live in the areas they grew up.

Instead of building for need and increasing the supply of genuinely affordable homes this government has decided to do the exact opposite. It is proposing to seize the privately owned assets of Housing Associations and to sell them off at below market rates to those who currently live in them.

There is nothing wrong with letting people buy their own home at a genuine market rate. There is everything wrong with forcing those who provide good quality affordable houses to sell off their property at prices that make it impossible to replace them. What is being proposed is the wrong policy at the wrong time in the wrong places.

It is hard to explain why central government is trying to force through such a damaging reduction of the supply of local homes and why it refuses to let councils build and retain homes for rent. Unless its policies are being driven by narrow minded ideology and by nostalgia rather than by practical need.

It is time this government faced up to the realities of life in tourist destinations and started to help local councils and local housing associations to meet local need instead of making it even harder.

Andy Brown

Green Party North Yorkshire Councillor (Aire Valley)