AN overwhelming majority of community representatives have agreed a 100 per cent council tax surcharge should be levied on second homes in North Yorkshire despite hearing impassioned appeals that the move would be both unfair and ineffective.

North Yorkshire Council’s elected members approved becoming among the first areas of the country to launch the levy from April next year  in a bid to increase the supply of properties for local people in holiday holiday hotspots, particularly in the Yorkshire Dales and coastal areas.

The proposals are designed to deter second home owners from maintaining properties in the county, bringing them back into use for local communities which in recent years have increasingly been priced out of the housing market.

Although the number of second home owners it will see selling their properties remains unclear, the council has forecast the levy could generate up to £16m more for housing in areas particularly affected by the affordability crisis.

A meeting of the authority at County Hall in Northallerton saw one second home owner question whether the action was a blunt instrument which would impact on those who had not contributed to the housing crisis in some areas of North Yorkshire.

He told members how his parents had bought a property in Scarborough in 1959 and although no one lived there permanently it had remained a well used “family home”.

 The second home owner said as the proposed tax burden was onerous it “delivered the message that me and my family are no longer welcome in Scarborough”.

The meeting heard second home owners were likely to reclassify their homes as short-term holiday lets to avoid the levy.

However, earlier this week the Government announced who want to let houses on sites such as Airbnb would be forced to get planning permission from this summer.

Filey councillor Sam Cross highlighted how second home owners used to be charged just 50 per cent council tax because they did not live there permanently and did not use council-run services, such as schools, and would take their rubbish home with them.

He said second home owners of average band D properties were now facing annual bills of more than £5,000.

Coun Cross said: “It’s not fair and it’s not decent.”

Upper Dales councillor Yvonne Peacock responded while there were hundreds of second homes in Swaledale people who wanted to work and live there could not afford to do so.

Danby and Mulgrave councillor David Chance said some villages in his division had just 10 per cent permanent residents.

The council’s finance boss Coun Gareth Dadd said while the authority was still awaiting a Government decision on details of exemptions from the levy, it would be more unfair to ignore the plight of communities stricken by second home ownership.