Language campaigners have called on Ceredigion County Council to use its new powers to restrict the growth in second homes.

According to the 2021 Census, there has been a 30 per cent increase in the number of second and holiday homes in Ceredigion in a decade.

Gwynedd County Council recently consulted on using new powers that would require planning permission to convert a residential home into a holiday or second home, with Conwy set to follow.

In October last year, Ceredigion County Council stated : “As the first step, the council will look at the feasibility of obtaining planning permission to convert a residential house into a holiday accommodation or a second home.”

However, campaigners say, this has not yet started. Tamsin Davies from the Ceredigion branch of Cymdeithas yr Iaith said: “Ceredigion is one of the counties that suffers most from second homes and unaffordability of housing, with a high proportion of the housing stock being second homes and house prices being around 10 times the local wage, so Ceredigion must act swiftly to use all the new powers they have gained.

"Ceredigion County Council should follow Gwynedd by consulting on making the whole county an area where planning permission is required to turn a house into a second home.

“We’re not sure why there appears to be a hold up on this work. It's simply not right that some people own more than one house while others can't afford a single one."

Currently, Ceredigion County Council only raises 25 per cent more council tax on second homes, which is less than the 100 per cent permitted by law in Wales since 2015.

From this year, councils are allowed to raise the premium to 300 per cent. Cyngor Gwynedd has already decided to raise the tax to 150 per cent from April 2024. Neighbouring Pembrokeshire’s premium currently stands at 100 per cent.

Ceredigion County Council’s consultation on a possible rise in council tax on second homes  closed on Sunday, October 29.

A recent Pembrokeshire consultation on the tax rule changes will be discussed by the Policy and Pre-decision Overview and Scrutiny Committee in December.

Cymdeithas yr Iaith called upon those living in Ceredigion to respond in favour of increasing the premium to 300 per cent.

The language group's research in 2019 showed that Cyngor Gwynedd had raised £2.2 million in just one year for public services from its higher tax on second homes.

In Pembrokeshire the Enhancing Pembrokeshire Fund, which is raised by the second homes premium, is expected to award total grants of £700,000 annually.

Ms Davies added: "We welcome the consultation on increasing the tax on second homes by the council. However, it is a cause for concern that Ceredigion County Council officers have been dragging their feet.

“Ordinary people can't wait - Ceredigion has seen young people leave the county at a higher rate than anywhere else. That's partly because they can't afford a single house while the rich have more than one.

"At a time when we really need more money to invest in our public services, it’s essential that the council uses all these new powers to their full potential as soon as possible.

"We are facing a housing crisis - and increasing the higher council tax to the highest possible level is one of a package of measures that Ceredigion needs to implement as soon as they can."

A spokesperson for Ceredigion County Council said: “During September and October 2023, Ceredigion County Council held a public consultation on second home and long-term empty property council tax premiums.

“The current intention is that the council’s cabinet and full council will give the matter further consideration at its meetings scheduled for December 5 and December 14 respectively.”