Whitby is losing its character amid Airbnb ‘racket’ and housing crisis – Yorkshire Post Letters

From: Mrs K McDermott, Woodsetts.

The impact of Airbnb lets on resorts like Whitby has been highlighted by columnist Andrew Vine.

I ALWAYS read the My Yorkshire columns in your Saturday magazine. Most of the interviewees, when asked if Yorkshire has changed for the better or worse, usually state “better” and quote diversity as one of the reasons.

In the human population yes, but we are losing diversity in the most important thing – nature. Our flora and fauna are in rapid decline.

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The impact of Airbnb lets on cities like York has been highlighted.

I was born in the 1940s and have lived in South Yorkshire/Bassetlaw most of my life. We have lost wildflower meadows, beautiful woodlands and wetlands – all under brick and concrete. The UK is now the 21st most densely populated country with England being significantly higher than the other home nations. With this increase in population, there is a corresponding increase in road traffic.

We used to go to Whitby in the 1960s and 1970s, and even though we had to drive through York, we got to Whitby quicker than we would do now.

Whitby used to be so exciting when the fishing fleet came in moored four abreast in the harbour with an auction of the catch at the harbour side. All gone since Ted Heath signed away our fishing rights when we joined the Common Market. Now Whitby relies on tourism. Many of the cottages which used to be for fishermen are now holiday homes and Whitby has lost its character (as have so many places throughout the country).

I suppose people will call this “progress” but what I regret is the loss of flora and fauna.

From: Roger Backhouse, York.

ANDREW Vine’s excellent article (The Yorkshire Post, August 3) highlights a worsening problem of short term-lets which are crowding out residential use as well as forcing guest house closures.

Unfortunately it isn’t just a problem of seaside towns, though Whitby is particularly badly affected.

York has many such places and the curse of Airbnb has reached York’s suburbs.

Even comparatively well paid professionals such as dentists are being crowded out of the residential market in York – so goodness knows what it must be like for the city’s less well paid people.

So far the Government has refused to allow any dispensation for places outside London to limit such places.

Nor does it encourage 
HMRC to investigate and ensure correct tax is paid on these businesses.

Unfortunately voices of second home owners are very loud, and many MPs have second (or even third) homes .

So, I fear Government action is unlikely.

So the tragedy of dying communities and loss of vital services will continue.

Thank you to The Yorkshire Post for raising these important issues.

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