The staycation boom on the Yorkshire Coast has led to soaring house prices, pushing out local young people and their families
Image: Peter Harbour)
A popular Yorkshire seaside village has been overwhelmed by tourists with just five properties in the area home to local residents.
Properties on the Yorkshire Coast have been in high demand over the last two years, with a surge of visitors to the coastal region in locations such as Whitby, Runswick Bay, Sandsend and Straithes.
Those who have fallen hard for the idyllic area have converted houses into holiday lets, or second homes, reports YorkshireLive.
House prices have soared, so young local people trying to get on the property ladder have been priced out of living in the area.
The beautiful village of Robin Hood’s Bay, a traditional location well-regarded for its fishing industry, manages to feel both coastal and rural, in the center of the North York Moors.
But residents say that just five properties are housed by residents, with any homes which do go on the market snapped up within hours to be converted into holiday lets.
Parking issues are a problem at the top end of the village during busier months, and one annoyed woman – who asked to remain anonymous – said the property issues were “killing” Robin Hood’s Bay.
She said: “Everyone who owns a business wants it to be a tourist spot but everyone who doesn’t own a business doesn’t want that. It’s made house prices ridiculous and there’s now no young families and no children.”
The woman has lived in the village since the 1960s, but says now it’s more like “Beamish” – a reference to the open museum, near Durham, that tells the story of life in old Northern England.
She added that a division between locals, and those profiting off tourists, has also emerged.
“It’s wrong to say because we’re all tourists wherever you go so you’ve got to be accommodating.
“But if you come again in a few weeks you’ll see how the tourists are parked across everyone’s drive and the ambulances can’t come round. There’s two sides to it,” she said.
She added that the community has changed since she first moved, saying that “everybody got on with everybody back then”.
She added: “But tourism is the train you can’t stop. It’s beautiful and it’s lovely here and we’re not knocking tourism because a lot of people depend on it, but not everyone does. And that’s what’s sad.”
She said that she thinks, now in total, houses were a 70 to 30 split between holiday homes and villagers.
She said: “It’s heart-breaking. I love it otherwise I wouldn’t live here, but there’s been a big change in the last two years.
“If you’re not fast enough you can’t buy a house and if you’re a young couple you won’t earn enough money. How are you going to be able to get a mortgage for a £350,000 little three-bedroom house ?”
Katie Wallis, 26, is one person caught between two sides, as she runs a number of businesses benefitting from the tourist trade along the coast, whilst finding it impossible to buy a property for her and her partner.
Whilst working at her boyfriend’s mother’s sweet store in the old village, she said finding a home had been “an absolute nightmare.”
“Everything’s just gone rocket high,” she explained.
“For people like me and my boyfriend – trying to get our first property is ridiculous. Even renting is hard; a flat in Whitby the size of this shop will cost you £600 a month.”
Katie was keen on a new housing development being built in Whitby with locals in mind, but acknowledged she can’t moan too much about the source of the housing price boom, which is tourists.
She said: “It’s hard for me because I want them to come here but at the same time I do want to live here. I think there’s enough holiday cottages and I don’t think you can have more people.
“The problem is there’s becoming so few locals now there’s hardly enough people to help run the shops and restaurants. I think it’s just at its capacity – there’s too many tourists to locals ratio. Which is good but tiring as well.”
Similarly, Becca Oliver, who was born and raised in the village, and works at the clothing store The Old Drapery along the steep bank down, said she purchases her detached three-bedroom house for close to £225,000 eight years ago, adding that a nearby bungalow recently sold for £420,000.
She said: “I think housing’s quite a contentious issue in the village, isn’t it? In the last few years I can’t see how local families can afford properties around here because the prices are so high and people from London or wherever can afford it but local people can’t.It’s pushing people out and it’s worrying in terms of the school and things like that.Are we going to lose those sort of things?
“It’s finding that balance. I’m not slating holiday makers because we need them and we love having them but it’s about finding that balance for both. We have a great community with lovely people and we don’t want to lost that.”
When asked if she felt the village was currently achieving that balance, she said: “No, it’s not quite right.”
She added that she didn’t believe houses at the bottom end of the village were too desirable for living, because of parking and bin collection issues.
She said: “Carrying your Aldi shopping bags down the hill isn’t the easiest either!”
Phil Hammill runs a gift store with his partner Jessica Hogarth, and they live together in Whitby.
He said that the recent change in property ownership had been “noticeable”, adding: “There’s been a big shift of holiday homes being bought. A lot of places aren’t even going online or to estate agents and people aren’t even seeing them.”
He also used the word “balance” when saying what Robin Hood’s Bay needs to aim for, adding: “You want people to come and visit but you still want life in the village. It’s a fine line but if you can maintain that then that’s key.”