Pretty UK seaside town deserted in the winter amid rise in holiday homes

A local resident has said that a pretty seaside town can be “pretty bleak” in the wintertime as the area grapples with what to do about Airbnbs.

The rise in staycations in recent years has meant that more Britons are choosing to holiday in the UK rather than fly abroad.

As a result, every spring and summer thousands flock to the UK’s seaside town to rent out holiday homes or spend time in their second homes.

This can create a problem for some seaside towns that experience intense busy periods during the summer and quiet winter trading times. spoke exclusively Wheelers Oyster Bar’s Mark Stubbs, 48, to find out what he thought.

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Mr Stubbs said the holiday homes had both a positive and negative impact on Whitstable.

He explained: “The Airbnbs in Whitstable have been growing and growing and growing over the last decade.

“At the weekends it brings in lots of trade which is a positive which means that the town is able to employ more people and keep people in employment.

“The negative impact is that normally Thursdays, Friday, Saturday, Sunday the stays, but then you’ve got the beginning of the week, the Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday where a lot of the houses are laying dormant.”

Mr Stubbs added: “It can be a bit bleak in the wintertime as well. You’ve got to remember in the old days we had families and generations of families living in these properties.

“They would maybe not spend lots of money in your shop or restaurant, but what they would they would do is maybe use you once or twice a week so we have a downside at the beginning of the week, but a flipside at the end of the week.”

Mr Stubbs said Whitstable’s sense of community was one of the reasons why people came back to the area year after year, but said Airbnbs can affect the community spirit in some areas.

He said: “We’ve got a real sense of community in the town and I think that’s why people return to the town because they feel part of the town. I think if you were to live in a street which has got lots of holiday lets then I think you would lose a little bit of community spirit there because you’ve got people coming and going all the time so how can you build a community spirit in that sense.”

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Despite the potential problems, Mr Stubbs said there was a solution. He explained: “One thing we should be trying to do is promote the businesses in the town within the regime of the holiday lets.

“If they’re bringing all their food and drink with them and just wandering up and down the town, they’re forgetting the reason why they came here in the first place.

“If they’re not spending the money in the cafes, the shops, the restaurants, the butchers and bakers and things like that then they’re all going to lose a percentage of business. We have to try and find that balance, I think.”

In a statement, a spokesperson for Airbnb said: “Over a third of guests using Airbnb said their experience helped them to experience an area they probably wouldn’t have visited, and over half say they took up their Host’s recommendation of a local business or place to visit.

“We have long supported the introduction of new rules for short-term lets that support everyday families sharing space in their homes, and protect communities from speculators that drive housing and over-tourism concerns.”

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