Banksy praised for shining light on housing issues

Liz Withington next to the street art on Cromer's each beach, which may or may not be by Banksy. 

Liz Withington next to the street art on Cromer's each beach, which Banksy claimed responsibility for. - Credit: Supplied by Liz Withington

A beachside mural by mysterious street artist Banksy has thrown a spotlight on problems caused by too many second homes, according to campaigners. 

Liz Withington, chairman of the North Norfolk Town and Parish Forum, said she wanted to thank the artist behind the work for drawing attention to the issue, which she fears is harming popular parts of the coast. 

The stencilled artwork appeared on a sea wall facing Overstrand by the beach on Cromer's east beach. It depicts a crab with a shell on its back holding a sign saying 'Luxury Rentals Only' facing several other crabs without shells.

Liz Withington next to the street art on Cromer's each beach, which may or may not be by Banksy. 

Liz Withington next to the street art on Cromer's each beach, which Banksy claimed responsibility for. - Credit: Supplied by Liz Withington

Ms Withington said: "The forum is not against second homes and holiday lets, since as a forum we are all too aware of the important role they play in the local economy. However, we are working hard to ensure government is aware of the need to mitigate the impact of high numbers of second homes. 

"The owners of these properties need to be contributing to the cost of the detrimental effects they are having on our communities."

Julie Chance, Cromer Town Council's clerk, said that a high proportion of second homes in an area led to public transport and other amenities becoming unviable.

She said: "Councils need to be able to mitigate the impact of this and have funding to be able to ensure our communities are sustainable. This is what the forum is trying to raise rather than just set limits on the number of second homes in the area."

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Ms Withington said second homes or holiday lets made up 43pc of houses in Blakeney, 26pc in Sheringham and 34pc in Wells-next-the-Sea. She said forum members had met with housing minister Christopher Pincher to discuss second homes, and she wanted to thank artists who also drew attention to the matter.

She said: "The forum would like to pass on their thanks to [Banksy] for helping to raise the profile of this important issue."

Banksy has now claimed responsibility for the artwork in Cromer and further around the coast in spots including Great Yarmouth, Gorleston and Oulton Broad in recent weeks. 

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