CONWY council will decide on whether to introduce a 50 per cent premium on second homes amidst a divide in support for the measure.

Conwy County Borough Council members will be asked to decide on the level of council tax premium on second homes and long-term empty homes for 2022/23 over the next few weeks.

The premium is designed to encourage owners to bring empty properties into use and support the increase of affordable housing for purchase or let in local communities.

A public consultation during the summer, which asked second and long-term empty property owners and residents who do not own such properties, to give their views on what the premium should be, had more than 900 responses.

The premium hike has been well-supported by non-second home owners, who say it would support plans to revive the Welsh language and address the county’s housing crisis.

But last week Conwy’s finances and resources overview and scrutiny committee recommended that an earlier council decision to charge second homeowners a 50 per cent council tax premium from April be revoked. They instead voted in favour of a 25 per cent premium in the next financial year, which the council has set for the past three years.

Councils can set the council tax premium at 100 per cent, as have Gwynedd, but there is concern in cash-strapped Conwy that the local authority could lose money if second home owners decided to convert their properties to holiday homes, thus avoiding a larger tax hike.

The results of the public consultation and a range of other information has also been considered by the affordable housing (council tax premium) working group, which will inform the upcoming full council meetings.

Brian Cossey, cabinet member for finance, revenues and benefits, said: “This is a complicated issue, and research and the work that goes into considering the impact on the economy and the Welsh language of additional council tax premiums is an important part of our considerations.

“It’s also important to note the proposal that, as previously, the funds raised support pressures in the council’s housing Services budget.”