WORKINGTON MP Mark Jenkinson MP has thanked Cumberland Council for backtracking on its decision to charge chalet owners in Allonby full council tax.
Chalet owners are only permitted to live in the structures for part of the year and had enjoyed a 50 per cent discount for the last three decades.
However, the newly formed unitary authority announced in March of last year that they would be doubling council tax – effectively treating the chalets as second homes.
The MP met with the Allonby Chalet Owners’ Campaign Group as soon as the proposals were brought to his attention and joined them in their fight.
He repeatedly pressed the local authority to reverse its decision, raising his concerns with the Chief Executive and with the Executive Member Barbara Cannon.
Mark also wrote to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, and asked for confirmation of the legal position from the House of Commons Library as well as liaising regularly with the campaign group.
Mark Jenkinson said: “Cumberland Council was treating the chalet owners as if they were fully residential, but these structures can only be used for part of the year.
Chalets tend to be much smaller than ‘second homes’ with fewer facilities, and amenities, and nor are they subject to the same planning and building control regulations. There was no reason why they should be charged full whack.
“I find myself in the unusual position of having to thank Cumberland Council. I am very pleased that common sense has prevailed.
“I am glad that the local authority has come round to the position held by everyone else. No other council in the country was charging chalet owners 100 per cent council tax – and it is excellent news that this anomaly will be corrected.
“I think it would be a nice gesture – the icing on the cake – if Cumberland reimbursed the chalet owners for some of the excessive council tax they have shelled out.”
Barbara Cannon. Cumberland Council’s Executive member for Financial Planning and Assets, initially advised the owners that the Valuation Office Agency was responsible for the rise – and that it was unavoidable.
But this latest decision shows that the local authority indeed had the power to apply the discount all along.
Coun Cannon has now recognised that chalets are in a “unique situation”, confirming that the Executive plans to reapply the 50 per cent discount as part of the 2024/2025 budget-setting process.
The welcome announcement comes ten months after Cumberland made the shock decision to charge the chalet-owners 100 per cent council tax even though they cannot be occupied for over three months of the year (from November 15th to March 1st).