'Chelsea-on-sea' councillor banned by local firms in Norfolk town

Councillor Dennis Clark has been banned from local firms in Burnham Market
Councillor Dennis Clark has been banned from local firms in Burnham Market - JASON BYE

A parish councillor in “Chelsea-on-sea” has been banned from local firms over claims that people have a “hatred” of second-home owners in the area.

Dennis Clark, chairman of the parish council in Burnham Market, Norfolk, last week claimed there was “a lot of anger” from some villagers, adding that people who work in the area could no longer afford to live there.

Burnham Market is known as Chelsea-on-Sea because of the large numbers of Londoners with property there.

But Mr Clark’s remarks have angered those who argue that second homes and holiday lets are a crucial part of the area’s economy.

Tim Roberts, who runs four businesses, said he had banned Mr Clark from all of them and was calling for him to step down from the parish council.

“His comment that there is a genuine hatred for second-home owners among some villagers is incendiary and uncalled for,” Mr Roberts said.

He claimed other businesses were also banning Mr Clark in protest.

Another trader, who did not wish to be named, said: “He’s not welcome in any of the businesses here. This has got completely out of hand. He’s the chair of the parish council, he shouldn’t be inciting hatred – it’s just crazy.”

Mr Clark last week claimed there was “a genuine hatred” of people who own second homes and holiday lets in the area. “They have turned our beautiful village into something resembling Center Parcs,” he told The Times.

“People who work in the village can afford to live here, we don’t have a village cricket or football team any more.

“Obviously traders in the village benefit massively, and estate agents make a fortune, but there is also a lot of anger.”

But Mr Roberts, who runs NoTwenty9 restaurant, NoThirty3 Bakery, Eric & Dolly’s Doggy Boutique and Purely Polished Beauty Salon, said the comments were “laughable” and the village would die without holiday lets.

“It’s those same people, as well as second-home owners, who keep this village alive by eating and drinking in the various hostelries, shopping in the independent outlets, filling their vehicles up at our local garage – as well as using their services and supporting other retail stores,” he added.

“If such establishments had to rely on ‘local’ patronage then this village would be dead within 12 months resulting in mass closures, no post office and no jobs for anyone, local or otherwise.”

Last month, Mr Clark said the parish council would be writing to holiday-let owners to ask them to make a £100 donation towards the cost of maintaining the village.