Residents of a Welsh seaside resort are furious after it was labelled “depressing” by their own MP. Elfyn Llwyd, the Plaid Cymru MP for Dwyfor Meirionnydd in the north-west, said rows of empty houses reduced the area's appeal during the winter.
The MP was invited to discuss the impact of holiday homes on the local area on BBC Radio 2 after it was found that Gwynedd has the highest proportion of holiday homes across England and Wales.
His comments made the front page of the local newspaper when traders demanded an apology.
Rob Middleton, the owner of Abersoch Deli and Zinc Bar and Grill, told the Cambrian News he "couldn't believe" what he'd heard. "How can he say Abersoch is depressing in the winter? This was said on a national radio show. I believe saying comments like that won't help with boosting trade in the quieter months."
Mr Llwyd qualified his comments. "I said that it can be depressing to see a row of empty homes during the winter, which you see in Abersoch because there are many holiday homes there," he said. "I didn't call Abersoch on the whole depressing. Why would I when so many people flock there each year?"
Gwynedd Council recently announced a scheme for first-time buyers in a bid to bring vacant properties back into use.