Police called as new arrivals continue at second homes and holiday cottages in Yorkshire Dales

A message from residents of West Burton in the first lockdown. Photo: North Yorkshire Police.

Community leaders and residents worried about the arrival of visitors to second homes in the Yorkshire Dales have called police demanding they take action.

Concerns are growing that people arriving in Richmondshire to stay in second homes and holiday cottages could increase the risk of the coronavirus spreading in rural towns and villages.

Upper Dales county councillor Yvonne Peacock said she had heard about a new arrival in her area over the weekend and would be contacting the police.

She said: “It’s absolutely wrong and I’m very concerned about the problem.

“The Government directive is very clear — people should stay in their own homes and a second home isn’t their own home.

“I am contacting the police when I hear of a case and I would urge others to do the same.”

A Wensleydale resident, who asked not to be named, said there had been several new arrivals in recent days at second homes in and around his village.

He said: “The instructions from the Government are clear.

“This is a pandemic which could harm our loved ones. The Dales are full of older, vulnerable and hard working people who are all following the rules.

“These people who are still travelling to second homes and holiday cottages could potentially be bringing the virus with them — it’s just selfish.”

Residents and community leaders in Coverdale have raised concerns after an Army major and his family was due to arrive this week at a holiday cottage in Melmerby.

It is understood Major Neil Foot-Tapping has returned from Kenya after the British Army evacuated its troops from the country due to the virus.

An email sent to local residents said the major would be staying at the holiday cottage for a “couple of months” and that he would be involved in helping the Army coordinate the coronavirus relief effort, although Richmondshire Today understands the officer will not be involved in the military’s response to Covid-19 at present.

It is understood the cottage is owned by the major’s friend who is allowing him to use it while he’s in the UK.

District councillor Sue Fairhurst said she believed the family should have been housed in Catterick Garrison until this emergency was over.

“We have a duty to protect all residents in our communities and particularly those who are shielding this move should not be allowed to go ahead .

“In Middleham we have had concerns from residents about the use of second homes and holiday homes during the present lockdown – the message is clear stay at home and do not move house during the lockdown.”

Local farmer Andrew Avison said a number of residents in the village were concerned about the new arrivals.

He said: “I’ve got nothing against him personally or the fact he has had to come back to the UK, but I don’t think it’s good protocol from the Army letting him rock up in a tiny village in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

“There’s at least three people in the village who are on the at risk list and he’s coming all from Kenya straight into the heart of our community.

“We have no services or facilities in the village — there’s forever of houses in Catterick Garrison he could live at until he’d at least self-isolated for 14 days.”

In response to the major’s arrival, a Ministry of Defence spokesperson said: “We cannot comment on individual cases but to minimise exposure to COVID-19, Army personnel have been advised to return to their homes.

“Soldiers will be recalled when required, to support the COVID-19 Task Force.

“Personnel returning from overseas may be housed in temporary accommodation and we expect all our of personnel to adhere to Government and Public Health England guidelines.”

Mr Avison said he contacted police about the new arrivals but was told there was nothing they could do.

The owner of the cottage did not respond to a request to comment on the concerns.

North Yorkshire Police declined to comment.

Richmondshire Today understands that while the force will challenge motorists if they are found to be making an unnecessary journey, living in a second home is not illegal under the current lockdown rules and there is little officers can do when receiving a complaint from the public.


  1. This major has served his country and this is nimby residents happy so long as it isn’t near them I agree second home owners shouldn’t visit after this is resolved you will be wanting his type in your community double standard so

    • I agree vulnerable residents should be shielded at home and as long as the government guidance is followed then risk is minimised. Presumably the residents of the village where there are no services will be travelling outside of their village for essentials. Just like the Najor and his family will be, thus presenting the same risk when they return. I hope that the Major and his family are treated with respect by this community who is up in arms. They should be ashamed.

  2. Somewhat disappointed to hear of serving soldiers being demonised when returning from active duty to their homes. Not the same as those retreating to their second homes which is rightly criticised.

  3. It is wrong for people still to go to second homes or rent holiday cottages. We have had to cancel our holiday taking our caravan, as sites are closed. We must respect residents and stay in our own homes. Hopefully,when it’s all over,we can begin to rebuild our lives . Stay safe

  4. Boris has not set a good example going to his country retreat, Prince Charles decamped to Balmoral and brought Covid-19 with him. Finally the Queen legged it to Windsor.

    • Yes I agree also the Queen should be in Buckingham Palace her official residence why is she allowed to travel and no one else is disgrace

  5. If the legislation only empowers police to turn around people whilst in transit but not to send them back to their primary home if they manage to get to a second home undetected then this loophole in the legislation needs to be amended. That should be quickly achievable by updating a schedule through a Statutory Instrument.

  6. People should obey the rules but this Major has returned from overseas and needs somewhere to stay in the meantime.
    I am sure he is a very responsible individual who is respecting social distancing and not behaving in a way that is putting people at risk.
    Although I agree people should not move around if they were staying in their property in the Dales when the rules on social distancing and semi lockdown were announced they should be allowed to stay there without being hassled.
    Do remember too that some holiday home owners spend a lot of money in the community and when this is over will remember how unpleasant people have been.
    I have a second home in the Dales and I am not using it during the Covid-19 Pandemic and I shall remember how people treated valuable contributors to the economy.
    Your going to need every penny once this is over.

    • The locals behaviour counts as hostility to outsiders, harassment, ignorance, fear. Nothing else. Nothing better to do other than sit at home, watching the news, acting like it is a ‘city’ virus. Everyone by now knows social distancing and the risk to communities is none. However the residents in the dales have not once thought they they, themselves could have it being of such close community and be a risk to others. The dales are using this as an excuse to have a holiday from visitors and to practice outsider hostility which should be heavily frowned on and dealt with.

      People will remember the hostility shown long after the pandemic has passed.

      Incidences of aggression shown and harrassment to outsiders who are simply walking have been reported to the police near the 3 peaks.

    • Or maybe those holiday homes destroy communities by not having a steady stream of income from a permanent resident. On yer bike luv. X

      • Second home owners barely contribute to the local economy. Thry get reduction on Council Tax, buy up all the small houses so none left for locals resulting in school local village shop and church closures and reduced public transport Do not confuse second home owners with holiday cottage owners. Second home owners visit only a few weeks in the year but holiday cottage owners hope to have round the year occupancy which does bring in a massive amount of money. Still means a housing shortage for locals though.

  7. The fine should be £1000. Per person. Those caught driving should be sent home and then their cars crushed. They can replace their car. They cannot replace the lives of the people they kill via their selfish actions.
    All second home owners. Should pay a tax to the local community. A minimum of £10000.00 per year. This could be used for keeping the corner shop going etc.
    This virus has shown just how selfish second home owners are. They don’t care about the local people. Only them selves.

  8. If you were in a second property that you own prior to the lockdown being announced, leaving that property to return to your primary residence would consitute unnecessary travel, just as much as leaving a primary residence to head to a second home would at this stage. Yvonne Peacock is, I am afraid, misquoting (unintentionally?) the government directive when she says ““The Government directive is very clear — people should stay in their own homes and a second home isn’t their own home.” The government directive can be found here https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus and simply says “Stay at home”. Her interpretation that “a second home isn’t their own home” is invalid.

    I’d also like to point out that people are permitted to drop off shopping and medical supplies for vulnerable people and this does not constitute a breach of the rules … please see point 9 of government advice https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do

    Therefore, as long as someone is legitimately dropping off food and/or medical supplies for someone who is vulnerable and was at their residence in the dales prior to the lockdown, they are well within their rights.

  9. I love on anglesey. Its disgusting this can happen.it seems the police in your are have not doing what the government wants.

  10. This is a somewhat small minded approach to this member of the armed forces. Also why has he been named?

Comments are closed.