A quarter of house sales in Denbighshire last year were for second homes.

With such a high level of empty homes in the county the council is set to hire a new staff member to deal with the problem at a cost of £30,000.

Yesterday’s council meeting heard the alarming numbers came from UK government figures on the amount of Stamp Duty paid on house sales in Denbighshire.

The numbers showed that in the last financial year there were 422 second home sales in Denbighshire, almost a quarter of all sales in the county.

Cllr Arwel Roberts asked what steps the council was taking to reduce the number of second homes in the county.

He said: “Following the HMRC figures showing that 24% of houses have been bought as second homes can we have an update on how the council plans on bringing houses back into use?”

The cabinet member responsible for housing, Cllr Tony Thomas, said the council was working to address the issue.

He said: “A business case and a £30,000 funding request has been approved. “The empty homes delivery plan is nearing completion with the intent of submitting to myself for approval by the end of next month. Also a project group has been set up to deliver the corporate priorities. The latest numbers show that 61 properties were brought back into use in the second quarter along with 48 during the first quarter.”

He added that the £30,000 funding request would pay for an empty homes officer.