A town councillor has resigned over what he says is a lack of action to tackle the housing crisis in Malvern.

Chris Lee was co-opted onto Malvern Town Council last year and had hoped to make a difference for those struggling to afford housing in the town.

But what he calls a lack of support from town and district councillors has left him disillusioned.

Mr Lee, who runs the Amaze charity shop in Great Malvern, wants empty homes in the town to be made available to local people in need.

Malvern Gazette: Chris Lee in the Amaze shop in Belle Vue TerraceChris Lee in the Amaze shop in Belle Vue Terrace (Image: NQ)

The district council says tackling the housing crisis is a priority but “very challenging” with its current powers.

Mr Lee said: “There are decent, hard-working people with good credit ratings who just can’t get accommodation.

“There are 468 homes in Malvern listed on Airbnb but local people can’t find a place to live.

“I would like the powers that be to consider something that would make housing possible for all.

“I understand landlords want to maximise their income. What I would suggest is that a local tax is put on unoccupied houses and second homes, but that tax income is then redistributed to landlords who rent their property on assured shorthold tenancy agreements.

“Effectively, you are penalised for Airbnb but rewarded for helping the local community at the time of a housing crisis.”

Mr Lee said he had joined the council hoping to make a difference but struggled to get the support of other members.

“I brought this up with town councillors,” he said, “one said he’d got four properties so wouldn’t want to get involved.”

Jen Taylor, director of communities and housing at Malvern Hills District Council, said: “Maximising the number of affordable homes in the district is a priority for the council but bringing empty homes back into use can be very challenging within our current powers.  

“Following the Government's Levelling-up and Regeneration Act, which came into force last year, local councils can now charge higher Council Tax on empty properties such as those that are only occupied occasionally (furnished second homes). 

“The added charge is intended to encourage owners to bring properties back into regular use by local people and could boost the supply of properties available to rent or buy in the area, which would be a benefit to local people. 

“The council will be bringing a decision to the Executive Committee about this issue.”

Town clerk Linda Blake said housing does not fall under Malvern Town Council's remit. 

"We're very sorry Mr Lee has chosen to resign," she added.

"The town council does many other things he could've helped with and I'm sure he would have been a great asset for us."