A picturesque north Pembrokeshire village has been left with only a handful of permanent residents with all other houses bought as second homes or holiday lets.

In the seaside hamlet of Cwm-yr-Eglwys, which has around 50 houses and a small static caravan site, only four or five homes are occupied year-round.

The situation here has made national headlines in the same week that Pembrokeshire County Council's policy and pre-decision overview and scrutiny committee heard that the number of coastal holiday lets has doubled in the county over the last decade and that communities with high numbers of second homes (and holiday homes) have higher house prices.

Community councillor Keith Battrick, who has lived in nearby Dinas Cross since 1972, said the situation was not limited to Cwm-yr-Eglwys. In his part of the village 32 out of the 45 homes are holiday homes, a considerable change from when he first moved to the area.

He feels strongly that Welsh Government, local and planning authorities need to work together to come up with a strategy to prevent young local families being priced out of the market.

"There are very few children here any more," he said. "The unfortunate thing is that local youngsters can't afford to buy here because the people who want to buy homes here have a lot more money."

Cwm-yr-Eglwys is not the only Pembrokeshire seaside village in this predicament, further along the coast Aber Castle too only has two houses that are lived in year round.

Research discussed by the scrutiny committee on Tuesday stated that there were currently 3,641 homes in Pembrokeshire subject to the second homes council tax premium, along with 377 exceptions.

There are also 1,506 empty properties.

The research presented to councillors suggests that the number of homes 'with no usual resident' has remained unchanged in Pembrokeshire for a decade, at 12.5 percent.

However, the numbers have decreased somewhat inland, whereas in coastal communities the number of second homes and holiday lets has burgeoned, with the number of holiday lets doubling.

The research also revealed that house prices across the whole of Pembrokeshire in the last year rose more quickly than the UK average rise, but remain below the UK average. Communities with high numbers of second homes (and holiday homes) have higher house prices.

Earlier this year Pembrokeshire County Council's cabinet member for housing Cllr Michelle Bateman said the county was in a 'housing crisis' with around 1,000 people joining the council waiting list in the last year, due to increasing rents and unaffordable house prices.

Council tax premiums in Pembrokeshire currently stand at 50 per cent more for second home owners, with proposals in the pipeline to double that, following a public consultation due to begin imminently.

The revelations also come in the wake of an open letter to the First Minister urging action on the second homes crisis, penned by representatives of community and county councils across Wales, urging ministers to implement the findings of a report they commissioned on the impact of second homes on many Welsh speaking communities.

Among the councillors to add their voices to the call to action was Crymych county councillor and cabinet member for the environment and Welsh language, Cris Tomos.

"As you know, our communities are suffering tremendously as a result of the lack of control on the second home market, which has seen house prices skyrocket out of the reach of local people," notes the letter coordinated by Nefyn's 'Hawl i Fyw Adra' (The Right to Live at Home) campaign.

"We urge you to show leadership to solve the crisis by introducing legislation to protect our communities and cultural wealth."

In response to the letter the First Minister confirmed that second homes was an issue he had offered to work on a cross-party basis to solve.