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St Ives residents secure majority vote to ban second-home builds

  • 06/05/2016
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Residents of the Cornish town St Ives have voted in favour of a ban on building second properties that could be used as holiday homes.

The referendum, which was supported by more than 80% of voters, was held amid a soaring number of holiday homes in the seaside town and a shortage of affordable housing, BBC News said.

Recent figures published by the town’s council showed that the number of second homes topped 25% of the total.

St Ives is the second town in the South West to vote for the clampdown on second homes, after Lynton and Lynmouth in Devon stopped the development of these properties in 2013.

Roger Harding of housing charity Shelter, said: “Local communities, like St Ives, are being threatened by our severe drought of genuinely affordable homes in this country and, understandably, more and more people are demanding solutions.

“Our housing crisis is reaching boiling point and is leaving families living in fear that their children will be forced out of the towns and villages they’ve grown up in, simply because they’ll be priced out of a home of their own.”

However, a judicial review bid has now been lodged by a local firm against Cornwall Council for allowing the referendum to take place.

In response, the local authority said it planned to “carefully consider the grounds on which the claim for the review” were made, but it was confident the correct process had been followed.

Speaking to BBC News, Christopher Balch, professor of planning at Plymouth University, raised concerns that there were risks involved in the plan.

“We live in a society where we have free markets [and] if you choke off new homes, second homeowners may start buying existing homes,” he said, adding this could “squeeze up” current prices.

He added that councils across the country would be keeping a close eye on how the new policy pans out over the next 12 months.

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