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October court date for review of ban on new-build second homes

There is likely to be an October court date set for a judicial review into a ban on new-build houses and flats being sold to holiday home buyers.

The ban was agreed in a referendum held in the Cornish holiday home haven of St Ives back in May. 

The vote was specifically to support or oppose the St Ives Neighbourhood Plan, a substantial document which included one specific provision to stop future new-build homes being sold to anyone other than permanent owner-occupiers from St Ives and nearby locations.

More than 83 per cent of voters backed the plan - 3,075 in favour to 616 against; turnout was just over 47 per cent. 

However, although the ban applies only to new-build properties there has been recent concern from local estate agents that the decision is sending out a ‘not welcome’ message to both tourists and buyers of second-hand properties, which are unaffected by the ban.

Now a local developer, RLT Built Environment Limited, has won agreement to trigger a judicial review of the process surrounding the vote. The BBC reports that this is likely to take place in October.

Cornwall Council, which presided over the referendum on behalf of St Ives town council, says it will "carefully consider the grounds on which the claim for the review" were being made. However, it says it has followed all appropriate procedures for the vote.

Other local authorities have been watching the St Ives example closely.

Elsewhere in Cornwall the small towns of Fowey and Mevagissey are considering writing similar clauses into their neighbourhood plans; across the county as a whole there are 29,015 second homes and 242,213 main-residence homes.

Local councils in Derbyshire and the Isle of Wight have tried similar schemes in the past while a similar restriction in the Devon council area of Lynton and Lynmouth in Devon has yet to be implemented.

The most recent Census suggested there were 165,095 holiday homes across the UK.

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