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Cornish neighbourhood plan declares war on second homes

Published: Thursday, 7th April 2016

Residents of the picturesque fishing port of St Ives in Cornwall vote next month (5 May) on their neighbourhood plan.

The plan specifically stipulates that new market housing will only be allowed where restrictions prevent the property being used as a second home.

The H2 policy on page 25 of the 108-page development plan says: “Due to the impact upon the local housing market of the continued uncontrolled growth of dwellings used for holiday accommodation (as second or holiday homes) new open market housing, excluding replacement dwellings, will only be supported where there is a restriction to ensure its occupancy as a Principal Residence.

“Sufficient guarantee must be provided of such occupancy restriction through the imposition of a planning condition or legal agreement. New unrestricted second homes will not be supported at any time.

“Occupiers of homes with a Principal Residence condition will be required to keep proof that they are meeting the obligation or condition, and be obliged to provide this proof if/when Cornwall Council requests this information.“

The plan says that St Ives is in the top five settlements in Cornwall with the highest proportions of second homes and holiday lets. In 2011, 25 per cent of dwellings in the plan area were not occupied by a resident household.

Cornwall is currently a hot-bed of neighbourhood planning activity. There are currently over 90 parish and town councils in Cornwall at different stages of the neighbourhood planning process. So far, three plans have been adopted.

The government is known to be unhappy over the proposed control on second homes. Planning and housing minister Brandon Lewis has been quoted as saying it would interfere with people's fundamental rights.

"Trying to control private ownership via the planning system will ultimately require intrusive state surveillance of every property," he insisted.

View more information on the St Ives area neighbourhood development plan

Roger Millne