St Ives votes in favour of second home ban in landmark referendum
The Neighbourhood Plan states that new build housing projects will only be given planning permission if they are reserved for people who live in St Ives and surrounding areas.
Determined to give locals a chance to purchase homes in their communities, St Ives’ council held a referendum on 5 May 2016, where 12,000 residents were asked if they would agree to a ban on building any new homes that would not be used as ‘principal homes’.
Property prices in St Ives have been inflated to 75% over the national average because of Londoners’ desire for second homes there. It has been estimated that roughly a quarter of all homes in St Ives are dormant during the week, which is injuring the the local economy and pricing residents out of the housing market.
The referendum was the first time that the local electorate took part in voting on local planning policies for the area. Residents voted in favour of against the Neighbourhood Plan, a comprehensive planning document that shapes future development of the area up to the year 2030, and includes the provision on planning permission for second homes.
The referendum asked voters: “Do you want Cornwall Council to use the neighbourhood plan for St Ives to help it decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area?”
The referendum result was announced at 5am on the morning of 6 May; St Ives Area Neighbourhood Plan was voted in by an overwhelming 83% majority of voters in St Ives, Carbis Bay, Lelant and Halsetown.
Formal adoption of the Neighbourhood Plan now has to take place at Cornwall Council before it can be officially declared ‘made’.
The chairman of the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group, town councillor Rita Lait, says: “Firstly, we must recognise the participation of the local residents who have taken part in the process from the start up, through to the community consultations and ultimately turning out to vote in the referendum. The significant level of turnout makes the result a more valid representation of the wishes of the community.”
The St Ives Area Neighbourhood Plan is a development plan, with the aim of providing housing to meet local needs while preserving the character of the area. It also covers the issues of local economic development, community facilities and transport.
Town mayor, councillor Linda Taylor says: “Following a community lead initiative, consultation with Cornwall Council, scrutiny by an independent body, the people of St Ives overwhelmingly voted to adopt the Neighbourhood plan, their voice has echoed around the UK, communities have the power to determine their future.”