St Ives Referendum

Cornwall ponders local plans as St Ives stuns would-be second-home owners with 83% rejection

Bill Bartlett Parishes across Cornwall are studying the implications of last night's referendum in St Ives, where people voted overwhelmingly in favour of a plan which could restrict the future development of second homes in the town.

The residents of St Ives have voted unanimously against desperately needed homes being used as second homes. A fifth of Homes in St Ives are used for this purpose. Many villages across Cornwall such as St Just in Roseland and St Merryn have already suffered from high levels of second home ownership.

The Cornwall Local Plan: Housing Evidence Base published in 2013 said, 

"High levels of second home ownership will have social consequences. If there are large proportions of second homes within an area there could be negative effects on village services such as the function of a school. It is argued in The Taylor Review of Rural Economy and Affordable Housing that large numbers of second homes may render services less viable. If second homes and holiday lets are only used seasonally businesses, like Post Offices, shops, pubs, bus services and restaurants may be less viable year round, if at all. In this situation homes that stand empty much of the year can undermine the sustainability of the community. Studies  such as Second Homes in England and Wales by Beilckus, C. Rogers, A. and Wibberley, G. (1972)  have suggested that one of the more positive impacts of second and holiday homes in rural areas is their contribution to the conservation of the rural housing stock, bringing empty and redundant properties back into use, and enhancing the visual quality of rural areas."

See full report Cornwall Local Plan: Housing Evidence Base

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