Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Neighbourhood Plan: and the impact of the St Ives ban on new-build second homes

What's been happening in the far tip of Cornwall has been of great interest beyond:
Futures Forum: St Ives and seaside Britain: banning new second homes

Last week, the news broke about a dramatic court decision:
High Court rules second homes ban in St Ives will remain - BBC News

This is also of great interest to planners:
High Court backs St Ives neighbourhood plan second homes ban | Planning Resource
High Court: St Ives second home policy lawful | The Planner

And to local government:
High Court backs councils ban on new second homes - LocalGov.co.uk - Your authority on UK local government

And to estate agents:
High Court says ban on selling new-builds to holiday home buyers will remain - Estate Agent Today

Here is the view today from the Out-Law website:

High Court rejects challenge to St Ives neighbourhood plan restricting second homes

A neighbourhood development plan (NDP) seeking to restrict the construction of new housing for use as second homes did not breach EU law, the High Court has ruled.

16 Nov 2016

The St Ives Area NDP was backed by 83% of residents of the Cornwall seaside town in a referendum in May. A Penzance-based architectural firm challenged Cornwall Council's decision to put the NDP to referendum on the grounds that the drafted policy breached the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) regulations, as well as human rights legislation.

However, High Court judge Mr Justice Hickinbottom ruled that RLT Built Environment "[fell] far short of showing that the [local] Examiner's conclusion was irrational" when she backed the NDP.

"The Examiner found that the draft plan was compatible with the relevant EU obligations, which was a matter of planning judgment for her," he said.

Described by the judge a "highly desirable tourist and leisure destination", St Ives is a small town on the North Cornwall coast. It also has one of the highest proportions of second homes and holiday lets in Cornwall. According to a supporting statement published alongside the NDP, the proportion of dwellings in the area not occupied by a resident household increased by 67% in the decade between 2001 and 2011, to 67%; and the "socio-economic effects" were "being felt by the local community".

To address this, policy H2 of the NDP states that new open market housing which is not intended to replace existing dwellings "will only be supported where there is a restriction to ensure its occupancy as a Principal Residence". The policy defines 'principle residence' as "those occupied as the residents' sole or main residence, where the residents spend the majority of their time when not working away from home".

High Court rejects challenge to St Ives neighbourhood plan restricting second homes

The news is spreading:
Plan to ban new builds from becoming second homes in parts of Cornwall near Plymouth | Plymouth Herald 

With the latest from the Telegraph:

Ban on second homes could be extended in Cornwall as five parishes submit plans

Residents on the picturesque Rame peninsula in south-east Cornwall are calling for change CREDIT: ALAMY

Lydia Willgress 14 NOVEMBER 2016 • 2:50PM

Aban on second homes is on course to be extended in Cornwall after five more parishes submitted plans following the measure being successfully introduced in St Ives.

Residents on the picturesque Rame peninsula in the south-east of the county are calling for change over fears that communities are being destroyed by high levels of second-home ownership.

St Ives held a referendum on the issue earlier this year after residents argued that a surge in holiday homes had led to a lack of affordable housing for locals. More than 80 per cent of voters backed the change.

Officials from the five parishes of the Rame peninsula, which has a higher rate of second-home ownership than St Ives, have submitted plans to Cornwall council calling for newbuilds to be restricted to buyers who want to use them for their primary residence.

It comes after the High Court ruled last week the vote in St Ives was lawful. Penzance-based architectural firm, RLT Built Environment Ltd, had challenged Cornwall council’s decision to allow the referendum, claiming the restrictions were disproportionate and amounted to a breach of human rights.

Mr Justice Hickinbottom said he was “unimpressed” by arguments that second and holiday homes caused no real harm to the seaside town. The decision prompted some to suggest that tourist areas across the country may seek to copy St Ives.


If the area were to go ahead with a referendum, like St Ives, it would have to follow the correct procedure to ensure it was lawful. According to the Localism Act 2011, a local planning authority must put a neighbourhood plan in place if more than 50 per cent of voters support it.

In 2005, the sale of new homes and barn conversions in the Yorkshire Dales national park was restricted to people who already live or work there after residents complained locals were being priced out by wealthy outsiders.

The Peak District had imposed a similar rule 10 years earlier, while Exmoor park authority has been operating a scheme where new homes can only be sold to people who have lived in the area for at least 10 years since 2005.

The idea has since been considered by other villages including Mevagissey and Fowey in Cornwall and Lynton and Lynmouth in Devon.

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