Residents in one of Britain’s most exclusive seaside retreats have declared war on wealthy city dwellers who buy second homes in their town.
St Ives in Cornwall has been dubbed Kensington-on-Sea because so many rich Londoners flock there every summer.
Now locals have called for all future new-build homes to be restricted to permanent residents only.
Picturesque: St Ives (pictured) in Cornwall has been dubbed Kensington-on-Sea because so many rich Londoners flock there every summer
Picturesque: St Ives in Cornwall has been dubbed Kensington-on-Sea because so many rich Londoners flock there every summer
They would also like half of new-builds to be affordable housing, rather than luxury beachside properties designed as investments.
The proposal is contained in a draft version of the St Ives neighbourhood development plan, which could be voted into local planning regulations next year.
Locals claim they cannot buy homes in their own community because outsiders have swamped the market and sent prices rocketing.
As many as one in four homes in St Ives are believed to be used as holiday homes.
The Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales, North Wales and Norfolk have encountered similar problems.
Andrew George, Liberal Democrat MP for St Ives, supported the plans, although it was unclear if or how they could be implemented.
He said there were so few permanent residents in some villages that schools had been forced to close, while village halls and shops struggled to stay afloat.
He added: ‘Without a doubt, high numbers of second homes do have a detrimental impact on the opportunities for local families to buy. My last survey of estate agents in St Ives showed six times as many houses were sold to second home buyers as they were to first-time buyers.’
Locals in St Ives have called for all future new-build homes to be restricted to permanent residents only
Mr George has long campaigned for a law which would require people to seek permission from the council to use a home as a second residence ‘in the same way as if they wanted to turn a building into a shop or a factory’.
According to Nationwide, the average home in Cornwall and Isles of Scilly is £215,000, compared with the UK average of £189,000.
In St Ives, it rises to in excess of £300,000, £100,000 above the national average. The St Ives proposals could inspire other towns to follow suit.
Sir Andrew Motion, head of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, has previously called for ‘townies’ buying second homes in the countryside to face harsher taxes.
Planning Minister Brandon Lewis said: ‘Trying to impose state bans on who can own property is totally inappropriate.
Trying to control private ownership via the planning system will ultimately require intrusive state inspectors to monitor the usage of every home.’
Meanwhile, the number of young people owning their own home will almost halve in the next five years, a report has found.
Estate agents Savills found the number of under- 35s who own a house will plummet from 1.2million to 690,000 by the end of 2019.
Given that Mr Lewis’s First Buy initiative will require some form of occupancy and sale condition enforced by covenent this seems rather hypocritical – whats the difference?