Sadly Salcombe Proves Second Home Restrictions are Unworkable and Counterproductive

Devon Live

South Hams District Council, when they met last week, unanimously agreed an amendment to the existing neighbourhood plan for the picturesque town of Salcombe which would ensure that all newly built homes could only be used as a primary residence.

Around 57 per cent of homes in Salcombe are already classed as ‘second homes’, and a principle residency condition already applies in the existing neighbourhood plan for any new dwellings requiring them to be occupied by people with a local tie to the area.

But over a number of years, these ordinary planning conditions tend to get lost or are overlooked when a house is resold, councillors were told, allowing them to quickly become second homes.

Therefore, an amendment to the plan to strengthen the condition has been proposed and backed by councillors to introduce a legal condition on all new housing in the parish.

New open market housing will only be supported where there is a Section 106 agreement to ensure its occupancy as a principal residence, and the occupancy restriction will require the imposition of a legal agreement, the policy says, adding: “New unrestricted market homes will not be supported at any time.”

I used to belive in such restrictions. But now the evidence is clear NOWHERE where they have been tried have they worked.

The first point how are obligations more enforceable than a BCN. Nothing is as easy to enforce against as a BSN or breach of a conditions prescient following the rotherham case.

Thre really is one on situation where you would favour a s106 over a condition. Where you cant impose a conditions precient of x before y because you need to obligate a developer to x alongside y, such as building something as part of a phase. There is no point imposing an occupancy condition by obligation, indeed it is weaker as you are forced to go straight to EN or injunction. It is a condition wth a bonus prize of money for nothing legal fees to planning lawyers. Can any commentator here explain any befefit.

What is worse research shows such conditions are unenforceable or counterproductive.

St Ives for example

Falmouth Packet

A second home ban in the tourist hotspot of St Ives has backfired according to a new study – and priced locals out of the market.

Residents in the Cornish coastal town voted three years ago to ban the sale of new houses as second homes.

It was hoped that this would make housing more affordable for local people who were being priced out of the market by wealthy summer-dwellers.

But a fresh report has claimed the reality of the ban has had an opposite impact – and has made the situation worse.

The study by the London School of Economics argued the bans have been damaging to the local construction and tourism industries.

It is claimed it has caused the pool of available homes to shrink as house builders walked away – leading to even higher prices.

And with the demand for second homes remaining sky high, the ban has just moved focus away from new builds onto the limited stock of existing primary residences.

Professor Christian Hilber, who led the study, said: “In St Ives, where primary homes can easily be converted into second homes, demand has switched from new-build to existing homes and, possibly, to other nearby towns.

“This has led to an increase in the price of existing homes as summer dwellers are competing for existing homes with local residents.”

He said he believes the ban could increase the ‘ghost town effect’ and be detrimental to local people.

He added: “Tourist towns face a fundamental trade-off. They can restrict second home investors, with possibly positive effects on amenities and affordability.

“But this always comes at the cost of a significant adverse effect on the local economy. Any policy that succeeds in keeping second home investors away will hurt the local economy, mainly the tourism and construction sectors.”

He believes a better option would be a local annual tax on the value of a second home.

He says this could generate revenue for the local authority which could then be used to provide or improve services.

If you must use planning obligations impose one where every week a new build house is not used as a primary residence, including short term lets, impose a 5,000 pound charge and use the fines to build affordable housing, that would do it.

CPRE Oxfordshire Says Oxfordshire 2050 a ‘have it all tick box exercise’, ‘silent on the tough choices’ I agree

For once I agree. I have previous ciriticised this here and on twitter as ‘all must have prizes’ planning designed to avoid triggering anyone (which of course produces entitled cry babies).

Oxford Mail

Countryside charity CPRE have attacked the public consultation on the Oxfordshire Plan 2050 as “an unrealistic, ‘have it all’ tick box exercise”.

The plan will guide the development of Oxfordshire for the next 30 years.

The next stage in its formation is to ask residents to consider policies on climate change, improving environmental quality, creating strong and healthy communities, plans for sustainable travel and connectivity and creating jobs and providing homes.

A public consultation on the plans, which is one of the commitments made by all six Oxfordshire authorities as part of the £215m Housing and Growth Deal, opens on Friday July 30 for 10 weeks.

CPRE Oxfordshire said while it was supportive of the Oxfordshire 2050 Plan in principle, it was concerned that the consultation document was not ‘fit for purpose’.

Helen Marshall, director of CPRE Oxfordshire, said: “The Plan document does not attempt to address what level of growth is consistent with protecting our environment and rural character.

“It talks about ‘good growth’ but makes no clear assessment of the different impacts of the three options (the lowest of which is still 50 per cent above actual need) or the five spatial options outlined.

“It is not only silent on the tough choices that will be needed between meeting targets for carbon and nature and the push for economic growth but implies that we can effectively have it all.”

She said it will let the Arc dominate.

“As the Oxfordshire 2050 documents euphemistically put it, that will ‘be an increasingly important influence’.

And it will undermine the role of our local councillors as “we are presented with a wide range of policies (albeit many very desirable) which are to be imposed on all our local councils because otherwise ‘different approaches might be taken and this could result in less certainty and clarity for developers’.”

Ms Marshall said there should be a revised consultation document, “or at the very least an additional paper, that sets out the preferred growth and spatial options and provides adequate information to allow the impacts, risks and benefits to be compared.” [cough cough as statutorily required by the SEA regulations – why is this so hard]

“Environmental constraints must be a key consideration,” she said. “We need a plan that assesses the growth the county can bear within the constraints of maintaining its rural character and environment.

“A plan to ensure we don’t lose this character whatever Government seeks to impose.”

By the way of course the best way of maintainig rural character is concentrating development into large Garden Citties so 90% of the County remains rural. The worst way is developing so little that all the roads into Oxford and Science Vale become congested and polluted by people driving into work.