Court case could undo controversial ban on new-build second homes

Court case could undo controversial ban on new-build second homes

A judicial review into the process surrounding the controversial 'second homes referendum' in St Ives means the result could, in theory, be overturned.

Westcountry housing developer RLT Built Environment Limited is seeking permission to judicially review the process surrounding the vote last Thursday, which heavily endorsed the St Ives Neighbourhood Plan.

The plan was a substantial document but included one provision to stop future new-build homes being sold to anyone other than permanent owner-occupiers from St Ives and nearby locations.

More than 83 per cent of voters backed the plan - 3,075 in favour to 616 against; turnout was just over 47 per cent.

Cornwall Council, which presided over the referendum for St Ives town council, says it will "carefully consider the grounds on which the claim for the review" were being made, but insisted it believed it had followed the correct procedures.

One Devon council, covering Lynton and Lynmouth, already has a similar provision - achieved in a lower-key referendum two years ago - while overseas both Singapore and the Australian state of Victoria have signficiantly higher property taxes for overseas buyers.

The St Ives vote does not cover the re-sale of existing property.

It may be some weeks before the judicial review decision is taken; if a review then does take place, it may be near the end of the year before the saga is resolved.

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