Can second home ‘ban’ work?

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The St Ives referendum banning new houses from being built as second homes is unlikely to have its desired effect, a leading local specialist has warned.

With St Ives facing a shortage of affordable housing in the town, residents last week overwhelmingly backed a plan to prevent new homes being built in the town to be occupied as second homes.

And the Council has said it will respect the vote when considering future planning applications.

However, Greg Oldrieve, development expert at property consultancy Vickery Holman, said that while the ambition to create more houses for locals was “laudable”, it was unlikely to succeed.

He said: “Irrespective of the proposed policy’s conflict with National Planning Guidance and planning regulations, it is unlikely to work in the market place.

“The house building market is dominated by national house builders, with 50% of all new houses built by eight large companies, who could well defer from building in St Ives at all if the market is to be restricted to them.

“At the same time the on-going demand for second homes will concentrate on the existing stock. This is likely to further inflate prices, especially in an area where new supply is restricted.

“Unless something can be done to facilitate the increased supply of new homes or dampening the demand for second homes, the policy is likely to be counterproductive.”