Should councils be allowed to ban second homes?
St Ives' council is considering a ban on second homes in the Cornish coastal town to combat a lack of affordable housing for local people. A referendum next April will ask the 11,400 residents of St Ives to agree to a ban on building any housing other than "principal homes".
25% of property in St Ives is a second home, and a local estate agent said 70% of houses on the market were now aimed at second home buyers. Three bedroom houses in the town can be priced at £500,000 despite the average wage in Cornwall being estimated as £14,300 per annum.
Once a fishing town later known for its artists and craftsmen, St Ives now relies on the tourist industry, and many of its old fishing cottages are now empty out of season. 187,000 tourists visit each year, fuelling the local economy.
Speaking to the Guardian, local shop owner Colin Nicholls said, “[The ban] is a terrible idea. This is one of the most popular towns in the world. Look how busy we are on a day in November. Go to another seaside town and it’ll be empty.”
A Cornish local told Countryfile.com that this is not a new problem. "This has been happening for years. It's true that tourism is St Ives' only real industry these days but it's terrible that it is driving away locals and the craftsmanship that this place was built on. Locals stay away from town between May and September because it's full to breaking point. Something needs to change, so broadly I do support the idea of banning second homes."
Have your say: should councils be allowed to ban second homes?