St Ives referendum – Is this the way forward to stop seaside idylls being ghost towns?

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The idyllic, but seagull-dive-bombed, seaside town of St Ives is holding a referendum, as the BBC reports:

On 5 May, the council will ask residents to vote on a new town plan, which includes a promise to restrict second home ownership.
If the vote is passed, new housing projects will get planning permission only on condition that the homes are reserved for people to live in full-time. Developers will not be allowed to sell the buildings to anyone who has a residence elsewhere.

This has been stimulated by a genuine problem:

Wages are low, many people working seasonal jobs in the tourism industry. Yet housing costs are high, inflated by the huge demand by people who have chosen the county for their second home, to visit or as an investment.

My own view is that there is some merit in the proposal. It’s not just Cornwall where this is a problem. Last April I went to help Nick Harvey canvass in Lynmouth, Devon. In most streets, there were just one or two houses with permanent residents. Lynmouth is basically a ghost town in the off-season. All the locals have disappeared up the hill to Lynton. I could say the same about other seaside towns I know of, such as Fowey in Cornwall. If you want to find the local community, go up the hill to the top. The town down the bottom is like a sort of empty shell, showroom in the winter.


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