One in four homes in St. Ives are second homes. When locals were given the option to put an end to new-build second homes, 80% of voters agreed that enough was enough. An end to new houses for seasonal residences, St. Ives has spoken.
An architectural firm challenged the council’s decision to allow a referendum on whether it was compatible with human rights legislation, The High Court disagreed.
The argument made against the outcome of the vote was that tourism and construction would suffer. Tony Mason from the St Ives Tourism Association disagrees, claiming it will be construction companies outside Cornwall that will suffer as houses will still be built, just ones that don’t command the premium prices as they have done before. In short – houses built by locals for locals.
‘’It will have either no effect or a negligible impact on our tourist trade because there are no remaining potential development areas in the prime tourist areas above/near the beaches or the town centre, as it has all been done,’’ Mason said.
Is Cornwall’s whiplash against second home ownership another prime example of an almost traditional Celtic defiance felt in the county?
Amongst the coastal walks stretching from St. Just to Lands End ramblers will cross a sign in bold red letters declaring ‘’ENGLISH OUT.’’ There are pockets of rebellion in the duchy, and the rebellious nature of the Celtic people populating Britain’s most south westerly peninsula may be rising again.
In November, members of Mebyon Kernow and Gorsedh Kernow felt that Cornwall’s borders were in threat when the government suggested Cornwall may have to share an MP with Devon. The result, protests were held at the border with Launceston with men and women draped in black and yellow, waving St.Pirans flags in the air.
In May Kelly’s ice cream, a local Cornish company, produced an advert entirely in the Cornish language. Cornish sports stars such as Jack Knowels have long been known to wrap themselves in the flag of the duchy rather than the Union Jack or St. Georges Cross. Pride and patriotism runs strong south of the Tamar.
‘’We also know that a number of other local communities, both in Cornwall and across the rest of the country, are also interested in including similar policies in their own neighbourhood plans and have been watching this case with interest,’’ said Edwina Hannaford, Cornwall Council’s cabinet member for planning.
St. Ives is not alone in wanting to break the trend of holiday homes consuming local communities. Fowey and Mevagissey also look to be following suit; around a quarter of homes in Mevagissey are holiday homes and a third in Fowey.
Young Cornishmen and Women are being forced to leave the seaside towns and villages they call home. The average house price in Mevagissey is £253,988, the average annual wage in Cornwall is £14,300 and in comparison the average wage in the rest of the UK is £23,300.
While sat on a beach, taking in the scenery that attracts millions each year, its easy to forget you are sitting in not only one of the poorest regions in the UK but also in Europe. Cornwall followed its rebellious streak by declaring for Brexit, but uncertainty now arises as the prospect of EU funding been withdrawn starts to dawn.
The upholding of the ban is a victory for the people of St. Ives and a victory for many other communities across the peninsula, a step forward towards giving the people back their birth right, to make a home at home.