Mevagissey will be the latest Cornish village to ban the sale of new build homes to second-homers.
The favourite destination of many holidaymakers, the south coast fishing port follows St. Ives and St.Mawes who have already started the process. Today, officials signed off the idea in the draft Neighbourhood Plan
The plan “Supports the community by ensuring that new houses are lived in permanently, thus supporting the services, facilities and businesses in the town”
It aims to “ensure that the people buying property in the town will live there and not simply leave the property empty, and ensures that the types of property being developed are created for people to live in, not as holiday homes”.
As many more Neighbourhood Plans are yet to be drawn up, Mevagissey is not expected to be the last place to implement the ban. The cute cottages will still be there to snap up with one’s bonus, it’s the new builds that will be off limits to holiday lets and second home ownership.
The permanent population of Mevagissey has fallen over the last 200 years but since 1930, the buildings in the village have more than doubled. This can be accounted for by lower densities of family occupation, but more significantly to a demand for second homes and as a retirement destination.
Rolling hills turn into cliffs at the coast. Deep valleys fall into the sea at Mevagissey and the adjoining village of Portmellon. The whole area is one of outstanding natural beauty (AONB).
26% of the homes in ‘Meva’ are holiday homes and another 12% are listed buildings As a consequence, local house prices are beyond the reach of many local people and the Parish Council has built a number of affordable homes over the last decade to tackle this problem.
James Mustoe, Conservative Cornwall Councillor for Meva told us today
“In Cornwall we sadly are suffering from the erosion of our coastal and rural communities by what can be seen as an unstoppable onslaught of second-home owners.”
“It is good that the Government has given communities the opportunity to have their say in where and how future development takes place in the places where they live.”
“Cornwall had become, to many ‘a developers paradise’. The welcome but long-delayed implementation of the Cornwall Plan has finally seen us begin to fight back and win cases with the Planning Inspector, where previously far too often they were failing.”
“On a local level Neighbourhood plans accomplish a similar objective and I am delighted to have worked with the Mevagissey Neighbourhood Plan group over the course of several years to bring the parish’s plan forward to where it is now in the final stages of being signed off by Cornwall Council before going back to the people of the Parish for a referendum on adoption.”
“My sincerest thanks to the hardworking volunteers of the group who have spent countless hours putting such a well thought out and professional document together.”
“In common with St Ives and other plans that are following similar lines, the Mevagissey Neighbourhood Plan seeks to preserve the living and vibrant nature of our community by restricting new builds to permanent occupiers only.”
“This is not about penalising second home owners, who contribute a great deal to our economy, but about restoring the balance to the playing field for local people. At least a quarter of the houses in Mevagissey are second homes. The average house price is £299,587 which is about 20 times the typical local salary of £15,458. Many youngsters, myself included, who have been priced out of the communities where we grow up.”
“Stepping away from economics, this is about safeguarding and preserving our community and something I welcome. I am glad that we are taking positive and proactive steps to redress the balance.”
“I look forward to Cornwall Council signing off the Neighbourhood Plan and it going for the vote in Mevagissey. If the result is anything like in St Ives, where 83% of those who voted voted in favour – this could be a game changer for Meva!”
The Neighbourhood Development Plan seeks to “conserve the unspoiled nature of this iconic Cornish parish, whilst satisfying the local housing need and sustaining the community for residents and visitors alike”
The Plan is for the period 2017 – 2032 and is accordance with the Cornwall wide ‘Local Plan’ which sets a 52,000 new build target for the same period.
Meva’s plan also seeks to support the village’s remaining fishing industry, enhance the AONB and will prioritise the development of brown field sites suitable for re-development.
The Plan’s rather dry language herald’s another moment in Cornwall’s fightback against second-home ownership – but hits the nail on the head:
“The overall strategy for the Mevagissey Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP) prioritises new housing to meet social need and re-defines the concept of affordable housing to reflect the relative disparity between local income and the rise in house prices driven by second home owners. The strategy also addresses the desirability of restricting open market housing to permanent residents thereby supporting the services and facilities in the village and limiting any further expansion in second homes and holiday lets”
The Plan now goes to consultation phase, then final approval by Cornwall Council, then a referendum of residents.
(feature photo: Mevagissey Harbour, South Cornwall, C Belinda Peckett)
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