A key decision that may have far-reaching implications for the sale of holiday homes has been delayed by a High Court judge.
At the end of last week a case was heard seeking a judicial review into the running of a referendum back in May in which residents of the Cornish port of St Ives were asked whether they wanted a ban on the sale of new-build properties to holiday home buyers.
The substantial majority of residents who voted agreed to the ban, but a Cornish development company – RLT Built Environment Ltd – challenged the way the vote had been conducted by Cornwall Council on behalf of the St Ives local authority.
Cornwall Council says it operated within the rules, and a court hearing in Bristol was held last week to consider the arguments for a review.
However, the High Court judge reserved judgement in order to review the substantial volume of evidence presented on the day. He is likely to give his view “within weeks.”
The losing side could then take his decision to the Court of Appeal.
Publicity surrounding the ban has worried some estate agents who have reported reduced demand for properties in the port, because the ban is interpreted as suggesting holiday home buyers are not welcome – even though the measure applies strictly to new-build properties and not older cottages and houses.
The wider economic community is also concerned and Carl Lamb of St Ives Business Improvement District has issued a statement saying: “The vote does not mean that St Ives does not welcome all-comers. The town has been voted the number one seaside destination in the UK many times, not only for its charm, beautiful beaches and top quality food, but for its friendliness and welcoming attitude as a community and a town. That will never change, regardless of the decision.”