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Town votes on ban for new homes being sold as holiday lets

The famous seaside town of Whitby in Yorkshire has voted in a referendum considering a ban on new build properties being sold as second homes.

A non-binding referendum was held in the town yesterday, and followed the news that in a recent development of 20 new homes, 19 were purchased as second properties.

The organisers of the poll - activists who call themselves Whitby Community Network - hope it will raise the issue and press elected officials to act. 


According to council tax data, almost one in five homes in Whitby are not primary properties. 

Local media in Yorkshire report Conservative councillor Phil Trumper as saying: "We're giving planning permission to new developments on the basis that they're going to provide housing stock for the housing need for local people.

"But that's not happening, they're being taken away. For example, a new development recently built, I think out of the 20 new properties built, 19 of them went to holiday lets."

In 2018 in Northumberland, local voters gave 90 per cent backing to a coastal neighbourhood plan, which stated that new-build homes should only be permanent residences. In 2016, a similar poll of residents in St Ives, Cornwall, passed with 83 per cent of the vote, and a ban on the sale of new-builds to second-home buyers was later imposed by the local council.

However, many agents have reported that such measures merely divert interest from second home buyers to existing properties, which rise in price more and become in turn out of reach of many local people.

And a study by the London School of Economics found the ban had harmed the tourism and construction industries, and caused the pool of available housing to shrink - ironically making remaining homes even dearer.


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