St Ives referendum: Second homes ban decision delayed

St Ives Image copyright Visit Cornwall
Image caption The referendum was held after the number of second homes in St Ives topped 25% of the total housing stock

A decision on whether a Cornish seaside town will keep its ban on new-build second homes has been delayed.

In May more than 80% of residents in St Ives voted to reserve new homes for full-time residents.

A Penzance architectural firm challenged Cornwall Council's decision to allow the referendum to go ahead.

A High Court judge has reserved judgement on whether there should be a judicial review into the vote while he considers evidence from both sides.

It is hoped there will be a ruling from Mr Justice Hickinbottom within weeks after the day-long hearing at Bristol Civil Justice Centre.

Either side could then take his decision to the Court of Appeal.

The vote was part of a wider housing plan for the town.

Under the government's 2011 Localism Act if more than 50% of voters support a neighbourhood plan it carries "real legal weight" and the local planning authority must bring it into force.

But RLT Built Environment Ltd says the policy is an attack on the town's two main industries - tourism and construction.

Cornwall Council, which oversaw the referendum for St Ives Town Council, said it was confident the correct process had been followed.

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