Tyne & Wear

Voters back new-build second homes ban in Northumberland

Bamburgh Castle Image copyright Google
Image caption The area's "natural beauty" and "isolation" were referred to in the neighbourhood plan

Voters have backed a ban on new-build properties in part of Northumberland becoming second homes or holiday lets.

Communities in Bamburgh, Beadnell and Seahouses voted that new homes should be permanent residences.

More than 90% of those who voted backed the North-Northumberland Coast Neighbourhood Plan, which will be used to help decide planning applications.

Chair of Beadnell Parish Council, Jennifer Hall, said she was "delighted" with the outcome.

She said: "Market forces have taken over in this area over the last 20 to 30 years.

"Before that we had second homes where families owned a home. They came up so many times a year, they got involved, we knew them, they knew us and they knew the neighbours.

"Now we have streets that are up to 100% holiday houses. They're let out through agencies, the tenants change twice a week."

Image copyright Visit Cornwall
Image caption Residents in St Ives, Cornwall, voted to ban new-build second homes in 2016

Under the Localism Act 2011, 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.

In 2016, the High Court ruled St Ives in Cornwall could keep its ban on new-build second homes after a challenge from an architectural firm.

In north Northumberland, voter turnout was 39.5%, with 767 people approving the proposals set out in the neighbourhood plan - which also covers green spaces, new cycle paths and community facilities.

Buying agent Henry Pryor, who buys and sells homes for wealthy clients, including many second homes, said "local democracy has won out".

He said: "The people who are most dramatically impacted are those trying to get on to the lower rungs of the housing ladder, either to buy or to rent a home, and to stay local to where they've been born and brought up.

"If this helps to rebalance the tenure of home ownership then that's probably not a bad thing."

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