This is a typical case where the Neighbourhood Planning impetus has created unintended effects. In this case a developer is challenging the plan which contains a policy that supposedly makes it difficult to sell new homes to people outside the local area.
The policy states: H2 Principal Residence Requirement Due to the impact upon the local housing market of the continued uncontrolled growth of dwellings used for holiday accommodation (as second or holiday homes) new open market housing, excluding replacement dwellings, will only be supported where there is a restriction to ensure its occupancy as a Principal Residence. Sufficient guarantee must be provided of such occupancy restriction through the imposition of a planning condition or legal agreement. New unrestricted second homes will not be supported at any time. Principal Residences are defined as those occupied as the residents’ sole or main residence, where the residents spend the majority of their time when not working away from home. The condition or obligation on new open market homes will require that they are occupied only as the primary (principal) residence of those persons entitled to occupy them. Occupiers of homes with a Principal Residence condition will be required to keep proof that they are meeting the obligation or condition, and be obliged to provide this proof if/when Cornwall Council requests this information. Proof of Principal Residence is via verifiable evidence which could include, for example (but not limited to) residents being registered on the local electoral register and being registered for and attending local services (such as healthcare, schools etc).
It's interesting to speculate as to whether it is going to be possible to impose such a condition in furtherance of the policy. In summary the tests are: 1. The planning condition must have a planning purpose (but it may have other purposes as well as its planning purpose). 2. The condition must relate to the development which is permitted. 3. The condition must be “reasonable” in the rather special sense of Wednesbury. Of course, when it comes to tenure, we already have planning obligations that restrict this, so perhaps the neighbourhood planners are on firmer ground in that aspect.
One fundamental question is whether there is any reliable basis on which to suppose there are severe land use consequences of a person living in a home are changed by the question of whether they own another home elsewhere! I would be interested to see the evidence for this. It will be interesting to see if the plan survives a legal challenge.
Residents in the picturesque Cornish port of St Ives have overwhelmingly backed plans to restrict second home ownership. In a referendum on a neighbourhood plan put forward by Cornwall council to allow only full-time residents to own new-build properties in St Ives and Carbis Bay, 83% of voters backed the proposals. Under the plan, new-build housing projects would only be given planning permission if they are reserved for people who live in St Ives and surrounding areas full-time.