Two weeks ago, a Committee at Brighton & Hove City Council met to consider implementing a planning policy with the effect of ensuring new homes would not become second homes. Brighton would be the first city to put in place such restrictions, following other rural and coastal communities who have used planning rules to do so – (in)famously, St Ives in Cornwall, which had been upheld by the High Court.
The proposals have been suggested in light of the increasing affordability of housing in the City and the community benefits of principle residence. According to data, there has been an increase of over 1,000 short-term holiday lets being advertised in the City this year since 2018, bringing the total to 3,118 actively marketed properties. It is considered that, where 20% or more of homes are not primary residences, the community begins to suffer social ‘harm’.
The Council will be undertaking more work to identify ‘hotspots’ where this is a particular issue and causing community harm, as the Council do not consider that a City-wide restriction would be appropriate. Such a restriction would be crystallised in planning policy and imposed through planning condition or section 106 agreement on new planning permissions for residential development. It would not, and could not, apply to existing second homes in the City.
It seems likely that such a policy change will take several months at least, being required to be implemented through a new planning policy which would have its own consultation requirements. Developers should keep an eye on the planning policy changes whilst future holiday home buyers should be mindful of these proposals when undertaking due diligence.