Providing permanently affordable housing
A quarter of houses in the St Ives area are holiday properties, remaining empty for large parts of the year. This is higher than the 21% ‘tipping point’ level of holiday development above which, research shows, negative socio-economic effects are created, such as under-population of the town in the low season and social isolation, especially of the elderly.
In St Ives, house prices are higher than the national average but tourist/service sector jobs pay wages more than £8000 pa below the national average. Many residents felt that unfettered development was not meeting the needs of the local community, by failing to deliver permanently affordable homes for local people.
The neighbourhood plan consultations uncovered many stories of the people who live and work here - local families unable to find an affordable, suitable homes; adult children living with parents despite having good jobs; employees having to travel long distances to work; rental properties only available out of season or for short lets, and local people eventually giving up and moving away.
The Old Vicarage Flats development presents the first opportunity for St Ives as a community to really begin to deliver on its housing objectives..