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The High Court has upheld the result of a referendum in a second-home  hotspot, raising the possibility that such a ban will be introduced in other tourist locations.

The town of St Ives in Cornwall, where it is believed 1 in 4 properties is a second-home or holiday-let, held a referendum back in May, in which 83% of voters voted for a ban on the sale of new-build properties to holiday-home buyers.

The legality of the referendum was challenged, but has now been upheld, and councils across the country are reportedly now looking into similar bans for their own towns which have high proportion of holiday homes and lets.

Agents in St Ives have reported a lower demand for properties there, with buyers seeing the ban as a ban on all properties, not just new-builds, and as an indication that holiday-makers are not welcome in the port.

This has raised further debate in the town which relies so heavily on tourism year-round for its economy.

Chris Hounsome, direct or Mansell McTaggart Crawley said “whether such a ban would be introduced in the prettier parts of Sussex and Surrey or whether it is even under consideration, remains to be seen, but any towns thinking of this would do well to consider the full implications and watch the effect on St Ives closely”.


New research suggest that people downsizing their property have unrealistic expectations

New research from equity release firm Key Partnerships says that people downsizing – selling a larger property to move into a smaller one – have unrealistic expectations about the amount of money they will release as a result.

Perhaps surprisingly, the research goes on to suggest this is not because people are over-estimating the value of their current home, but are under-estimating how much they will have to pay for the smaller new home.

This, the report says, is because of a lack of supply of such homes, forcing up the prices of the properties to which they downsize.

Click here to read the full report.


Reduced access to finance is the main barrier to home ownership, says a report published recently

The first major review into home ownership in over a decade reveals that the financial squeeze on young people is at the heart of the decline in the number of home owners and calls for a long-term, cross-party approach to housing issues.

The long-awaited Redfern Report is slightly at odds with government policy, which seems to favour increasing the supply of property, rather than access to the finance to buy it.

The study found that that 

home ownership is the preferred choice of tenure for 80% of people

declines in home ownership have been steepest among young people – over 20% in 12 years

the two biggest drivers of the fall in home ownership since the financial crisis in 2008 have been the marked relative fall in incomes of would-be first time buyers and their access to mortgage finance.

The report goes on to recommend that solutions need to be consistent and long-term, requiring “open, constructive cross-party dialogue”. It proposes the establishment of an independent housing commission that can “own this strategy and take a non-partisan approach to long term housing decisions”.

The Redfern Review was led by Peter Redfern, chief executive of housebuilder Taylor Wimpey who went on to say that “as long as conditions remain broadly the same, we expect the rate of decline in home ownership to stabilise in the near term, giving a sound basis for future, sustainable improvement”.

Click here to read the full report.


Q. We have a property that is likely to be unoccupied over the winter. Are there any precautions that we should take?

A. With an empty property over the winter, one of the main concerns must be to ensure that the property is properly protected against the danger of burst pipes. By far the safest way to deal with this is to have both water and central heating systems fully drained down. This does mean that the property will feel cold, damp and uninviting, but that’s a small price to pay for the security of knowing that you’re not going to face a repair bill for perhaps tens of thousands of pounds.

Sadly, the other main concern you need to address is the risk of vandalism – or at least, unauthorised entry. Obviously, a properly functioning alarm system can work wonders in helping to deter intruders, and asking a neighbour to keep an eye on the place is also advisable. However, an empty house is easily spotted, so it’s a good idea to keep a couple of lamps, and even a radio, on timer switches, to give at least the casual observer the impression that someone’s at home. And if your neighbour can be prevailed upon to park a car in the driveway occasionally, then so much the better.

You should try to visit the property regularly, or arrange for someone else to do so. Again, this will help create the impression that the place is occupied. Also if anything has gone wrong, or any damage - accidental or otherwise - has occurred, it can be spotted and rectified before its expense escalates. Besides, it’s important that the property should look cared for. Few things are more likely to attract the unwelcome attention of vandals and others than a general air of neglect. This is true at any time of year, of course, but particularly so during the winter months. So, things like keeping the front garden neat and tidy, the windows clean and the hallway free of accumulated junk mail, are all worth doing.

Finally, bear in mind that many insurance companies will only cover empty properties for a limited period of time – often as little as one month. So, check!


More baking brilliance from friend of a friend: a great recipe which little ones can enjoy making too.

These little Rudolphs have a little secret, they're actually upside down gingerbread men!


Pre-heat the oven to 180°C, gas 4 

You will also need two baking sheets, with non-stick liners, and a gingerbread man cutter; I use one approximately 2/3in.


  • 75g light brown soft sugar
  • 2 tablespoons golden syrup
  • 1 tablespoon black treacle 
  • 1 tablespoon water 
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 rounded teaspoon ground ginger
  • pinch of cloves
  • finely grated zest of ½ orange
  • 95g block butter 
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 225g plain flour sifted, plus a little more (if needed)
  • 1 tube of white, red and black writing icing (to decorate)


  1. Put the sugar, syrup, treacle, water, spices and zest together in a large saucepan, then bring them to boiling point, stirring all the time. 
  2. Now remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter (cut into lumps) and the bicarbonate of soda.
  3. Next stir in the flour gradually until you have a smooth manageable dough. Add a little more flour if you think it needs it. 
  4. Now leave the dough covered in a cool place to become firm (approximately 30 minutes).
  5. Now roll the dough out to 3mm thick on a lightly floured surface and cut out the gingerbread men. Arrange them on the baking sheets and bake near the centre of the oven, one sheet at a time, for 10–15 minutes until the biscuits feel firm when lightly pressed with a fingertip.
  6. Leave them to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire cooling rack.
  7. To decorate, turn them on their heads, the legs become the antlers, the arms the ears and the head his big red nose, with the eyes on what was the tummy! 
  8. I like to give them all their own little characters, making them all a little individual as after the antlers, ears, eyes and nose the rest is up to you!

Store in an airtight container. If giving them as a gift pop a few in a polythene bag with a fancy bow and they'll make everyone smile.

Hope you enjoy this recipe. Happy Christmas.

Emily Doyle
Paper Doyleys
078 555 40 444

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