The establishment of a short-term let control area in the Badenoch and Strathspey ward of The Highland Council took a step closer today (Thursday 14 December 2023) with members agreeing the non-statutory Short-term Let Control Area Planning Policy for use in the determination of applications and the timetable to move forward.
Fiona Campbell, CEO of the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers, said:
“The ASSC does not believe there is a sufficient evidence base to progress with a short-term let control area for Badenoch and Strathspey. Targeting legitimate small businesses as a means of addressing longstanding housing issues – especially when there are a larger number of vacant properties, long-term empty properties, and second homes – is completely wrongheaded and shows a muddled sense of priorities.
The local economy relies on tourism and self-catering is an integral component of the visitor accommodation mix. Regulating these properties out of the market won’t lead to a flood of affordable homes in the area and anyone suggesting so is raising false hopes.
We acknowledge the reconsidered position of The Highland Council not to apply planning policy retrospectively in terms of existing short-term let properties. Lord Braid’s recent judgement on the Edinburgh Judicial Review is clearly having an impact on local authority thinking and we welcome moves to take cognisance of this in the Highlands and elsewhere. However, there are 215 planning applications in the pipeline and many will therefore have applied unnecessarily. It remains to be seen if operators will be rightly compensated for the costs involved.”