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Badenoch & Strathspey Designated as Planning Control Area

At yesterday’s (Thursday 4 May 2023) Economy and Infrastructure Committee meeting of The Highland Council, Members agreed to the commencement of the Badenoch and Strathspey (Ward 20) Short-Term Let Control Area (STLCA) and a formally established date of the 18 June 2023.

The Highland Council has issued the following policy statement:

What will be required of Secondary Letting owners operating in a Short-term Let Control Area? 

Schedule 3 of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 (Licensing of Short-term Lets) Order 2022, makes it a mandatory licence condition of a STL Licence that if the property is within a STL Control Area that the property is either: –

  • A) subject to an application for planning permission under the 1997 Act and that application has not yet been determined: or
  • b) have planning permission in force under the 1997 Act

This STL licensing mandatory condition therefore necessitate all existing properties being utilised for Short-term Secondary Letting which fall within a Short-term Let Control Area to obtain planning permission to continue to operate, even if that property has been operating as a short-term secondary letting prior to the Control Area being established.

We believe that this interpretation of the Licensing Order is incorrect and we have sought legal opinion on the matter. We will update once we know more.

Fiona Campbell, Chief Executive Officer of the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers, said:

“Short-term lets have been a mainstay of Badenoch and Strathspey’s tourism market for decades, providing a popular alternative to more traditional offerings like hotels. However, this position is now jeopardised due to the cumulative impact of ill-thought-out regulations.”

“This includes a new short-term let control area, which comes fresh on the back of an onerous licensing scheme. Consequently, we are likely to see a severe reduction in the number of holiday let businesses available in the highlands as a result.”

“This will reduce consumer choice at a time when household budgets are squeezed, meaning that many will simply holiday elsewhere if they feel priced out of the area.”

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