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Call to Delay Perth & Kinross Planning Control Area

The Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers (ASSC) has written to Perth & Kinross Council to seek a delay to the consultation on the designation of a Short-Term Let Control Area.

Notwithstanding the traditionally busy summer season for small tourism accommodation providers, with businesses operating in a time sensitive environment, we do not believe the Council has provided a reliable and robust evidence base to proceed with taking forward their plans for a Control Area.

For instance:

  • The evidence paper includes a repeated conflation of second homes and self-catering which are two distinct property types. ‘Self-catering and second homes’ was used as “proxy data” and as a “key metric”. When applying this methodology, a figure of 15% of dwellings were deemed to be STLs in Dunkeld and Birnam, when the reality is that just 5.7% of dwellings are self-catering units.
  • There is no information relating to why 10% was chosen as the impact threshold for defining the potential extent of a Control Area. An explanation as to how this was arrived at is vital.
  • Calculations to achieve critical percentages have included empty homes, which is a flawed rationale: the Control Area is designed to limit short-term lets and will have no effect on the number of unoccupied properties, or indeed second homes that are not let commercially, so it is incorrect to include these in critical percentage thresholds.
  • Short-Term Let Licensing is still being implemented, and without the data derived from this scheme, there is no reliable data on the numbers of properties involved. Considering the designation of a PCA is therefore premature.

The requirement to put in place a well-designed and evidence-based scheme is further underlined by developments in other local authorities. City of Edinburgh Council is now subject to a second Judicial Review proceeding, this time on their planning policy, specifically relating to their PCA. Meanwhile, the Highland Council have had to delay and take legal advice in respect of their proposed PCA for Badenoch & Strathspey.

As drafted, the data and evidence-base presented by Perth and Kinross Council is not fit for purpose. This should be revised as a matter of urgency, with the consultation delayed to enable this to occur. Any decisions taken by the Council must rely on accurate and reliable information which at the present time is sadly lacking.

The ASSC therefore recommends that in order to facilitate a fair and well-informed consultation, it is imperative that Perth and Kinross Council undertake a comprehensive exercise in gathering precise and verifiable data, providing stakeholders with the necessary evidence to take forward this consultation.

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