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City of Edinburgh Council Planning Committee

City of Edinburgh Council Planning Committee met on 31st January 2024.

We welcome the agreement made at the meeting that officers will provide a briefing on the matters raised in the ASSC’s letter dated 17th January and provide a report detailing this to the next Planning Committee. We also welcome a commitment to amend planning guidance taking into account the outcome of the two Judicial Reviews. We appreciate a commitment to ensure all voices are heard and debated transparently so that City of Edinburgh Council’s policies are successful for all stakeholders.

Planning convener James Dalgleish defended the request for a report. “I’m not asking for any change of policy. I’m asking for accountability, transparency, openness – that we actually have a proper discussion at committee… Let’s take a pause, we don’t need always to be on our soapbox about this issue, and just take some time to scrutinise and ask questions that we need to ask. About 90 per cent of this, we agree where we’re going on and I don’t want to get too cut up about on that 10 per cent and let that be an issue that divides the council.”

Tory councillor Joanna Mowat said the call for a report on the ASSC proposals was just following best practice.  “Given the history of this, I think this matter has to be considered.”

Liberal Democrat Hal Osler said she was shocked at the attitude of the Greens and the SNP.  “I’m not entirely sure what it is you’re so afraid of this. I’m really quite staggered. We’ve been asked to have a look at something and I don’t understand why that’s such a problem.”

Watch the meeting from 49 minutes.

The ASSC has written to the Leader of City of Edinburgh Council, Cllr Cammy Day, to ask that the consideration of planning and certificate of lawfulness applications are put on hold until the outcome of these discussions. This can be downloaded below.

Fiona Campbell, CEO of the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers, said:

“We welcome the decision for Council officers to provide a briefing on the ASSC’s proposals and to present a report on this to the next Planning Committee. We also welcome the pledge to amend planning guidance to reflect the outcome of the two judicial reviews. 

“The ASSC remains committed to open dialogue with both national and local government in order to establish a fair, legal and proportionate regulatory framework for the self-catering sector. We appreciate any consideration of our proposals, which we believe to be mutually beneficial and would enable us to move forward together, both addressing the need to regulate but also protecting professional businesses who are so vital in supporting the accommodation needs of the city.  

“Until further clarity is provided on the next steps, the ASSC believes it would be prudent for Edinburgh Council to pause processing existing planning and certificate of lawfulness applications until the uncertainty is addressed.

“Without meaningful changes to provide legitimate businesses the assurance they desperately need, the economic and cultural consequences loom large. This includes the continued viability of our world-leading Festivals, the possibility of more lost jobs and livelihoods, as well as the city’s reputation as a place to visit and do business.”

Evening News, Edinburgh short-term lets: Greens accuse Labour of U-turn and softening stance on controls, 01/02/24

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