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Judicial Review Regarding Planning Permission Requirement for STL’s has been found to be “Unfair” and “Illogical”

An incredible start to the month! The Association of Scotland’s Self Caterers (ASSC) have fought TIRELESSLY on these issues for the past 7 YEARS!

Driving and supporting both Judicial Reviews, the ASSC’s hard work has finally paid off! Along with all of the relentless support from the rest of Edinburgh’s Self-Catering sector, and the Judicial Review team in Edinburgh.

Judgement Summary:

Lord Braid has, this morning, found in favour of Iain Muirhead And Dickins Edinburgh Limited’s Judicial Review Petition regarding City of Edinburgh Council’s Short-Term Let Planning Control Area. It is clear that the Council has got their approach to short-term lets badly wrong.

Lord Braid has found that City of Edinburgh Council’s approach to the requirement for planning permission for STLs is unfair and illogical.  Lord Braid also found that CEC’s application process actively discourages existing users from applying for a licence.  He found that CEC must change its approach in light of his opinion.

The court has declared that S26B (the requirement for all STLs to apply for planning permission within a Planning Control Area) does not apply retrospectively, and so does not affect STL operators where change of use occurred before the designation of the STL area.  This will affect STL operators across the whole of Scotland.

 CEC’s Guidance for Businesses on the planning requirements for STLs in Edinburgh has been reduced.  That means the Council does not have a policy position to inform STL operators and applicants. They will need to amend their policy and guidance.

This will have ramifications for The Highland Council’s proposed Planning Control Area in Badenoch & Strathspey and other proposed Control areas in Perth and Kinross, Fife and elsewhere.

[16]: “It is plain, then, that the Scottish Government’s view is that section 26B does not require planning permission to be applied for, even in a control area, where the change of use took place before the designated date. That view is diametrically opposed to that of the respondent. But which view is correct?” (my emphasis)

[28]: “That is not only unfair, but illogical.”

[31]:     “The nail in the coffin of the [Council’s] fairness argument is that its approach would deprive the operators concerned of any right to obtain compensation…”

[34]:     “I accept that the possibility of a successful challenge under A1P1…”

[36]:     “If the respondent’s view on that changes (as it will need to, in light of this opinion), the respondent will then be obliged to confirm, in each of the petitioners’ scenarios (i) to (iv) that an application for planning permission is not required.”

[37]: “Of course, the petitioners also criticised the wording of the STL application form, to which I have drawn attention in para [8]. I do not agree with the submission made by senior counsel for the respondent that the wording of the application form is designed simply to open a dialogue with applicants for an STL licence as to what the planning permission is, since, as I have pointed out, the form actively discourages anyone from applying who does not have either planning permission (or a CLU) or an application in the pipeline. That does in my view go too far, since it fails to recognise that there will be cases where planning permission is not required.”


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

 The ASSC welcomes this judgment from Lord Braid which not only has profound implications for Edinburgh, but short-term let policy across Scotland.

 “We pay tribute to the perseverance and determination of the two Petitioners, Iain Muirhead and Louise Dickins, who have borne huge personal and financial costs once again. This grassroots action was not undertaken lightly, and they took the courageous decision to bring this action against Edinburgh Council to protect not only their businesses, but also an industry that is critical to both the capital’s economy and the entire tourism sector.

 For years, the industry has in good faith attempted to secure a fair, proportionate, and workable regulatory framework by engaging with local and national government. Regrettably, the appropriate balance wasn’t struck in Edinburgh, and we hope, in light of this judgment, that we can now work constructively and cooperatively with the Council to put matters right. 

“Lord Braid’s judgement has ramifications far beyond Edinburgh.”

Read Full Judicial Review Document


Scotsman https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/parts-of-short-term-lets-crackdown-in-edinburgh-ruled-unlawful-for-second-time-4430495

Insider https://www.insider.co.uk/news/judge-rules-parts-edinburgh-short-31574468

Scottish Housing News https://www.scottishhousingnews.com/articles/cairn-acquires-rannoch-property

Letting Agent Today https://www.lettingagenttoday.co.uk/breaking-news/2023/11/government-slammed-over-clampdown-on-airbnb-and-short-lets?source=newsticker

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