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City of Edinburgh Council Debate Motion on Short-Term Let Regulations

Yesterday (14th December), City of Edinburgh Councillors voted to approve the following composite motion by Cllr Dalgleish on the subject of Regulating Short Term Lets:


1) Notes the decision of the Planning Committee on 23 February 2022 to designate the whole of the City of Edinburgh as a short term let (STL) control area, and the decision of 19 April 2023 to amend non-statutory guidance on STLs.

2) Notes that both committee decisions were unanimous, reflecting the strong cross-party consensus on the need to control the numbers of STLs in Edinburgh.

3) Notes the STL (Planning) Judicial Review issued by Lord Braid on Friday 1 December 2023, further notes the briefing note circulated to members on 6 December, and that the Council’s Planning service will consider the implications of the ruling in detail, including considering an appeal.

4) Notes Lord Braid’s finding that the Scottish Parliament did not intend that Section 26B of the Town and Country Planning Act 1997 should have retrospective effect by requiring planning permission to be applied for where a secondary STL was in operation prior to the coming into force of the Short Term Lets Control Area; and that the judgement reduces the whole of the amendment to the ‘Guidance for Businesses’ agreed by Planning Committee on 19 April 2023, including several changes which were outside the specific scope of the judicial review.

5) Notes that the judgement could have significant implications for the council’s approach to effective regulation of STLs.

Council therefore:

6) Agrees to reconvene the STL working group as soon as possible to consider the next steps for effective regulation of the STL sector in Edinburgh following the judgement, and on the practical implications of licensing powers in respect of potential breaches of planning control.

7) Requests that a report come to Planning Committee in one cycle (excluding any special Planning Committees) detailing the implications of the Judicial Review and what outcomes this will have on Short Term Let Planning Policy and the assessment of Short Term Let Planning applications, what implication this may have for the Council’s Short Term Let Licensing Scheme, and potential amendments to the ‘Guidance for Businesses’ which comply with the judgement. This report should also be sent to the Regulatory Committee and the Short Term Lets Working Group for information.

8) Agrees that the Leader of the Council should urgently write to the Minister for Local Government Empowerment and Planning to:

  1. a) seek clarity of the position of the Scottish Government on the principle of retrospectively requiring planning permission for STLs within a control area and,
  2. b) call for an emergency Bill to be introduced to the Scottish Parliament to address the legislative deficiencies in Section 26B, and failing that to consider what changes to primary or secondary legislation or other options might be required so Edinburgh Council can continue with its originally intended approach, as agreed cross-party.

Moved by: Councillor James Dalgleish

Seconded by: Councillor Kevin Lang

You can watch the debate here, at agenda item 8.3 and 8.4.

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

“The ASSC welcomes Edinburgh Council taking cognisance of Lord Braid’s judgement as it has profound repercussions for short-term let policy in the capital and elsewhere in Scotland. However, it should not have taken another grassroots legal challenge from local business owners to arrive at this stage. We believe they already possess the necessary tools to fairly and effectively regulate the sector and the ASSC has recently briefed councillors to that effect. The self-catering industry, which contributes so much to the local economy, stands ready to work with Edinburgh Council in a constructive and positive manner as they take forward their next steps.”


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