Fiona Campbell, Chief Executive of the Association of Self-Caterers, said:
“The decision by Scottish Ministers to grant Badenoch and Strathspey a short-term let control area is based on such flimsy, unevidenced grounds.
As the original consultation showed, responses for and against were evenly split. We warned of the unintended consequences of this measure, and the lack of empirical data to support it, and are disappointed that our concerns have been overlooked for an industry that generates over £200m per annum for the Highlands economy.
While hitting council budgets at a time they can least afford it, there is no evidence that this policy will work in addressing housing challenges. Instead of taking a holistic approach – for instance, building more affordable housing or action on empty homes – clamping down on short-term lets is seen as a simplistic cure-all.
This is deeply depressing news after we had welcomed the decision to pause short-term let licensing applications for existing operators. It appears that the Scottish Government give with one hand and take away with the other.”
In a letter to Highland Council, the Scottish Government confirmed the following:
“TOWN AND COUNTRY PLANNING (SCOTLAND) ACT 1997
TOWN AND COUNTRY PLANNING (SHORT-TERM LET CONTROL AREAS) (SCOTLAND) REGULATIONS 2021: REGULATIONS 3 AND 8
PROPOSED WARD 20 (BADENOCH AND STRATHSPEY) SHORT-TERM LET CONTROL AREA
I refer to your email of 11 August 2022 seeking the approval of Scottish Ministers to designate Ward 20 (Badenoch & Strathspey) of Highland Council area as a Short-term Let Control Area under the terms of the above Regulations.
Scottish Ministers’ Decision
Scottish Ministers have carefully considered all the evidence presented to them including the Council’s Statement of Reasons for the designation and the relevant committee and council meeting reports and minutes.
Circular 1/2021: Establishing a Short-term Let Control Area states that in considering a proposal for a control area, Ministers will seek assurance that the planning authority has: a) taken reasonable steps to raise awareness in the proposed control area(s) and
b) taken account of the views expressed in consultation and considered this with any
other relevant evidence; and
c) come to a reasoned decision as set out in the accompanying statement.
Ministers consider that these points have all been satisfied by the planning authority. The planning authority proposes to designate the control area in order to manage high concentrations of short term lets across the ward, ensure homes and land are used to best effect, and control secondary letting of dwelling houses to protect neighbouring residential amenity. Ministers consider that these are valid reasons to propose the designation, and conclude that the proposed designation would be justified and reasonable.
The Town and Country Planning (Short-term Let Control Areas) (Scotland) Regulations 2021i, read with section 26B(3) of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 (“the Act”) set out when a short term let is provided.
A change of use of a dwelling house to a short-term let after the designation of the control area will be deemed to be a material change of use by virtue of section 26B of the Act.
Where the change of a dwelling house to a short-term let took place before the designation of the control area the existing rules will apply. These require planning permission for a change of use of property where that change is a material change in the use of the property.
Following the submission of the Council’s request to Ministers, further correspondence has been received from Shepherd & Wedderburn on behalf of Airbnb. Ministers have taken this correspondence into account in this decision on the proposed designation. The correspondence does not alter Ministers’ view that the proposed designation of the STLCA is justified and reasonable.
Accordingly and on the above basis, Scottish Ministers hereby approve the proposed designation of Highland Council Ward 20 (Badenoch & Strathspey) as a Short-Term Let Control Area.