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Consultation: Short-term Let Planning Guidance for Edinburgh

The ASSC welcomes the opportunity to respond to City of Edinburgh Council’s consultation on short-term let planning guidance. As the main trade association for the self-catering sector in Scotland, the ASSC hopes that our expertise and insight can help inform the approach taken by the Council.

The consultation closes on 22nd December.

We have always strived to work collaboratively and proactively with both local and national government stakeholders to ensure a balanced and proportionate outcome for all. We wish to make clear that the ASSC is not averse to regulation; but we do challenge policies that are pursued while lacking a firm evidence base which will damage the livelihoods of our members.

It is with considerable regret that there is once again a presumption of bad practice attributed to the short-term letting sector by City of Edinburgh Council. The proposed planning policy is unfair, disproportionate and discriminatory, setting criteria that amounts to a de-facto ban on short-term letting despite all assurances to the contrary. By identifying only a small number of limited circumstances where short-term lets are to be permitted, for example those with a main door in an area that is “commercial” in character, this will mean that the vast majority of short-term lets will be refused, leading to an exodus of small tourist accommodation businesses, severely impacting the local economy which depends on tourism.

Overall, the ASSC believes that the proposed planning policy should be rejected on the following grounds:

  • It is disproportionate in nature, lacks coherence and balance, and relies on assertions and anecdotes rather than a firm evidence base;
  • It will harm Edinburgh’s tourism related economy at a time when it should be supported to recover, and will all but remove a key source of accommodation that is imperative to the viability of the Festivals; and
  • It fails to properly consider the economic impact of the draft policy which will cost jobs and livelihoods in a sector that provides a £70m annual boost to the city.[1]

It is our recommendation that within a Short-term Let Control Area, planning permission should be granted:

  1. Where extensive refurbishment of a long-term empty dwellinghouse is proposed to bring the building back into active use.
  2. The proposal is for the upper floor(s) above a commercial unit.
  3. It is an established short-term secondary let property in a long-established dwellinghouse.

‘Established short-term secondary let property’ means:

A dwellinghouse that has been trading as a short-term secondary let property before the first date of the first approval at a Council Committee meeting proposing the establishment of a short-term let Control Area.

Read the ASSC’s submission: ECC STL Planning Guidance consultation response 12.12.22

[1] ASSC, Economic Impact of the Self-Catering Sector to the Scottish Economy (2021). Url: https://www.assc.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Economic-Impact-Study%E2%80%93Scotland.pdf

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