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Edinburgh Short Term Letting

We have been alerted to a situation where two short-term let apartments have been closed down by Edinburgh City Council on Change of Use grounds.

Whilst the Edinburgh City Local Development Plan does not address the issue of short term holiday lets directly, policy HOU8 resists changes of use that would have a materially detrimental effect on the living conditions of nearby residents.

In both instances, the Council has stated that without planning permission, the material change 
of use of property from residential to short term commercial leisure apartment breached planning control.

Short-term letting in Scotland’s cities generates significant spend, particularly so in Edinburgh. From an economic development view, short-term letting is recognised by the Council as valuable to the City, and is a sector it supports. Having investigated two perceived problems of short term letting: loss of residential amenity, and party flats, the Council’s own study found that these problems happen far less frequently than anticipated, coming up with a solution to quickly deal with any problems using Antisocial Behaviour Notices (ASBNs) as enforcement.  While we appreciate that both instances identified are planning issues, it does have a knock-on effect to economic development, and is contrary to the Tourism 2020 Strategy.

The ASSC has written to Edinburgh City Council’s Economic Development Department, and sought clarification on where this sits with Edinburgh’s Tourism Strategy ‘Edinburgh 2020’ headline objective “To increase the number of visits to the City by one third”.   The ASSC considers that short-term letting has a significant part to play in achieving this objective.   If apartments are being served planning notices to cease trading, this will present a significant barrier to growth.

We have also raised the issue with VisitScotland and the Scottish Tourism Alliance. We will keep you informed of any developments.

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