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UK Government Planning Consultation

The UK Government is currently consulting on proposed changes to planning legislation.

In short, they propose to introduce a new use class for short-term lets. It is noteworthy that there is no intention to apply the new policy retrospectively.

The UK Government intends to introduce this alongside a registration scheme for short-term lets. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) are “working closely together to ensure that different measures being considered across government that apply to the short term lets sector are proportionate, complementary and easy to understand.

The UK Government proposes the following definition for the use class under the description “C5 Short Term Let”:

Use of a dwellinghouse that is not a sole or main residence for temporary sleeping accommodation for the purpose of holiday, leisure, recreation, business or other travel.

The new use class order would allow local planning authorities to consider planning applications for new build short-term lets and grant permission conditioned to the new class where appropriate.

When the use class comes into effect existing properties would fall into the short-term let use class (C5) where they met the definition or remain as C3 dwellinghouse. Any re-classification is not considered development and so property owners should not need to apply for planning permission where they meet the definition of short-term let. They would be classified as such and would not require planning permission.

It is proposed that the General Permitted Development Order could be amended to introduce permitted development rights to allow:

  1. The change of use from a C3 dwellinghouse to a C5 short term let.This would allow for continued flexibility to use a property as a home or short term let where there is no local issue
  2. The change of use from a C5 short term let to a C3 dwellinghouse.This would allow short term let properties to be made available to rent or to buy without the need for a planning application for the change of use.

Where there is evidence of a local issue, the permitted development right for the change of use to a short-term let (a) may be removed by making an Article 4 direction in line with national policy. This should apply to the smallest geographical area possible and could therefore be focussed on those areas or streets that see the highest numbers of short term lets, or individual properties.

Local planning authorities and neighbourhood planning groups would in future be able to set out relevant policies in their local or neighbourhood plan the circumstances where they would support, or not, new short-term lets as defined by the new class that would achieve the appropriate balance for their area. Any future planning applications for new build short-term lets, or for the change of use to a short-term let where the permitted development rights have been removed, would be determined in accordance with the development plan and other material considerations.

The ASSC contends that this approach is reasonable, rational and justifiable, whilst protecting existing legitimate businesses. An inconsistent approach in Scotland would render our businesses at a disadvantage compared to our nearest neighbours.


[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/introduction-of-a-use-class-for-short-term-lets-and-associated-permitted-development-rights/introduction-of-a-use-class-for-short-term-lets-and-associated-permitted-development-rights

[2] https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/consultation-on-a-registration-scheme-for-short-term-lets-in-england

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