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Legal Opinion on Planning in Edinburgh (2018)

In 2018, the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers (ASSC) provided written evidence to the Local Government and Communities Committee as part of their consideration of the Scottish Government’s Planning (Scotland) Bill.

The purpose of the supplementary evidence was to update the Committee on a development relating to legal advice obtained by the ASSC on the requirement for planning permission for self-catering properties. This was supplied by the legal firm Brodies LLP in March 2018.

Some of the main points from the legal advice obtained by the ASSC include the statement that

 “..the commercial element (in self-catering use] is broadly similar to a residential property being occupied by a tenant paying rent…The question is therefore whether short stay occupation necessarily has different planning considerations/impacts. Short stay occupation involves people living in the property, just for shorter periods. However, that does not necessarily mean the nature/impacts of the occupation are different.”

The advice goes on to discuss how permanent residents can have different movements depending on a variety of issues, including employment, leisure interests, family circumstances, health. For instance, a family with teenage children might enter and leave the property many times during the day and night. Therefore, the advice maintains that:

“Users of a self-catering property are therefore unlikely to exhibit markedly different characteristics to more permanent residents. Disruptive or anti-social behaviour is just as likely in residential use as self-catering use.”

The advice concludes with the following:

“…reasonable arguments can be made that self-catering use does not involve a material change of use from residential use. That has been the outcome in individual cases decided by appeal reporters/inspectors and upheld by the courts. It is also impliedly supported by the statements in the Scottish Government Circular 4/1998.”

Read the opinion: Legal Opinion

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