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25/01/2021

Scottish Government proposals for short-term lets dependent on funding for planning departments

Words: Laura Edgar
AirBnb / Shutterstock_474258127

RTPI Scotland has cautiously welcomed the Scottish Government proposals for short-term lets such as those by Airbnb, including mandatory licensing to ensure that they are safe and to address issues faced by neighbours.

It is also proposed that councils should be empowered to manage any pressures created by the use of whole properties as short-term lets.

But RTPI Scotland, responding to the Scottish Parliament’s call for views on the proposed regulations, warned that their success was dependent on new funding so that planning departments were able to implement them.

“There is a need to recognise the cumulative impact of the resource implications of introducing these new provisions, alongside other costs expected from implementing new duties of the Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 and taking account of the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and the overall financial context of diminishing resources in councils, both in terms of staff levels and fee income streams," states the submission.

Barbara Cummins, convener of RTPI Scotland, said: “Like many countries, the issue of short-term lets in Scotland can often be difficult to manage given often divided opinions on their impacts on local communities and their contribution to expanding the tourist economy.

“Planners have been at the forefront of this issue for some time now and the new regulations should provide a better framework to allow them to take this forward in a balanced way. The regulations clearly have been thoroughly researched and have undergone extensive consultation.

“However, we are concerned that the new proposals will place a significant burden on planning departments. There is a need to recognise the cumulative impact of the resource implications which comes on top of other costs expected from implementing new duties of the recent planning act.”

In its submission, the institute also said it is important that the regulations offer uniformity across Scotland while retaining the ability for councils to apply local flexibility.

Read RTPI Scotland's submission on the institute's website.

Image credit | Shutterstock

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