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Edinburgh Council consults on short term let control area plans

Edinburgh City Council has published plans to designate the whole city as a short term let (STL) control area, with a consultation set to begin next month to get feedback on the proposal.

The new powers would mean that all residential properties, which are not an owner’s principal home, being let as STLs in their totality throughout the local authority area would require approval of a ‘change of use’ to a STL from Planning.

Around a third of STLs in Scotland are in Edinburgh, and the Council currently look at cases individually when the requirement of planning permission is disputed, in addition to planning applications made for STLs, which is a very lengthy and time-consuming process.

The introduction of powers to make a control area follows the Council calling for new legislation to tighten up the control of STLs, to help manage high concentrations of secondary letting where it affects the availability of residential housing or the character of the neighbourhood.

It will also help to restrict or prevent STLs in places or types of buildings that are not suitable, as well as making sure homes are used to best effect in their areas.

people walking on pathway near buildings and different vehicles on road under blue and white sky

Cllr Neil Gardiner, planning convener, said: ‘Last year we welcomed that our call for new Scottish Government legislation to control STLs was successful. If the proposals are approved by the Planning Committee, we’ll be in a position where we can push forward and ask our residents, the industry and other interested groups, for their views on making the whole of Edinburgh a STL control area. We’ll be looking carefully at this feedback before the proposal is finalised as the impact of STLs can be felt in communities across Edinburgh.

‘If the Scottish Government approve the whole city as a STL control zone, we’ll be able to manage the number of STLs in the city as properties being let out in these areas would automatically require to have ‘change of use’ planning permission in place. It’s also good news that the Scottish Government is proposing that when people apply for a licence we can ask for evidence that they have that planning permission. This is something we’re very keen to do and our ‘Choices’ consultation responses for our next local development plan – ‘City Plan 2030’ – showed overwhelming support for control zones.

‘Combined with the proposed licensing regime due to be introduced next year, if approved, this step forward is in direct response to our hard work in pushing for the powers we know we need to deliver for our communities city-wide.’

If a home has been changed to secondary letting and continually operated as a STL for more than 10 years before the control area is introduced, and no enforcement action has been taken in that time, planning permission is not required.

The new plans would also still allow homeowners in Edinburgh to rent out rooms in their houses or let their property while on holiday.

In related news, Brighton proposes considering health impact in planning applications.

Photo by Alana Harris

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