Blackpool crackdown on Airbnbs after figures reveal 500 exchanges at resort

Blackpool officials plan to crack down on Airbnbs after figures showed more than 500 of the companies are trading in the seaside town.

A survey by councilors recommends that planning enforcement powers be used more widely to control the spread of such short-term rentals. Many operate in residential areas without planning permission, with the council facing a growing number of complaints.

These include noise pollution and anti-social behavior due to holidaymakers staying in residential areas, lack of fire safety measures and uncollected rubbish. There are also concerns that operators are not paying the correct business rates or council tax, and that properties are poorly insured or mortgaged in relation to their use as holiday accommodation.

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A careful review by members of the council’s tourism, economy and communities committee made three recommendations.

‘The council was missing around £250,000 in revenue due to operators failing to apply for planning permission’

Councilor Fred Jackson, who chaired the inquiry, said in a report: ‘The problem of short-term rentals is one that has grown in Blackpool in recent years and has created significant concern for people and businesses local. As a review committee, we have sought to understand the scale and scope of the problem within Blackpool and to understand the impact of short term rentals on our residents.

While hoteliers in the resort must adhere to strict regulations, including some paid licenses, airbnbs are unregulated and the lack of fire safety measures is considered by the report to be “seriously concerning”.

Residential properties must have planning permission to allow a change of use, but most operate without approval.

The recommendations of the review report are

  • Approve the use of Planning Enforcement Notices to address the problem of short-term rentals being operated as holiday accommodation in residential areas without the proper planning permission.
  • That Council explore the maximum use of its available powers to deal with the growth of airbnbs in Blackpool.
  • That additional resources be identified to ensure that enforcement action can be taken as needed.

Councilor Gerard Walsh told a meeting of the oversight committee that there were now around 500 airbnbs in operation in Blackpool.

He said the council was missing around £250,000 in revenue due to operators failing to apply for planning permission.

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