Scottish ministers give green light for short-term rental control area in Badenoch and Strathspey

Badenoch and Strathspey will only become the second part of Scotland to have a control zone for short-term rentals.

Scottish ministers have approved the move which will cover the whole of the strath and require STL operators to apply for planning for a change of use in order to continue their rental business or start a new one.

A similar control area was approved for Edinburgh in the autumn.

The government said that in approving the strath it took into account the views of Airbnb which responded to the public consultation.

Jane Shepherd: The planner has been advising businesses on short-term licensing for months.

Local councilors in the Highlands were behind the decision because of the affordable housing crisis in the strath, but tourism officials have claimed the new rules will do little to solve the housing shortage for locals and hit the local economy.

The local authority presented its policy proposal last week on how the STL control area will be implemented.

Holyrood Planning, Architecture and Regeneration Division has now confirmed in writing to council that the move has been approved.

The officials say: ‘Scottish ministers have carefully considered all the evidence presented to them, including the council’s statement of reasons for the appointment and the reports and minutes of the relevant committee and council meetings.’

The ministers considered that the conditions required to give the green light had all been met by the local authority.

Officials say: “The planning authority proposes to designate the control area to manage the high concentrations of short-term rentals in the area, to ensure homes and land are put to best use and to control the secondary rental of dwelling houses to protect neighboring residential amenities.

“Ministers consider these to be valid reasons for proposing the designation and conclude that the proposed designation would be justified and reasonable.”

They also revealed: “Following the submission of the Council’s request to Ministers, further correspondence has been received from Shepherd & Wedderburn on behalf of Airbnb.

“Ministers have considered this correspondence in this decision on the proposed designation.

“The correspondence does not alter the Ministers’ view that the proposed designation of the STLCA is warranted and reasonable.”

Prior to designating the short-term rental control area, the board will need to issue a formal notice.

Highland Council is currently setting up a licensing system for short term rentals which is separate from the control area to be created for the whole of the strath.

Jane Shepherd, an award-winning Grantown-based planning consultant who runs TheTownPlanner, has advised local businesses on the matter all year.

She told the Strathy: “It is very important to differentiate between planning and licensing requirements for short-term rentals.

“In addition to having to obtain licenses, this means that landlords will also have to regularize the planning status of their short-term rental properties.

“Once the council has passed the designation, owners of short-term rentals should prepare their applications as soon as possible.”

See Tomorrow’s Strathy for a more local reaction.

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