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Park Authority lends its support to Short Term Let planning policy

27th January 2023

The Cairngorms National Park Authority has said it welcomes the move by The Highland Council, requiring short term let holiday accommodation in the Badenoch and Strathspey area to apply for planning permission.

At the Park Authority’s Planning Committee meeting this morning (Friday 27 January), members agreed the organisation’s response to the Council’s consultation on a Draft Non-statutory Short-Term Secondary Letting Planning Policy to accompany Short-Term Let Control Areas in Highland.

Scottish Ministers agreed in December last year that The Highland Council could establish a Short-term Let Control Area covering Ward 20 (Badenoch and Strathspey). The success of websites such as Airbnb and has resulted in a big rise in the number of houses and flats being used for temporary holiday accommodation, resulting in fewer homes for full time residents and increasing local house prices.

Once the policy is established, the use of a dwelling house for secondary letting will be considered a ‘material change of use’ which will require planning approval and this will apply throughout the Badenoch and Strathspey area of the Cairngorms National Park.

Gavin Miles, Head of Strategic Planning at the Cairngorms National Park Authority explained: “A Short Term Let Control Area is not a ban on short term lets, instead it will allow planning policies to be used to assess applications which change the use of a dwellinghouse to holiday accommodation and allow communities and individuals the right to make representations through the planning application process.

“There is strong evidence highlighting the real struggle for people who are trying to buy or rent in the local area. The introduction of the requirement for planning permission to turn a dwelling house into a short term holiday let should help to alleviate the problem, along with other policies such as a requirement for 45% affordable housing in new developments in the communities that are under the most pressure, such as Aviemore.”

Planning Committee Convener, Dr Gaener Rodger agreed with the response outlined by planning officers: “From businesses struggling to find staff because there is nowhere for them to live, and higher than average house prices in Badenoch and Strathspey, there needs to be a policy that particularly protects the smaller dwellings and properties that are in high demand by those who want to live in Badenoch and Strathspey.”

Highland Council will consider responses to the consultation before finalising a non-statutory planning policy that would be approved and adopted through Highland Council’s committee structure as the planning authority covering Badenoch and
Strathspey. At that stage, Cairngorms National Park Authority officers will bring a paper to the Planning Committee proposing adoption of the same non-statutory policy within the Badenoch and Strathspey part of the National Park.

To read the planning papers in full, please visit go here.