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Park Authority welcomes Short Term Let proposals

25th February 2022

The Cairngorms National Park Authority says it supports The Highland Council’s plans to introduce a Short Term Let Control Area covering Badenoch and Strathspey, in a bid to help improve the availability of housing for people living and working here.

Responding to The Highland Council’s consultation on the proposals – which closes next week – the board of the CNPA agreed that the move would be a positive addition to the range of tools available to ensure a range of housing options to meet local needs.

The creation of the Short Term Let Control Area means that the use of a dwellinghouse for secondary letting will be considered to be a ‘material change of use’ – which will require planning approval from the relevant local authority – with the public being able to make representations on change of use planning applications in the same way as for other planning applications.

Addressing board members, Gavin Miles, Head of Planning and Place at the CNPA explained: “The requirement for planning permission will only apply to changes of use of dwellinghouses. It will not apply to long-term rentals, Bed & Breakfasts and renting out individual rooms or annexes if the owner or occupier resides in the dwellinghouse. Nor does it apply to homes where no secondary letting is done or accommodation that has been built specifically for holiday purposes, such as pods and holiday chalets. We must also remember that the creation of a Short Term Let Control Area is not a ban on short term letting – it simply means that a dwellinghouse will require to have planning permission for that use.”

There have been significant numbers of short term letting properties within Badenoch and Strathspey for decades, providing visitors with a wide range of holiday accommodation options and providing income for a variety of people from owners to maintenance and cleaning businesses.

CNPA Board Convener Xander McDade said: “One of the underlying reasons for establishing a Short Term Let Control Area in Badenoch and Strathspey is that there is shortage of supply of housing for people working here. The things that limit that supply of housing include high house prices generally through competition from people buying property for short term letting and second homes, reduced numbers of properties available for longer term occupation because of increased tenancy rights, higher standards of building efficiency and safety, higher yields from short term letting, as well as a limited supply of new houses being built that are guaranteed to meet the local need and demand.

“Short term lets are an important part of the holiday accommodation offering across the National Park and are very important to the local economy but I welcome these proposals from The Highland Council to introduce a control area in Badenoch and Strathspey. We know that this is a place which lacks suitable long term, affordable housing for people living and working here.”

Convener of the CNPA Planning Committee, Gaener Rodger added: “I welcome these proposals and I agree that this approach will be another helpful tool to manage housing pressures locally. However, it is just one measure available to help tackle the issue. If we want to fully support local communities by ensuring that suitable housing is available, we must not assume that a Short Term Let Control Area is a panacea – investment is still required in new affordable and mid market housing that remains so in perpetuity. There is no single tool that is likely to solve the issue of availability of housing for people living or working in the National Park, but used together, there is the potential to make a significant improvement.”

If given the go ahead, the CNPA will work with colleagues at The Highland Council on the development of more detailed planning policy to accompany proposals.

The consultation closes on 7 March 2022. To read the CNPA’s response in full please go here