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Highland councillors call for AirBnB to need planning permission

Councillors said the "over-provision" of short-term lets has affected the local housing market. Sandy McCook/DCT Media
Councillors said the "over-provision" of short-term lets has affected the local housing market. Sandy McCook/DCT Media

Highland Council could use the planning system to control the number of homes being turned into AirBnB in a part of the Cairngorms National Park.

The proposed plans come amid concerns that the “massive increase” in short-term lets in Badenoch and Strathspey has “severely affected” the local housing market.

The local authority’s convener Bill Lobban fears that the “over-provision” of holiday lets has made it difficult for people living and working in the area to find homes.

Mr Lobban and other local councillors have now called for the introduction of a short-term let control area in Badenoch and Strathspey to improve the situation.

Under a draft proposal, which is to be reviewed at today’s Highland Council meeting, a change of use of a property to a holiday let would require a planning permission.

Councillor Bill Lobban. Photo: Sandy McCook/DCT Media

This type of consent is currently not a requirement and the plan would need to be approved by the Scottish Government before going ahead.

Speaking to BBC Radio Scotland, Mr Lobban said: “We have a big problem in Badenoch and Strathspey due to the lack of housing.

“Many things that used to be permanent dwellings are turning into holiday lets, and that affects the housing market quite severely.”

Although he highlighted the importance of tourism in the Highlands, Mr Lobban added that a shortage of housing was a factor behind business in the area struggling to find staff.

He also said it was likely there were similar problems in other parts of the Highlands.

Councillors are expected to vote on the draft proposal this afternoon.

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