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Farming leaders welcome short-term lets legislation withdrawal

By Gavin Musgrove

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Rural tourism businesses have welcomed the announcement that legislation for a short-term lets licensing scheme has been withdrawn from the Scottish Parliament to allow for draft guidance to be developed.

The proposals would have introduced a new requirement for licensing of B&Bs and self-catering and potentially the need to require planning permission.

A significant cross sectoral response, including from NFU Scotland, had indicated serious concerns over the rushed nature of the proposals, lack of information and impact on many agritourism businesses already closed due to Covid-19.

NFU Scotland has welcomed the announcement by Kevin Stewart, Minister for Local Governance, Housing and Planning that Scottish Government would withdraw the proposals to allow guidance to be developed with stakeholders.

NFUS vice president Robin Traquair said: “Farm diversification into short term lets such as B&Bs and self-catering accommodation is a significant source of income for many farms in Scotland.

“They have already been dealt a significant blow by the impacts of Covid-19 and these ill thought out and rushed proposals could not have come at a worse time.

“There has been a significant widespread stakeholder lobbying effort to raise serious concerns about the proposals and it is gratifying that the Minister has listened to the voices of NFUS and others on this issue.

“There will clearly be more work to come on this matter but farm businesses who operate this kind of accommodation can breathe a sigh of relief that there is now time for more appropriate guidance to be developed to ensure that the issues raised can be discussed in a more detailed and transparent manner.”

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