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Short term lets control area for strath could be rolled out in Highlands if successful

By Gavin Musgrove

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Councillor Ken Gowans believes STL control areas could be a powerful tool to ease housing issues.
Councillor Ken Gowans believes STL control areas could be a powerful tool to ease housing issues.

A senior Highland councillor has said that the creation of more short term lets control areas in the region could be a 'powerful tool' to tackle the current affordable housing shortages.

The first for the Highlands in Badenoch and Strathspey is due to come into force in early March.

This will be preceeded by three public information sessions to highlight the changes coming into effect from March 4.

The sessions are being run following the council's decision in December to designate the entire strath as a STL control area – just the second such zone in Scotland following on from Edinburgh.

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The new use of a dwelling house for short-term letting, where the owner or occupier does not reside, will require planning permission before it can be used for that purpose from March 4.

Councillor Ken Gowans, chair of the council’s economy and infrastructure committee, said: “It is pleasing to see we are almost at the ‘go-live’ stage for the short-term let control area for Badenoch and Strathspey.

"If it proves successful in the strath it could become a powerful tool Highland Council can utilise to address the imbalance in the housing market.”

Highland Council convener and local councillor Bill Lobban, said: "I would encourage as many existing and prospective operators to attend either the online or face-to-face sessions before the changes finally come into force on 4 March.

"These sessions will be the final opportunity to speak directly to the officers and get answers to any of the questions people still have."

Each of the three information sessions are open to short-term let operators and the public to attend.

One of the sessions will be hosted online, whilst the other two will be in-person events.

Each event should last approximately two hours and details of each are outlined below:

• Online meeting at 3pm on 22nd February. This will be hosted on Microsoft Teams – for those who can not access via the link the Meeting ID is: 325 223 585 735 and the Passcode is: TTuJzy.

• In-person meeting in Aviemore Library at 2pm on 28th February.

• In-person meeting in Aviemore Library at 7pm on 28th February.

A council spokesperson said: "The council has received a large number of applications for planning permission and certificates of lawfulness as a result of the proposal to create the Short-term Let Control Area and the obligations for operators under The Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 (Licensing of Short-term Lets) Order 2022.

"The council will be contacting applicants directly to explain the options and process moving forward.

"As the information sessions are open for anyone to attend, the council will not be discussing individual planning and/or licensing applications during the information sessions.

"Any queries on these, should go through the normal communication channels."

Further information, a copy of the statutory advert, and a map of Badenoch and Strathspey is available via this link

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