The Government has revealed plans to force those seeking to convert homes in short-let properties within England’s holiday hotspots to seek planning permission first.
Such powers, which will see a new 'use class' and a 'permitted development right' introduced into planning law to be used by local authorities, are to be consulted on by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities prior to any legislation.
The aim of the initiative is to ‘help support local people in areas where high numbers of holiday lets are preventing them from finding affordable housing’.
Exemptions to the rules are also being proposed to enable those who let out their homes to make money from their properties for up to a specified number of nights in a calendar year without the need for planning permission.
The Government says it wants to ensure the country “reaps the benefits of diverse and sustainable accommodation and support the visitor economy, while also protecting local communities and ensuring the availability of affordable housing to rent or buy”.
Secretary of State for Levelling Up Housing and Communities, Michael Gove adds: “Tourism brings many benefits to our economy but in too many communities we have seen local people pushed out of cherished towns, cities and villages by huge numbers of short-term lets.
“I’m determined that we ensure that more people have access to local homes at affordable prices, and that we prioritise families desperate to rent or buy a home of their own close to where they work.
“I have listened to representations from MPs in tourist hot spots and am pleased to launch this consultation to introduce a requirement for planning permissions for short term lets.”
The new proposals within the consultation come as the Department for Culture Media and Sport also launches a separate consultation on a new registration scheme for short-term lets, which is due to be introduced through the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, which is currently going through Parliament.
The consultation says: "The increase in the number of short term lets in certain areas, such as coastal towns, national parks and some cities can impact on the availability and affordability of homes to buy or to rent for local people and on the sustainability of communities more broadly."
Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer adds: “This new world of ultra-flexible short term lets gives tourists more choice than ever before, but it should not come at the expense of local people being able to own their own home and stay local.”
Speaking on the BBC’s Today radio programme, Malcom Bell, Chair of Visit Cornwall. “In principle, [these planning rules are] a good idea but we need the public register first…it’s something that we’ve been lobbying for over the past five years.
“We need to get the balance right between the economic benefit of short-term lets and losing community vibrancy.”
The consultation runs until June 7th.