Green MSP Andy Wightman calls for controls on holiday homes

Private houses converted into holiday homes would need to gain full planning permission under changes to proposed legislation put forward by a Green MSP.

Andy Wightman, Green MSP for Lothians region. Picture: Jon Savage

Andy Wightman said this would help local authorities control the boom in holiday homes and short-term lets in some parts of Scotland.

He has now published proposed amendments to the Scottish Government’s Planning Bill which, if passed, mean a property used as a main or sole residence to a holiday home or short-term let would need fully planning consent.

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Councils would decide whether or not to grant permisson, following local policy, and the changes would not affect those who rent out a room rather than an entire property.

Mr Wightman said: “The uncontrolled and rapid rise in short-term lets in our cities and the long-standing problem of second homes in our rural communities is depriving families and individuals of badly-needed long-term homes, worsening Scotland’s housing crisis.

“To date the Scottish Government has shown no interest in tackling these issues, so I intend to bring forward amendments to the Planning Bill to make the changes we need to see.

“Since being elected in 2016 I’ve been inundated by Edinburgh constituents concerned about the loss of housing supply and an increase in anti-social behaviour.

“And in our rural communities such as the East Neuk of Fife and parts of the West Highlands and Cairngorms, local people and families are being forced into inappropriate temporary accommodation or forced to leave the area because profit-driven interests have restricted the housing supply.

“The Scottish Government has chosen not to bring short-term lets and holiday homes into the planning system, so I will lead the change.”

Amendments to the Bill are due to be debated by the Local Government and Communities Committee when the Scottish Parliament returns from recess.