In 2021, Scottish Government legislation allowed councils to have a short-term let control area. In a control area, this means if that if a flat or a house, which is not the home you live in, is used for a short-term let, you will need planning permission.
Edinburgh was the first council in Scotland to apply for a short-term control area, which has now been in place since 5 September 2022 and covers the whole of the Council’s area.
The amount of STL accommodation has grown significantly in the last ten years and Edinburgh is recognised as an area that has greater pressures than other parts of the country.
The LEZ aims to reduce air pollution, since it presents a significant threat to public health. It is especially harmful to young children, the elderly and those suffering from pre-existing conditions, including heart and lung diseases.
LEZs are being introduced across Scotland’s four largest cities: Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee in response to dangerous levels of air pollution generated by road traffic. The LEZ will improve public health by discouraging the most polluting vehicles from entering an area.
Following the consultation, an objection period ran from 1 February to 1 March 2022. During this time we received 26 objections and 1 letter of support. Objections were from a mixture of individuals, businesses and organisations including some Community Councils.
The most common objections were about;
the LEZ boundary should be wider or smaller
the process for assessing local exemptions
the modelling/evidence base & how robust it was
The next step for the LEZ is to submit the proposal to Scottish Ministers for approval. Assuming approval is granted by Ministers, the LEZ will be introduced on 31 May 2022. There will be a two year ‘grace period’, meaning it won’t be enforced until June 2024.
The proposal follows a consultation with the public as well as industry bodies.
The majority of respondents to the consultation were in favour of a control area, with 88% supporting the principle of it, and 85% supporting the entire City of Edinburgh Council area to be included.
A report of the consultation forms part of our Report to Planning Committee.
The designation cannot come to effect without the approval of Scottish Government. A request will be submitted to the Scottish Government requesting that the new powers are implemented in the whole of the Edinburgh area.
If the government agree with this approach, and the new legislation is implemented in the city, it will require residential property owners wholly letting a property which is not their principle home as an STL in the local authority area, to apply for planning permission for a ‘change of use’ to a short-term let.
Short-term lets of private rooms or shared rooms where the property is the only or principal home of the host will not be affected by the control area requirement. This allows for house swaps at holidays and also for the host to let out the entire property when on holiday or working away, provided the property remains their only or principal home.
If approval is given by the Scottish Government, the designation will be publicised in advance of coming into effect.
The introduction of powers to make a control area follows the Council calling for new legislation to tighten up the control of short-term lets to help manage high concentrations of secondary letting where it affects the availability of residential housing and character of a neighbourhood.
Also, it will help to restrict or prevent short-term lets in places or types of buildings where they are not appropriate as well as making sure homes are used to best effect.
Complementary to the control area legislation, the Scottish Parliament has approved legislation which will introduce a new licensing scheme requiring short-term lets to be licensed from July 2024. It will address the issues of safety, anti-social behaviour and noise.
To keep up to date with the Short-term Lets Control Area;
The Programme is used to assess the supply of land for housing and the delivery of new homes within the City of Edinburgh Council area. It records the amount of land available for house building, identifies any constraints affecting development, and assesses the land supply in the area.
Sites included in the HLACP are housing sites under construction, sites with planning consent, sites in adopted or finalised Local Plans and, as appropriate, other buildings and land with agreed potential for housing development. The audit does not include new proposals from the proposed City Plan 2030.
As predicted last year, the Covid-19 pandemic and the national lockdown during the second quarter of 2020 has resulted in the number of completions over the year to April 2021 being lower than recent years. Housebuilding activity is now back to the pre-pandemic level with expected completions over the next five years averaging 2,600 per year.
The Programme demonstrates that there is more than enough unconstrained housing land to meet the remaining housing land requirement in full and that the five-year completions programme is above target.
This short video below gives an overview of the Programme:
For a housing site to be considered ‘effective’, it must be free of all constraints that would prevent development. Sites are considered against a range of criteria set out in Planning Advice Note 2/2010 “Affordable Housing and Housing Land Audits”. These include ownership, physical (e.g. slope, aspect, stability, flood risk, access), contamination, deficit funding, marketability, infrastructure and land use.
As at 31 March 2021, there was enough land free of planning constraints and available for development for 22,411 houses.
The effective land supply is varied in type, size and location. It is spread over a range of locations and includes brownfield (54%) and greenfield (46%) sites as shown on the above map.
The next annual Housing Land Audit and Completions Programme will be carried out in Spring 2022 and reported to Planning Committee in Autumn 2022.
The 20th of December saw the end of the consultation period for submitting formal representations to the proposed City Plan 2030.
The Council will now carefully consider the representations received. Once the Council has completed its deliberations the proposed plan, along with its representations, will be submitted to Scottish Ministers for formal examination. The indicative time scale for that stage of the plan process is set out in the approved Development Plan Scheme.