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Planning (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 (Day 2)

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 19th June 2019.

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Photo of Rachael Hamilton Rachael Hamilton Conservative

Unlike Andy Wightman, we are taking this situation very seriously and we are putting residents first, while also being a welcoming country and ensuring that we create job opportunities and grow the economy.

Moreover, my amendment 157 seeks to deliver a flexible approach—which is the right one—allowing local authorities that are saturated by short-term lets to regulate, while, on the other hand, allowing for those authorities that do not have that burden not to be legally bound by regulation. My amendment clearly demonstrates a willingness to ensure a positive outcome for residents and communities, some of whom live in attractive and popular tourist hotspots.

Andy Wightman’s amendments 157A to 157E will, if they are supported by the Scottish Parliament, create a situation whereby all short-term lets that do not fall under any of the exemptions in section 11B will constitute a material change of use six months after the bill receives royal assent and will therefore require planning permission. Many owners and operators may find that the use of property as a short-term let was unauthorised, putting them in breach of planning control and potentially exposing them to enforcement action, should planning authorities be minded to take such action. As a consequence, a burden will be placed on local authorities, owners and operators in obtaining retrospective planning consent.

It seems to me that Andy Wightman’s amendments to my amendment 157 take the kill approach, whereas my amendment takes the cure approach. My amendment seeks to find a balance between happy tourists and happy residents. It will drive tourism growth while protecting residents with regulation. Andy Wightman’s amendments would kill off future growth in tourism in areas that need it, whereas my amendment provides a solution to local problems. I appeal to members to see sense and not support Andy Wightman’s amendments.