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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 Andy Wightman Andy Wightman Green

I thank the member for that intervention, but I am not sure that she has read the consultation. It is on a proposal to licence the operators, not any changes to planning law. The approach is just like the approach that is taken in relation to alcohol licensing: the first box that you have to tick if you want to have an alcohol licence is to confirm that you have planning permission for the premises from which you intend to operate.

The situation will be resolved by the use of a more effective planning regime that determines whether those uses can take place and then by a licensing regime that makes sure that the operator is a fit and proper person. I welcome the approach that has been taken in Glasgow.

This process has been disappointing, to put it mildly. Promises to work together have been broken. In fact, I was told that Rachael Hamilton’s original amendment—amendment 1, which was lodged in December—was not even endorsed by her party. I first became aware of amendment 157 when it was handed to me by a Conservative MSP, minutes before I was due to have a meeting with representatives of the short-term let industry. Worse still, they had been given a copy of it before I had. I was put in the rather strange position of knowing nothing about what was in the amendment while the representatives of the short-term let industry, who had flown up from London, knew all about it and thought that it was a wonderful compromise.

It is no surprise that the Conservative Party’s tourism spokesperson had nine meetings with the industry and has lodged one amendment to the bill. I had six such meetings, during which I worked hard to find some changes that would address industry concern—