Agenda item

Public Question Time

So as to provide the best opportunity for the Committee to provide the public with the fullest answer, questions from the public should be submitted by midday on Friday 21 July 2023.


Where relevant notice of a question has not been given, the person presiding may either choose to give a response at the meeting or respond by undertaking to provide a written response within three working days.


Questions should be submitted to Democratic Services –


(Note:  Public Question Time will last for a maximum of 30 minutes)




There was one pre submitted question received from a member of the public.


Question -


Given the rise in the number of AirBNB establishments, the effect on local communities and the potential impact on the available housing stock, does the Council have any plans to licence AirBNB establishments and to require owners to apply for a change of use for the property?



The Head of Planning replied -


This issue of short term lets (Air bnb) is a complicated area of planning law.  If your house is rented out occasionally this does not involve a change of use but if it’s a permanent situation then a change of use can occur but it is a grey area in planning law.  As a result of this the Government is looking at whether air bnb and short term lets should be identified as a specific use class which would give Councils the option to serve Article 4 Directions to control number and location of such uses.


The Consultation below closed on the 7th June and proposes the new use class and a registration scheme for these short term lets:


Copied below is the section on the new use classes order. 


4. New national permitted development rights

30. High volumes of short term lets are concentrated in some locations and are not considered to be problematic in all areas. Therefore, we are considering whether to introduce new national permitted development rights to provide flexibility where short term lets are not a local issue, and areas would only see a change where the rights have been removed by making an Article 4 direction. This model will provide local areas with tools that they can apply, or not, depending on local circumstances. We do not want to add unnecessary process, and therefore in many areas the changes will appear seamless and people will not see a change unless an Article 4 direction is in place to remove one or more of the permitted development rights. Separately, we are considering confirming on all homeowners (C3 dwellinghouse) a limited flexibility to let out their home (set out from paragraph 40 below).

31. It is proposed that the GPDO could be amended to introduce permitted development rights to allow:

a. The change of use from a C3 dwellinghouse to a C5 short term let. This would allow for continued flexibility to use a property as a home or short term let where there is no local issue

b. The change of use from a C5 short term let to a C3 dwellinghouse. This would allow short term let properties to be made available to rent or to buy without the need for a planning application for the change of use.

32. Where there is evidence of a local issue, the permitted development right for the change of use to a short term let (a) may be removed by making an Article 4 direction in line with national policy. This should apply to the smallest geographical area possible and could therefore be focussed on those areas or streets that see the highest numbers of short term lets, or individual properties.

33. A second right, (b) could allow the change of use from a short term let to a C3 dwellinghouse. This would allow those premises that fall into the short term let use class when the changes are introduced to return to use as dwellinghouse for rent or to buy without the need for a planning application. This approach may be important where there are already concentrations of short term lets as it would facilitate their move to provide more sustainable housing for the community. Those areas where there is a local issue may choose therefore to retain this permitted development right, even where they remove the permitted development right for the change of use from a dwellinghouse to a short term let (a).


A supplementary question was asked -


Will the Environmental health Officers be asked to assess suitability and safety of these properties especially in regards to smoke alarms?


The Head of Planning answered -


Environmental Health and Housing Officers currently have no capability in this area at present and to afford them this power would require a change of legislation.