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Councillors welcome proposed Airbnb controls as short-term lets ‘eat away at Cambridge’s housing stock’





A government proposal to require local authority planning permission for short-term lets such as Airbnb holiday rentals has been welcomed by Cambridge city councillors.

The new law would require people letting out their property as a short-term holiday home to seek permission from the local authority under a new “use” category.

Cllr Karen Young submitted a motion at the city council calling for reforms last year Picture: Keith Heppell
Cllr Karen Young submitted a motion at the city council calling for reforms last year Picture: Keith Heppell

A mandatory national register would be set up providing councils with information on short-term lets in their area. The rules would not apply to people renting out their main home for 90 days or less in a year.

Last October, Lib Dem councillors submitted a motion to Cambridge City Council calling for this reform.

Cllr Karen Young (Lib Dem, Queen Edith’s), who initiated the call for regulation last year, said: “The government’s change of heart is long overdue, but welcome all the same. This new local power certainly ought to be exercised in a city like Cambridge where the growth of short-term lets eats away at our housing stock, which we know is in short supply for people who really want to live here.

“And depending on suitability of buildings, location and neighbourhood concentration, short-term lets can also be a source of nuisance to surrounding residents.

“We agree that this sort of accommodation meets a genuine need, but it can get out of hand and does need regulation.”

London, UK - July 31, 2018: The buttons of the travel app Airbnb, surrounded by Amazon, ebay, News and other apps on the screen of an iPhone.
London, UK - July 31, 2018: The buttons of the travel app Airbnb, surrounded by Amazon, ebay, News and other apps on the screen of an iPhone.

Cllr Katie Thornburrow, executive councillor for planning, (Lab, Petersfield) said: “We know setting properties up for short-term lets for much of the year takes properties out of circulation for those who would like to buy or rent, further exacerbating the housing affordability crisis in Cambridge.

“We have been keen to see greater controls come forward to enable us to address this issue, so we welcome the announcement in theory, but will need to look at the detail and how any changes will work in practice.”

Concerns have grown over the growth of the short-term letting market in Cambridge which has the effect of taking properties off the market for longer-term lets, making it difficult for renters to find places to live in the city.

Cllr Katie Thornburrow said the council was keen to see greater controls="true" Picture: Keith Heppell
Cllr Katie Thornburrow said the council was keen to see greater controls="true" Picture: Keith Heppell

The new proposal has been made by Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

He said: “Short-term lets can play an important role in the UK’s flourishing tourism economy, providing great, easily-accessible accommodation in some of the most beautiful parts of our country.

“But in some areas, too many local families and young people feel they are being shut out of the housing market and denied the opportunity to rent or buy in their own community.

“So the government is taking action as part of its long-term plan for housing. That means delivering more of the right homes in the right places, and giving communities the power to decide.

“This will allow local communities to take back control and strike the right balance between protecting the visitor economy and ensuring local people get the homes they need.”

To see more planning applications and other public notices for your area, visit publicnoticeportal.uk



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