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Skye’s constituency MSP has urged islanders to voice facts not ‘unfounded fears’ in a Holyrood consultation on licensing Airbnb-style lets, before it closes at the end of the month.
The legislation was drawn up following concerns from residents in popular tourist destinations such as Skye and Edinburgh that the rapid growth of short-term holiday lets was pushing up rent levels for other properties.
Research in 2019 found holiday lets accounted for nearly 20 per cent of all homes on Skye.
The proposed laws would let councils establish designated areas where planning permission is needed before properties can be rented out.
Now MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch Kate Forbes is encouraging interested parties to participate in the Scottish Parliament’s Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee’s online consultation, which has a deadline of October 29 2021.
Ms Forbes said: ‘Having been contacted by scores of constituents about the matter, I am well-aware of the strength of feeling on both sides of the short-term lets debate.
‘Whilst it is a complex and multi-faceted problem with no easy answers, I hope that the debate centres around facts rather [than] unfounded fears.
‘If we are serious about tackling the West Highland housing crisis, then I believe that this needs to be a much broader discussion than previously.
‘I would encourage everyone with an interest to take the time to fully read the proposals and make their voice heard.
‘The Scottish Government has been clear that a very basic health and safety scheme will be established, as is the case for nearly every other business and sector in Scotland.
‘This will likely be the last opportunity for the various stakeholder groups – be it tourism accommodation providers or those who can’t find a place to stay in their home area – to comment and help shape the final proposal.’
Though the planning control area section of Scottish Government legislation passed earlier this year, following concerns from the tourism industry the licensing part of the proposals were deferred to allow further discussion.
The committee has said it expects the plans to be considered in the parliament later this year.