Thank you for contacting me about short-term holiday lets.
Holiday lets contribute to the economy, create jobs, and support tourism in South Devon. Let me be clear that the Government backs small businesses, including responsible short-term holiday letting, which I recognise brings significant investment to local communities. At the same time, it is important to acknowledge the impact that large numbers of holiday lets concentrated in an area can have on local communities.
I note your concern about the potential impact of introducing a use class for short-term lets. The Government’s proposed planning changes would see the introduction of a new national use class and, simultaneously, the introduction of a new permitted development right. The new permitted development right would provide flexibility where short-term lets are not a local issue and allow for this flexibility to be removed where there is a local concern. Any Article 4 direction to remove the permitted development right must be evidence based and should apply to the smallest geographical area possible, and could therefore be focused on those areas or streets that see the highest numbers of short-term lets, or individual properties.
As set out in the consultation document, when the use class comes into effect existing properties would fall into the short-term let use class where they met the definition or remain as C3 dwellinghouse. Any re-classification is not considered development and so property owners should not need to apply for planning permission where they meet the definition of short-term let. They would be classified as such and would not require planning permission.
As you may know, the Government has also consulted on plans for a short-term lets registration scheme. I agree with you that a registration scheme is important. Crucially, it will provide information to help local authorities enforce health and safety regulations and apply and enforce the planning changes.
I would like to assure you that I will be carefully considering the outcome of the planning consultation.