07 Feb 23

A council says it’s using planning powers to try to control the proliferation of Airbnbs, but suggests the real answer may lie in a national registration scheme for hosts.

The Blackpool Gazette reports that local council leader Lynn Williams told a meeting of the authority that there were now some 454 short lets in Blackpool.

She is quoted as saying: “Fundamentally these premises need to be regulated with a licensing scheme and physical checks of the premises. It is essential things like fire and gas safety is assured and that provision is made for waste collections and noise anti-social behaviour management.” She continued that the authority was attempting to use its planning powers to limit the detrimental effects of too many Airbnbs, but that its scope was limited.

The meeting was also addressed by a representation of the hoteliers group StayBlackpool which wants it own local Blackpool Approved Visitor Accommodation Scheme to be made compulsory including for the short lettings sector.

He said: “The Blackpool Approved Scheme, which is backed by VisitEngland, is a blueprint for such a licence. After inspection, the property is declared legal, safe and clean, though some fine tuning may be required to cover the many newer variations of short stay accommodation.

“The scheme has been running for about six years and after some tweaks along the way, we now believe it to be an excellent scheme, fit for purpose, affordable, well managed and equally as important, very much accepted and embraced by the town’s accommodation providers.”

Last autumn Housing Secretary Michael Gove suggested that he was drawing up plans to ban second homeowners from renting out their properties on websites such as Airbnb by giving powers in future to regional mayors.

Changes to the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill would give regions the power to restrict people renting out second properties for fewer than 90 days. Instead, landlords would have to apply for planning permission for a change of use.

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