Councils look to planning guidelines to limit holiday lets

Protest against second homes in Llangefni, Anglesey, Saturday October 10.

Gareth Williams, local democracy reporter

New planning guidelines could make it more difficult to build holiday lets in areas deemed to have too many second homes.

A meeting of Anglesey Council’s Partnership and Regeneration Scrutiny Committee saw members back changes to the current guidance within the Joint Local Development Plan.

If approved by both counties – with Gwynedd set to vote on the proposed change later this month –  it would make it easier to refuse planning permission for self-catering holiday lets in parts of Gwynedd and Anglesey where over 15% of the local housing stock is already designated as second homes or holiday accommodation.

The move would only apply to instances where planning permission is already required to either build or convert a property.

Backed by Anglesey committee members on Tuesday, it was argued that setting a specific 15% figure would make it easier for officers and councillors when determining what constitutes “over-provision.”

The leader of Anglesey Council, Llinos Medi, said that the aim was to recognise the “vital role of tourism” in the economy but in an “empathetic way” with existing communities in mind.

Ruinous’

Cllr Margaret Murley Roberts added, “The over provision of holiday accommodation is ruinous for some of our coastal communities, my only question is if what’s being proposed is enough.”

Cllr Trefor Lloyd Hughes also said that more stringent controls are required on AirBnB’s, which he described as “sprouting like mushrooms” and the need to achieve a “fair balance.”

Meanwhile, Cllr Dafydd Roberts concluded “There are some people who couldn’t care less about the impact they’re having on the local community, really we need a more holistic look in general at tourism by the time of the next development plan review.

“We have to ensure that the natural resources that attract people here in the first place are not exploited and cause gridlock, for instance.”

A final decision will be made by the Joint Planning Policy Committee in due course.

A spokesman for Gwynedd and Anglesey councils said, “The guidance within the Draft Supplementary Planning Guidance (Tourism Accommodation and Facilities) relates to proposals for new purpose built self-catering holiday accommodation which requires planning permission.

“At present there are no effective planning or other regulations in place to control the use of a dwelling house for occasional holiday let purposes or as a second home.

‘Clarity’

“The guidance provided within the document gives clarity in relation to the term ‘over-provision’  in respect of planning applications for  purpose built self-catering holiday accommodation, which includes consideration of the numbers of dwelling houses used as short term holiday lets and second homes.

“Applications for new permanent holiday accommodation are assessed in accordance with Policy TWR2 (Holiday Accommodation)  of the Joint Local Development Plan. Policy TWR2 includes a criteria which specifies that the proposal should not lead to an ‘over-provision’ of such accommodation within a specific area.

“Setting the 15% threshold allows the planning authority to clearly define what is meant by the term ‘over-provision’ and provides clear guidance for prospective applicants and the decision maker.”

Both authorities are continuing to lobby the Welsh Government to change national planning laws and make it compulsory for people to secure planning permission before a normal dwelling can be used as a second home or holiday let.

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