York has no way of controlling the impact of Airbnb, council admits

Hotel Noir on Clifton Green, York. Photograph © Google Street View
10 Jun 2019 @ 7.48 am
| Environment, Politics

Short term holiday lets such as Airbnb are a “very problematic area” for council planning bosses, residents were told at a meeting.

Proposals to turn Hotel Noir on Clifton Green into 10 apartments were discussed by a City of York Council planning committee at a meeting on Thursday.

But residents said they fear the development could be turned into short-term holiday rentals.

Neighbour Bernadette Burbridge told the meeting:

  • We are broadly in favour of the development.

    Airbnb is a matter of great concern to us. It’s not the same as having a hotel. When you have a hotel you have accountability.

    You have someone looking after those people, when you have Airbnb who knows who comes?

    And what we don’t really want is to bring into a residential area what we see so much of that is really distressing in the city centre.

No local plan

Cllr Denise Craghill
Cllr Denise Craghill asked if anything could be done through planning rules to prevent the flats being used in this way.

But Gareth Arnold from the council’s planning department, speaking at the meeting, said: “The planning system doesn’t really seek to control that.

“There are circumstances where other authorities brought in controls, but normally they would be hung on to a local plan policy and we have no such local plan policy.”

Glenn Sharpe, a senior solicitor at the council added: “It is a problematic area. I know a number of authorities are interested in the the issue and impacts associated with Airbnb use.”

He added that enforcing restrictions would be “very problematic” but said it’s an important issue.

Richard Dykes, speaking on behalf of the applicant, said it’s a “prevalent question” but added that an architect cannot say what a development should be used for.

The application was approved.

3 thoughts on “York has no way of controlling the impact of Airbnb, council admits

  1. All flats let as Holiday lets are legally obliged to follow all fire safety regulations – there is however little enforcement – Harrogate legitimate owners have volunteered that they report these properties as they find them and then hand the addresses over to the fire department to check they are complying – but they wern’t interested unless there was a complaint – to my mind when there is an incident it is too late. We have friends in Canada their authorities welcome this information as it leads to massive amounts of income tax revenue otherwise being dodged. I see no reason neighbours can’t report flats in which this is happening as surely they know – which would then be followed up by an inspection.

  2. It’s worrying that airbnb premises do not seem to have to conform to any safety standards whatsoever, unlike hotels, guest houses or more conventional holiday lets. Does the Fire Service have any thoughts on this?

  3. Use for airbnb and similar services can be restricted in the lease, which is normal. Except, most ‘investment’ owners ignore it. If an owners’ management company can be formed, the lease can be better enforced… unless the owners want it!

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