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Short term lets licensing plan shelved by Scottish Government housing minister amid B&B concerns across the Highlands and further afield

By Philip Murray

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B&Bs had raised concerns over the plans.
B&Bs had raised concerns over the plans.

PLANS to licence short term lets have been withdrawn by the Scottish Government amid growing concerns among B&Bs over a lack of consultation.

Legislation had been in the pipeline after a cross-party committee approved the idea last month, with MSPs then due to vote on the matter.

But the Housing Minister Kevin Stewart has confirmed the licensing plan has been withdrawn after confirming that a working group will continue to consider key issues and solutions.

There had been significant concern from B&B owners across the Highlands about a lack of adequate consultation, and Kate Forbes MSP took their case to Mr Stewart with several letters and meetings.

Kate Forbes, MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, said: “I recognise that concerns have been raised by many B&Bs and self-catering properties in the Highlands about the impact of this legislation. I have listened to those concerns, relayed them to the Housing Minister and I’m pleased that he has acted in this way.

“The stakeholder working group will continue, exploring the issues and considering solutions. It’s important that work continues.

“The purpose was to ensure standardised health and safety measures across Scotland, which would not have been onerous as most tourism operators already meet such standards.

“However, I recognise that it has been a very difficult year for tourism, and it’s important that we listen to the industry. I’m sure the debates about the right balance between housing for local residents and visitor accommodation in the Highlands will continue.”

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