Town Council calls for regulation of Airbnbs
Kendal Town Council is calling for regulation of short-term holiday lets, which it claims are in danger of blighting the town’s historic centre and taking away much-needed affordable homes. At its meeting on Monday night, Town Councillors were unanimous in their calling on Secretary of State Michael Gove to allow local planning authorities to intervene to prevent whole neighbourhoods disappearing. Town Mayor, Doug Rathbone said, ‘members know from their own streets, the impact of too many short-term holiday lets. Where there used to be yards and rows of affordable flats and cottages for local people, now there are keyboxes and the unmistakeable traffic chaos of changeover day. We’re proud of the appeal our town has to holidaymakers, but we want to keep it special. And we need affordable places for Kendalians to live. It’s a balance, and we’re looking to government to help us maintain it.’
The Council was debating a Motion drawn up by Cllr Adam Campbell, to urge Michael Gove to adopt four new policies as he brings his Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill through parliament. These would give local planning authorities – in Kendal this means South Lakeland District Council – the power to regulate short term-holiday lets through a planning application. It would allow councils to charge more than 100% council tax on second homes, and to insist that up to 100% of dwellings in a new development are affordable to local people. A fourth proposal would allow councils to suspend a planning consent where the developer was attempting to use so-called ‘viability’ regulations for resisting affordable units.
Though Town Councillors recognised that they had limited power to exert in the planning process, they agreed that it was important to make a statement. Cllr Stephen Coleman, who chairs the Town Council’s Management Committee said, ‘having somewhere affordable to live in your home town seems like a basic necessity. It’s right that the Town Council should be calling out issues when they impact on our communities’.
The Town Council was meeting at Kendal Town Hall for the last time in 2022, but carries on through 2023,as it is unaffected by the abolition of Cumbria and South Lakeland councils and the creation of the Westmorland & Furness unitary.