Calls for research to consider impact of holiday homes
A report that will be considered by Gwynedd Council’s Cabinet recommends carrying out research work to consider the impact of holiday homes, and particularly the fact that homes are being used for holiday lets.
The Cabinet report that will be discussed on 23 July refers in particular to the impact of business like Airbnb on the housing market in Gwynedd.
It also refers to specific regulations that have been introduced in other countries to tackle the issue, but that there are currently a lack of regulations in Wales whilst considering the increase in the use of open market properties being used as holiday homes.
Councillor Gareth Griffith, Gwynedd Council Cabinet Member for Environment said:
“There have been concerns for some time about the number of Holiday homes in some parts of Gwynedd, but more recently the tourism industry has evolved with the arrival and impact of companies like Airbnb. Indeed, a recent report notes that over half a million people stayed in Airbnb properties in Wales last year alone.
“Of course, the increasing use of open market properties for holiday lets is having an effect on the Housing stock that’s available to Gwynedd residents and it inevitably also impacts on house prices locally. As a result, I am eager that we can properly consider the impact of this and look to see what steps should be taken on a national and local level.
“Whilst recognising the importance of the tourism sector to the local economy, we must consider the impact on the local housing provision. At present, councils have very limited powers to intervene when it comes to full-time housing becoming holiday accommodation.
“Northern Ireland is the only UK Country that currently regulates short-term holiday accommodation providers – there any holiday let must reach specific requirements in order to secure a certification before being able to operate.
“It is a similar arrangement in cities such as Barcelona, Berlin, Amsterdam and Paris where there has been a huge rise in letting houses or rooms in houses as short-term holiday lets. Specific regulations have been introduced there which means that a tourism licence is required before you’re able to offer a holiday let.
“But, as other countries have introduced sensible changes to manage use, no such changes have been made here in Wales. That’s why the report that will be considered by the Cabinet is calling for detailed research to be carried out on the situation in Gwynedd and throughout Wales, and doing so together with Wales’ Royal Town Planning Institute and other organisations to consider what steps should be taken to manage the situation.”
The Holiday homes and planning report will be considered by Gwynedd Council’s Cabinet on 23 July.