Readers' letters: Edinburgh's short-term lets are vital for economy

I am one of thousands of short-term let (STL) operators in Edinburgh objecting to the council’s hastily-drafted, draconian planning controls.

The proposed measures will result in a virtual ban on STLs in tenement-type properties, translating into the loss of about 95 per cent of such stays in Edinburgh.

The Association of Scottish Self-Caters estimates that the STL sector provides a £70m annual boost to Edinburgh. The changes, if approved, will have a hugely detrimental impact on a city which relies so heavily on tourism, particularly in a time of recession.

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If this goes ahead, visitors will be forced to stay in hotels, where profits tend to be concentrated in large corporate groups and end up mostly outside the city. Income from individuals operating short-term lets is much more likely to be spent locally and provides an important livelihood for many independent businesses such as cafes, restaurants, laundrettes and cleaning companies, as well as accommodation providers.

Wheret Art I? Edinburgh Sketcher 28, November 22.

Importantly, guests from overseas and other parts of the UK genuinely love experiencing a ‘home from home’ experience and to deprive them of this will only encourage many to go elsewhere.

Regulating the STL sector, however, is to be welcomed, and will ensure standards are met, and should eradicate the few issues of antisocial behaviour caused by visitors. Planning reform on top of this is excessive and disproportionate.

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By threatening a blanket ban on tenements, the council risks destroying one of the mainstays of the local economy. Regulation is a better way forward. The current public consultation on planning control is ill-thought through, and we call on the council to urgently reconsider.

Emma Parker, Edinburgh

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Key locks for short-term let properties in the Capital

Keep mould out

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Leaving off house heating to save money (News, 24 November) risks the development of black mould on cold surfaces if other household activities like showering and cooking proceed as normal. This could push the relative humidity over 70 per cent, allowing the fungus to germinate.

This can be avoided if extractor fans are fitted and used in kitchens and bathrooms (in the latter they should be linked to the light circuit with a built-in over-run of ten minutes). Modern houses do not have enough natural ventilation.

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Steuart Campbell, Edinburgh

Binary questions

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For once, I am in agreement with Nicola Sturgeon, though not, perhaps in the way she means. “Democracy is at stake” is, apparently, her current claim and, indeed, it is.

When people are asked a specific question with a binary choice of answer, only one can prevail. When those who chose the losing option decide that they don't like the outcome and push to have a second chance of voting, they are simply saying that they don't like one democratic outcome, they want the other one. However, the essence of democracy is that one option always wins. By deliberately confusing referenda with elections, the SNP hope to fool the Scottish public into thinking that having another referendum is, somehow, “democratic”. Denying a democratic outcome is, itself, undemocratic. Does she understand that?

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A referendum is a one-off. It always has been. To suggest that a referendum should be run again implies that it should be run again and again, as if it were an election held every five years, perhaps.

Thus, if we held another referendum, a third, fourth, fifth and so on would be logical. It is an utter nonsense and no decision would ever be final.

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Andrew HN Gray, Edinburgh

Write to the Edinburgh Evening News

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We welcome your thoughts. Write to [email protected] including name, address and phone number – we won't print full details. Keep letters under 300 words, with no attachments. If referring to an article, include date, page number and heading.

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