Planning solution proposed for party flats

Party Flat campaigners deliver petition to Parliament in 2009. Photo courtesy of Edinburgh Evening NewsLater this week, the Council’s planning committee is set to consider proposals that would require operators of party flats to seek planning permission.

At the moment, the Council does not consider the operation of party flats as a change of use so owners do not need to apply to change a property from residential to business use.

Under the new proposals, consideration would be given to a range of factors including the character of the new use in the context of the wider area and the pattern of activity including the period of use and issues of noise and disturbances.  The Council say it is unlikely that planning permission would be granted where the potential adverse effects on residents were greatest.

After long campaigning on this issue, I am pleased that the council is now looking seriously at a planning solution to the problem of party lets.  Last summer I met with representatives from Glasgow City Council to discuss how they used planning policies to restrict the growth of party flats.  

Requiring operators to seek planning permission would provide neighbouring residents with extra protection from irresponsible landlords who seek to let their properties to large, noisy groups.

‪However, I am eager to ensure that any change is implemented effectively to protect constituents who continue to experience antisocial behaviour associated with these properties.

I have written to the council to ask what specific criteria proposed party flats will be judged against in order to assess whether planning consent would be required and to find out what opportunity residents will have to object.   

I am delighted that the proposed changes outlined could be applied retrospectively to deal with existing party flats which have begun operation in the last 10 years.   Existing party flats are still classed as residential properties, yet they are being operated as commercial businesses.  I am seeking clarification from the Council about how this aspect of the proposals will work.

The success of these proposals will depend on determination of the Council to bring to an end the proliferation of party flats in residential areas.   These proposals are a welcome step forward and we need a clear message that the disruptive, antisocial behaviour which goes along with party flats is unacceptable.