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Cyngor Gwynedd eager for your comments on change to local planning rules

Cyngor Gwynedd

CYNGOR Gwynedd is keen to hear the views of residents on a change to local planning rules that would enable it to manage the use of housing as second homes and holiday lets in the Gwynedd Local Planning Authority Area.

Last year, the Welsh Government announced a series of measures to tackle the impact of second homes and short-term holiday accommodation on communities. Among them was an amendment to planning legislation which included the introduction of specific use classes for main home, second home and holiday lets.

It is possible to change between these use classes without the need to receive planning permission, but in order to prevent this unrestricted change of use Local Planning Authorities have the power to serve what is known as an Article 4 Direction.

The introduction of Article 4 Direction would mean that consent must be obtained before changing the use of a main home to a second home or short-term holiday accommodation. The change would not apply to properties that are already established as a second home or short-term holiday accommodation before the Article 4 Direction takes effect.

Cyngor Gwynedd is currently carrying out an engagement exercise on this proposal for the Gwynedd Local Planning Authority Area (which is the area of Gwynedd located outside Eryri National Park) and is keen to receive comments.

Councillor Dafydd Meurig, Cyngor Gwynedd Environment Cabinet Member said:

“There is no doubt that holiday homes – whether they are second homes or short-term holiday lets – have an impact on the ability of the people of Gwynedd to access suitable housing in their communities.

“That is why Cyngor Gwynedd has been doing everything possible to introduce changes that would enable us to have better control of the area and in turn try to ensure that our housing stock offers affordable homes for the people of Gwynedd to be able to live in their communities.

“The Welsh Government has introduced changes that enable the introduction of Article 4 Direction which would offer an important step to control the use of houses as second homes and holiday accommodation in the Gwynedd Planning Authority Area.

“We are very keen to receive comments on this proposal. All responses received will be carefully considered before a report is submitted to the Council’s Cabinet for a final decision.”

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The Council is urging residents and organisations to have their say during the public engagement period which is open until 13 September 2023. An online questionnaire is available on www.gwynedd.llyw.cymru/artcile4 with a paper copy also available from Siop Gwynedd in Caernarfon, Pwllheli, Dolgellau and the county’s public libraries.

The Welsh Government has introduced unprecedented powers to local authorities, allowing them to manage future numbers of second homes and short-term holiday lets. 

Changes to the national planning framework have introduced three new classes of dwelling, primary residence, secondary home and short-term holiday let. All local planning authorities have the power to decide whether planning permission is needed to change from one use class to another by dis-applying Permitted Development Rights. Dis-applying the rights is possible by serving an Article 4 Direction. If it is confirmed, Cyngor Gwynedd would be responsible for its implementation.

Cyngor Gwynedd is consulting on this intention (introducing an Article 4 Direction) for the Gwynedd Local Planning Authority Area, and the Welsh Government is providing funding support for the Dwyfor area so that learning from the pilot area can be shared across the county.

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