A COUNCIL is looking at ways it could gain more control over holiday lets and second homes in a bid to manage their impact.
As part of the consideration, Cyngor Gwynedd could become the first authority in Wales to introduce changes to its planning rules with the “unprecedented” move to introduce what is known as an “Article 4 Direction”.
This would allow the council to control the use of houses as second homes and holiday accommodation in Gwynedd.
It would make it necessary to submit an application for planning permission to change from one use to another.
A Cyngor Gwynedd Cabinet report is being presented on June 13 which will request the start of the process which could lead to the changes.
If it goes ahead, the council would control the use of houses as second homes and holiday lets within the Gwynedd Local Planning Authority Area (this area does not include the Eryri National Park Authority Area).
Last year, the Welsh Government announced a series of measures to address the property issues – some are now being implemented.
Amongst them, planning legislation was amended meaning that Local Planning Authorities could introduce the Article 4 Direction to control the use of houses as second homes and holiday accommodation.
If the Cabinet consents, the council will place a notice of the Article 4 Direction, and hold a period of public engagement over the proposal.
Councillor Dafydd Meurig, Cyngor Gwynedd Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “Cyngor Gwynedd, along with organisations like Hawl i Fyw Adra and Cymdeithas yr Iaith, have tirelessly called on the Welsh Government for years to tackle the increase in holiday homes across the county, and the effect it is having on our communities.
“Detailed research was presented by our Planning Policy Service highlighting that our residents are being priced out of the housing market.
“Recent research has showed on average 65.5% of Gwynedd’s population is priced out, with the percentage increasing significantly in areas where there are higher numbers of holiday homes.
“There was recognition of the real challenge facing our communities last year as the Welsh Government announced a series of measures in the field of planning, taxation and licensing to try to get better control of the situation.
“The Government has amended the planning regulations, introducing three new planning use classes, namely main home, second home and short-term holiday accommodation.
“The report being considered by the council’s Cabinet outlines the strong evidence-base in the Gwynedd Local Planning Authority Area to reform the planning system locally by presenting an Article 4 Direction.
“This would make it necessary to submit an application for planning permission to change from one use to another and help the council in protecting our housing stock and supporting Gwynedd’s residents to have access to houses within their reach in our communities.
“Gwynedd would be the first authority in Wales to introduce the change, and placing an Article 4 Direction to control the use of houses as second homes or short-term holiday accommodation will be unprecedented.
“We are therefore pleased that the Welsh Government has committed to providing financial support that will enable us to appoint additional planning officers to deal with the extra workload.”