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RTPI Scotland's response to consultation on Short Term Lets draft Licensing Order and Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment

  1. For Paper 2: Draft Licensing order - please state your issues and how to resolve them:

Please provide any comments and any suggestions you have to resolve this

No comment

  1. For Paper 3: Draft Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment (BRIA) - please state your issues and how to resolve them:

Please provide any comments and any suggestions you have to resolve this

RTPI Scotland would like to reiterate concerns previously expressed in consultation responses on proposed Short-term Let regulations regarding resources. The new proposed provisions will place a significant burden on planning departments resulting from the gathering evidence of local characteristics and impact, the processing of more planning applications, the submission of more appeal statements, the handling of more complaints from the public and undertaking more enforcement action.

In the consultation paper it sets out that local authorities will “…each determine their own fees and fee structures to recover establishment and running costs specific to their area. This means that the fees charged by local authority will vary. Relevant factors include whether they can achieve economies of scale, rurality and how they integrate their short-term lets licensing scheme with other housing and licensing functions.” RTPI Scotland would like to challenge this assumption in regards to the cost of processing planning applications. RTPI Scotland acknowledges that the power to designate a short-term let control area is a discretionary power for local authorities but in areas with high concentrations of secondary letting where there is significant social impact such a designation will be necessary. In such areas planning permission may be required where it was not before, the host or operator seeking to use a dwellinghouse for secondary letting would need to apply for planning permission to be able to do so.

This is likely to lead to a significant increase in planning applications, with a planning fee set at the flat national rate of £401. Research by HOPS has shown that fee income as a % of core application processing costs is 65.6%[1]. Therefore, depending on the size of local authorities and the number of short-term lets within the control area there could be a big increase in the number of planning applications needing processed therefore have significant resourcing implications for some planning authorities. RTPI Scotland do not believe that this has been recognised clearly in the BRIA. This should be seen in the context of a diminishing resource base for planning authorities with research by RTPI Scotland[2] revealing:

  • The planning service is the one of the most severely affected of all local government services in terms of budgets with a reduction of 42% since 2009
  • Nearly a third of planning department staff have been cut since 2009
  • The new Planning Act has introduced 91 unfunded duties which could cost between £12.1m and £59.1m over 10 years to implement.

The intention to raise fees for change of use and Certificates of Lawful Use or Development (CLUD) both received substantial support in the recent consultation on planning fees and performance[3], RTPI Scotland believes that such proposed fee increases could help ameliorate some of the resourcing impacts of the proposed regulatory changes.

As recognised in the BRIA there will be challenges for local authorities in recruiting and training staff, depending on the local employment market. RTPI Scotland would also like to highlight the existing workforce issues in the planning system. Planning has demographic and succession challenges with a limited pipeline. Data gathered from planning authorities’ Planning Performance Frameworks indicate that that only around 9% of staff in planning authorities are under 30 whilst over 35% of are over 50 years old. Research commissioned by Skills Development Scotland for Partners in Planning outlined this future demand and highlighted that the majority of planners needing replaced will be senior and more experienced planners, potentially creating a knowledge gap within the profession as this expertise and experience is lost. Over the next 10 to 15 years the planning sector will have demand for an additional 680 - 730 entrants into the sector (comprised of 550 - 600 replacement demand and 130 expansion demand)[4]. Therefore, RTPI Scotland believes that such anticipated increases in future workloads further the need to invest in initiatives to promote planning as a career; widen access to the profession through establishing apprenticeships; and invest in skills development and culture change programmes.    


[1] Heads of Planning Scotland (2019) Action report from Heads of Planning Scotland on the recent CIPFA/HOPS survey on costing the planning service in Scotland. February. Available here:

[2] RTPI Scotland (2021) Resourcing the Planning Service: Key Trends and Findings 2021. June. Available here:

[3] Scottish Government (2021) Planning Performance and Fees Consultation – Analysis of Responses. July. Available here:

[4] Skills Development Scotland (SDS), Partners in Planning & EKOS (2021) Skills in Planning Publication. February. Available here:

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