February 16, 2024 4:07 pm

Insert Lead Generation
Nikka Sulton

In a recent decision, planners at Northumberland Council rejected a proposal to convert three holiday cottages into permanent residences. This comes at a time when there’s ongoing scrutiny of the private rental sector’s role in the reduction of permanent housing availability, primarily due to the prevalence of short-term lets and holiday accommodations.

Despite the current discussions around the need for more permanent housing, the council’s decision was grounded in the belief that the conversion would diminish tourism amenities. This decision highlights the delicate balance authorities navigate between addressing the housing crisis and preserving the economic benefits derived from tourism-related activities in the region.

The Northumberland Gazette recently reported on a proposal concerning cottages within the Morpeth Caravan Site. These cottages, currently limited to holiday use only in accordance with existing planning permissions, are now subject to an application by Glen Fahy. Fahy aims to secure the option for these cottages to potentially serve as permanent residences, even while retaining their function as holiday lets.

In his appeal to the council, Fahy highlighted the financial challenges of his holiday let business, describing it as “only marginally profitable.” He emphasized the potential benefits of obtaining approval for the cottages’ use as permanent homes, pointing out that such a designation could unlock borrowing opportunities that are currently restricted due to lenders’ concerns over the holiday-only use clause.

The proposal underscores a broader debate surrounding the balance between holiday accommodation and permanent housing stock. While holiday lets contribute to tourism and local economies, concerns have arisen about their impact on the availability of permanent homes. Fahy’s request for flexibility reflects the complexities facing property owners and regulators as they navigate these competing interests within the housing market landscape.

As reported by The Gazette, Glen Fahy presented his case before the local planning committee, shedding light on the nature of the site. Emphasizing that it has always been categorized as a brownfield site and located outside the greenbelt in accordance with the Northumberland Local Plan, Fahy highlighted the site’s critical role as their exclusive source of income. He underscored the integral connection of the cottages to their own garden, stressing that there are no plans to sell them for profit.

Despite Fahy’s compelling arguments, the proposed change encountered resistance within the local planning committee. Out of the eight councillors, only two supported the alteration. One of the supporting councillors drew attention to Fahy’s financial situation, revealing an annual income of £13,000 to £19,000 for managing three holiday cottages. Expressing concern about the viability of such a business, the councillor remarked on the considerable effort required for less than minimum wage, highlighting the financial challenges faced by property owners striving to maintain profitability. The nuanced discussion in the committee reflects the complexities surrounding land use, financial sustainability, and the regulatory landscape in the property sector.

You can see the Gaxette story here.



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