During the debate of the Lords amendments of the Deregulation Bill regarding safeguards to short term letting, John McDonnell raised concerns about the way in which the area around Heathrow Airport would be affected by these amendments. With the threat of the third runway, Sipson Ward is already three-quarters bought by Heathrow Airport Ltd and rented out on short term licences, of up to two years which is destabilising for the community anyway.
The current system at least gives local authorities in their local areas some local tools that they can use against the adverse effects of short-term letting. John said “I cannot see the benefits to any but a small commercial niche that seeks to profit at the expense of the wider community. I am fearful of the impact on legitimate traders as it is. I am worried about the impact on the hotels along the Bath road, which are a source of employment to my local community. But in addition to that, the average hotel in my area employs between 200 and 250 staff. Many of those staff live within the local community in private rented properties. I am worried that this will affect the private rented market in my area and have a knock-on effect on staff who are not the highest paid and sometimes fairly low paid.”
John believes that if there is to be a new regime, it is critical that these matters should be determined locally. It should be for local authorities to determine how they tackle the particular issues in their areas. This proposal seems to fly in the face of all the statements we have had from the coalition parties about the development of localism within policy making and within government.
He asked for clarification that once the legislation has gone through, will local authorities be able to submit a bid to designate an area, or do they have to wait for problems to arise before making a submission?