Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Call for Measures to Restrict Airbnb

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Call for Measures to Restrict Airbnb

Article excerpt

Byline: DANIEL HOLLAND Local Democracy Reporter daniel.holland@reachplc.com

CALLS have been made for new restrictions on Airbnb in Newcastle, amid fears that homes being rented out will hamper efforts to get more people to live in the city centre.

Concerns have been raised that bringing some of the city centre's vacant office space back into use as housing may not have the desired effect - because landlords could instead effectively turn them into hotels, and expose neighbours to the extra noise that comes with that.

Newcastle City Council's planning committee heard that the authority has dealt with a number of complaints over residential properties being used as Airbnb accommodation without the proper permission.

The house-sharing website operates a 90-day limit on the number of days a property can be used as an Airbnb in London, but there are no such restrictions outside the capital.

There are now calls for a similar policy to be put in place for Newcastle and other cities, that would stop homes being constantly rented out to tourists - including hen and stag parties.

Coun Marion Williams raised concerns at the meeting, casting doubt over whether the conversion of empty offices in Grainger Town into 40 flats would be as beneficial as the council hopes.

She said: "I agree that bringing residential into the city centre is so badly needed and a good move.

"But, in this argument about the benefits of having residential accommodation, from my experience in other cities it is much more likely to become Airbnb."

Kath Lawless, the council's assistant director of planning, said that the development in Hood Street which was approved could not be used as Airbnb accommodation, but echoed concerns about the wider impact on the city centre.

She said: "The issue of Airbnb is a national problem and maybe an international problem. …

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