Glasgow short-term let objectors told to 'do a wee bit more homework'

Community councils opposed to short-term lets in Glasgow have been urged to “do a wee bit more homework” before objecting.

Glasgow’s licensing committee chairman, Cllr Alex Wilson, SNP, said he wanted to see more “hard evidence” in representations relating to short-term let applications.

His comments came as councillors approved three short-term let licences despite opposition from community councils.

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Cllr Wilson also said parts of an objection from Cllr Elaine McDougall, who represents Dennistoun on Glasgow City Council, were “nonsense”.

Anderston Community Council had objected to a bid for a licence to let a flat on Brown Street in the city centre.

Cllr Wilson said it was “generic” and included “sweeping statements”, with the community council “saying that it is going to be a party flat”.

“They’ve got no evidence of that,” he added. “They haven’t seen it advertised on social media. They are saying anti-social behaviour, they've got no evidence of that regarding your flat."

The committee heard the objection suggested the use would serve no benefit to the local area as well as threatening behaviour from people in the properties.

A representative from the management company used by the owner said he deplored the term ‘party flats’ and the terms and conditions are “extremely clear” on what is allowed. He added he has seen “no evidence” of threatening behaviour.

Councillors were told the firm offers stays for a minimum of three nights and has provided accommodation to film companies and local businesses as well as working with housing associations to accommodate “people who are displaced”.

The objection also raised the city’s housing emergency, the committee heard. The applicant said the property would likely be used “by a student or someone who is working local to the area” if it wasn’t a short-term let.

“I don’t think it necessarily solves the housing emergency Glasgow families face for affordable accommodation,” he added.

Hillhead Community Council had objected to an application for home letting at Ruskin Lane in the West End. The owner, who works at the University of Glasgow, said he lets his home over the summer.

He said he had been using Airbnb for over seven years without a complaint and the property has a private car parking space.

Cllr Wilson said: “I would love community councils to actually put in hard evidence when they come to object. I would actually like to see some facts from community councils when it comes to making objections and representations.”

Permission was granted to let a flat at Old Dumbarton Road despite an objection from Yorkhill & Kelvingrove Community Council. Cllr Wilson said its “main gripe” was over shared communal access.

The applicant said the property was on the ground floor and visitors only passed one flat to access it.

Cllr Wilson responded: “I don’t want to make a sweeping statement but community councils have decided they are going to object to everything regarding short-term lets and HMOs.

“I wish they would do a wee bit more homework when it comes to things like this.”

Cllr McDougall, Labour, had objected to a home sharing application for a property in Dennistoun. Cllr Wilson said the representation stated the home was in a conservation area, should be used by a family and that flat sharing would increase litter, refuse and parking.

“I will take the last point she made first,” he added. “Flat sharing will increase litter, refuse and parking, absolute nonsense. Where is the evidence?”

He said a family home could “make way more rubbish” or “could have a couple of cars”.

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A representative for the applicant said: “It is a family home, it’s our family home, we’ve there for 17 years.”

He added they have spare capacity currently and had previously had refugees stay. He also said large parts of the West End and the city centre, where there are short-term lets, are in conservation areas.

Cllr Wilson said: “I’m as bemused as you are. It’s not as if you’re going to suddenly bring in lots and lots of students to stay. You’re inviting someone into your home.”

The application was approved.