Stag and hen ‘party houses’ in York banned from use as holiday lets

Ascot Mews, Emerald Street, York, with inset, Cllr Fiona Fitzpatrick. Main picture: Google Maps
Ascot Mews, Emerald Street, York, with inset, Cllr Fiona Fitzpatrick. Main picture: Google Maps

Two York properties that have been advertised for stag and hen parties of up to 25 people can no longer be used as short-term holiday lets such as Airbnbs after councillors said they were causing too much trouble for neighbours.

Nicholas Tate applied for retrospective planning permission to change the use of one and two Ascot Mews in Emerald Street into short-term holiday let accommodation.

Guildhall ward councillor Fiona Fitzpatrick ‘called in’ the application so it could be scrutinised by a planning committee.

She said: “Sometimes on a Friday afternoon you can have huge parties turning up – same sex groups of up to 22 in partying mode. It really isn’t in keeping with the family nature of the street.

“It’s a quite compact area and community cohesion has been drastically affected by this.”

Neighbours have complained of drunken behaviour and loud music into the early hours of the morning.

Holgate councillor Rachel Melly told the committee: “Beyond the personal profit of the owner, there is no economic benefit to allowing yet another full house short-term holiday in an area where there is already a high density of this sort of accommodation.”

Properties can be changed to short-term holiday lets without the owner necessarily needing to seek planning permission for change of use, but planning officers argued that the way both properties in Ascot Mews were being used meant this was needed.

They argued that the impact on neighbours meant the application should be refused.

The applicant said he would restrict each house to six people and ensure both properties were not booked for a single large group, but officers said this would be “extremely hard to control”.

Cllr Jonny Crawshaw said: “We don’t want to say that Airbnbs absolutely anywhere and everywhere should all be removed, but I think there’s quite a significant difference between that and essentially party houses that have a massive impact on the neighbourhood.”

Cllr Janet Looker said it would be an ideal home for families.

Cllr Denise Craghill added: “In a quiet cul-de-sac it really is inappropriate.”

It is understood that three Ascot Mews is also in use as a short-term let, but under separate ownership.

Councillors in York city centre have become increasingly concerned about the growth of short-term holiday letting on local communities and the housing market. York Central MP Rachael Maskell is also trying to tighten restrictions on them in Parliament.