Daniel Zeichner, Member of Parliament for Cambridge, has welcomed news that enforcement action against an Airbnb property in the city has been upheld by the Planning Inspectorate, after the property owner had appealed the action taken by the Labour-led Cambridge City Council earlier in the year.
Mr Zeichner and local Labour representatives have been campaigning in support of local residents for over a year following complaints about the noise and disruption created by those staying at the Airbnb property, located on Richmond Road. The Cambridge City Council took enforcement action against the property owner for attempting to – without permission – convert their home into commercially-run ‘Airbnb’ short-let visitor accommodation.
Daniel Zeichner, MP for Cambridge, said: “I am pleased the City Council had their enforcement action against this property upheld by the Planning Inspectorate. I hope this case is a turning point; it is important local authorities have the freedom to do what is necessary in ensuring quiet residential areas, like Richmond Road, are not adversely impacted by unsuitable short-term ‘Airbnb‘-style rental accommodation.
“Of course, Airbnb and similar platforms allow great flexibility for hosts and customers alike, but this must remain about a real sharing economy. Councils need additional tools at their disposal, as I advocated in the summer, to prevent commercial operators using the popularity of Airbnb as an excuse to flout planning regulations and restrictions.”
Cllr Claire Richards said: “I have worked with the local Residents’ Association, residents, the City Council and Daniel Zeichner on this issue over the last 18 months. There are many homes in Cambridge that are used occasionally for Airbnb type lets without any problems, however in this instance that was not the case. The noise and disruption from 17 Richmond Road was having an adverse effect on the lives of local residents and this decision says that local communities should get a say if short term commercial lets are changing the nature of the neighbourhood.”
“I want to thank residents and the local Residents’ Association for their input and hard work on this. The planning inspectorate report referenced their statements and it is clear that the response of the local community had a very real impact on achieving this outcome.”
The appeal lodged by the property owner to the Planning Inspectorate was deemed to be one of many recent ‘test cases’ across the country involving Airbnb’s that may set an eventual precedent as to the future growth and placement of this kind of market accommodation. The Cambridge MP believed the decision by the Planning Inspectorate justifies his view that local authorities must have the ability to deal with the rapid growth of sharing platforms like Airbnb.
Mr Zeichner worked alongside Gordon Marsden MP, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Tourism, and Lord Lee of Trafford in producing a report, released in July, which explored the impact of platforms like Airbnb on the housing market, residential lettings, visitors’ safety, and whether benefits to local residents outweigh costs. The report concluded that councils should have extra powers to manage the boom of this kind of short-term letting accommodation.