Home   News   Article

YOUR VIEWS: Fears licensing woes will create more trouble ahead for Highland businesses

By Andrew Dixon

Register for free to read more of the latest local news. It's easy and will only take a moment.

Click here to sign up to our free newsletters!
New rules are in place for people who operate short term lets.
New rules are in place for people who operate short term lets.

Last week my life was made miserable by my wife. She is a chartered surveyor and still struggled to complete and download the short term licensing application form.

Over the last few months it was a challenge to get tradespeople, and when they came they charged well over their normal rate. Downloading the paperwork required a visit to a young cousin for tech help. With the job done, apart from the £2000 cost, the pain is over for now.

As a Highland councillor my inbox has been full of messages from upset and angry people. An 80-year-old lady in Plockton who rents out her spare room for a couple of months in the summer, people with pods furious that they had to apply for each separately. Guesthouse owners complaining that the hotel next door with the same number of rooms didn’t have to do it. Many struggling with getting plans drawn or finding tradespeople. There will be a massive shortage of accommodation available next summer which will in turn hit restaurants and visitor centres, and available beds will be at a higher price.

As Humza Yousaf claims he is trying to reset the SNP’s troubled relationship with business, he has scored several own goals in alienating tens of thousands of small businesses in the hospitality industry. I can’t help but believe that one of the major reasons for this intrusive and painful exercise to have taken place is so that an extra tax can be imposed on us hospitality owners in due course.

Angus MacDonald, Highland councillor

I think this short term let licence the Scottish Government has imposed on us is just despicable. Talk about supporting small businesses?!

In fact, it is actually putting small businesses out of business! It has cost me over £1800 to get the licence for one small flat.

I turned my flat into a short term let purely because I could not get a permanent rent for over eight months. No one local wanted it. I have supported Alness with holiday travellers, visiting nurses, doctors and workmen for the area, and I’m now being penalised. Well done Scottish Government.

Guess this will cause a huge financial loss to the area as well, with the visiting public going elsewhere. So short-sighted of the Scottish Government.

Kay McCarroll, Alness

Tory group leader at council steps back from role

It is with sadness I note that Councillor Helen Crawford has decided to step back as our group leader.

Helen has been very proactive and hard working over the last year, for example bringing the voices of the private nursery groups to be heard and represented in the council chamber. It has been a pleasure to work alongside Helen. We have had an amazing year developing new roots within our HSCU [Highland Scottish Conservative and Unionist] group across the chamber.

The public do not always know what goes on behind the scenes with the daily lives of councillors. We do have other commitments.

We have to juggle a variety of public and private issues. Helen has been amazing and worked so hard for the SCU group.

I fully support her, and it will not have been an easy decision to step back. It was meant to be a joint role and then becoming almost full-time understandably has its consequences. The life of a Highland councillor can be bittersweet.

Isabelle MacKenzie, Highland councillor

Helen has highlighted the rates of literacy and numeracy in Highland schools which are ranked the worst in Scotland and worked to seek solutions and support for Highland school pupils.

Her work and commitment to early years nursery education has resulted in more, much-needed, resources being given to the sector.

Helen’s work on the council has gained her, and the Scottish Conservative group, respect across the chamber and this will continue as we look towards a new leader.

I’m saddened that she is stepping down as leader of the Conservative council group but I know she’ll continue to work hard for Aird and Loch Ness.

Mary Scanlon, Highland Conservative and Unionist Association chairwoman

Green port should hinge on upgrading A9

I am concerned about the A9 road and access to the proposed green port.

A future problem will be all the heavy lorries coming and going to Invergordon – no mention is being made of the impact of such numerous and heavy loads that will add to the traffic density.

The access roads to Invergordon are not designed for such heavy traffic, never mind the A9. Can the Cromarty causeway carry such a heavy loading of traffic?

The green port project should be contingent on the upgrade of the A9 as well as roads around Invergordon. There does not seem to be joined-up thinking of the effect of heavy traffic from the green port, if it goes ahead.

I would like to know more about how the green port traffic is being organised and what assessment the government has made in forward road planning considerations.

Charles Robb, Inverness

Hopes family will be rehoused due to earwig issues

Wow! Sorry to the mum and child for having to go through this [earwig infestation problems at their home, Courier, Tuesday, October 3].

I’ve been through similar and don’t underestimate the consequences on the young one’s mental health when getting older.

I had a phobia for creepy crawlies and it was no joke. I hope they get rehoused quickly.

Kevin, Inverness

Do you want to respond to this article? If so, click here to submit your thoughts and they may be published in print.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More