PROJECTS to deal with the impact of short-term letting on Argyll and Bute are due to be finalised in the autumn of 2022, a council officer has said.

Fergus Murray was responding after a councillor’s question on whether a staycation officer’s work will involve monitoring holiday lets, second homes and Airbnbs in the area.

Lomond North independent councillor Mark Irvine also expressed concerns that the authority could spend its staycationing budget, but not address what he felt were the major issues.

A council committee also heard from its staycation officer about plans to deal with camper van owners who do not use their vehicles responsibly in Argyll and Bute.

The discussion took place at a meeting of the authority’s environment, development and infrastructure committee on Thursday, June 2.

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Councillor Irvine asked about the staycation officer’s post: “Is that role also looking at holiday lets, second homes, and Airbnbs across the area? And which committee, going forward, will look at the impact of tourism?

“If you read the National Park plan, their remit seems to be to move tourists on to the next available spot, without dealing with the underlying issues.

“I worry that we end up allocating the budget we have, and do not deal with the bigger long-term problems, especially with the aim of increasing tourism by 15%.”

LibDem Councillor Robin Currie, the council’s leader and the committee’s chair, responded: “The answer to your first question is no – that is another piece of work which we have to get down to very soon regarding Airbnb and short-term lets, because that is going to have a major impact on Argyll and Bute.”

The increasing popularity of, and financial returns on, short-term holiday letting through firms such as Airbnb has led to concerns in other parts of Scotland at the effect on the private rented housing market.

Murray then said: “You raise some very important points in terms of short-term letting. That is going to be work taken forward through my service and environmental health.

“We are required to have that in place by October. It is a challenge as we have probably 2500 short-term lets in Argyll and Bute.

“It is going to be controversial, and how will it impact on housing? But the flipside is that it will help with the economy.

“Alongside that, we are going back to the strategy of tourism. There is one that has been agreed and supported by Visit Scotland and that will be launched soon.

“It is also linked to the new marketing strategy that has been approved, looking at new tourists coming in.”

SNP Councillor Jan Brown then said: “I have gone to a number of community councils, and every one has issues with camper vans.

“Not all communities have camper van parking areas so they have them in passing places, laybys and field entrances.

“Is there any way staycation officers could speak to community councils to allay some fears regarding camper vans?

“It is a great way to see the country and people do want to welcome them, but don’t want them to be a nuisance. It is starting to cause some friction.”

READ MORE: Holyrood votes to bring in licences for Airbnb-style lets in Scotland

Nathan Gallogley, the authority’s staycation officer, replied: “We are keen to help all communities and are currently revisiting some of the sites and approaching new ones.

“We have been in touch with councils when it comes under roads and infrastructure, but are also inducting wardens about camper vans, and people not being responsible.

“It is something we are dealing with.”