Welsh councillor calls Airbnb a “blight on communities”

UK: Welsh Councillor Aaron Wynne attacked Airbnb this week, calling the platform a “blight on communities,” and stating he wants to ban the platform in Wales.

He further claimed that the site was damaging both the tourism industry and the housing stock in North Wales.

Local councillor for Cynghorydd Llanrwst and 2021 candidate for Senedd, Wynne has been critical about the impact of holiday homes on his community. He primarily notes that properties marketed as suitable to be turned into Airbnbs can prevent young people from getting onto the housing ladder.

Wynne said in a statement: “It’s just not sustainable to have so much of our housing stock out of the reach of the people who want to and need to live here. The Welsh government needs to act and change the planning rules so homes can’t be turned over to be used for commercial interests that do not benefit our communities.”

Research done by NorthWalesLive shows that over 40 Airbnbs are available for rent within a mile of the centre of Conwy.

Scottish councillors have provided similar arguments for potential restrictions in the country as well. The licensing scheme, which was approved in January, has been delayed to 2022 to allow municipalities to create their own schemes.

His statement also criticises the potential impact on local tourism. The income provided to holiday homeowners, Wynne argues, undercuts the business done by hotels in the area.

Local hoteliers have noted the impact of short-term rentals but have said an outright ban would be difficult to implement. Some have proposed a wider system of restrictions, in the form of rental caps or registration systems.

Nathan Cousins, group sales and marketing at the Anderbury Hotel Collection, told NorthWalesLive: “It would be almost impossible to ban Airbnb. Even though they do negatively impact local housing and take market share from B&Bs and hotels they can bring positive elements to certain areas by bringing visitors to stay in areas in North Wales that don’t normally have tourists staying.”