Short Termism

Today we had first sight of the summary responses to the Scottish Government’s consultation on short-term lets. Amongst other shocking stats we learnt that of all of the housing available in the City Centre ward, one in six properties are now Airbnbs, with more than 2,710 out of nearly 16,759 houses listed on the short-term letting website.
That’s effectively a whole community destroyed.
“Evidence was found for a reduced availability of housing including affordability, as well as a wider impact on the local economy and public services.

The report also highlighted a negative impact on the quality of life and well-being of residents, as well as increased tourism and the changing faces of communities as detrimental after-effects.”

No shit Sherlock.

Scottish Green housing and communities spokesperson Andy Wightman said:
“I am pleased that the residents who responded to the consultation were broadly agreed that more regulation is needed and that those who own these properties should be held accountable, but the SNP teamed up with the Tories and yielded to industry lobbyists in the face of my proposals. Now is the time for the Scottish Government to make some serious progress on this issue.”

As the Evenings News reporter Conor Matchett says: “Some mind-boggling stats in the Scot Gov’s short-term let consultation report, much of which backs up what both I and @Effy_Yeomans have reported this year. Nearly 70% of all Scottish Airbnbs are full properties, with over half in Edinburgh and the Highlands.”

This isn’t people renting out a room or a small flat. This is big business.

But this is not just an urban problem.

As Lesley Riddoch has pointed out: “There are a staggering 300 airbnbs in Skye, and the SNP voted againstAndy Wightman’s proposal for greater regulation via amendments to the planning bill” [more here].

Meanwhile, as politicians ignore this massive social problem because they are mesmerised by the Tourism Dollar, for no apparent reason Oktoberfest is back (!)

Yes, Edinburgh is told: “Barmaids with arms full of foam-topped steins. Men in lederhosen belting out songs. Brass bands playing in the background and bratwurst sizzling away on top of grills. Together it can only mean one thing – Oktoberfest is coming back to Edinburgh”.

The Borders Railyway twitterstream (wtf?) tweets: “Raise a stein in the capital! Jump on a train and head for the Edinburgh #Oktoberfest, from 30 Oct – 3 Nov. Just a stone’s throw from Waverley station, this celebration of German culture features traditional music, food and of course beer.”

The Evening News dribbles:

“In West Princes Street Gardens, a tent filled with rows of tables and colourful revellers will transform the area into a hub of German culture.”

We’re told that: “Drinkers wishing to get into full swing of the event can hire lederhosen and dirndl for just £29 on the day from the Oktoberfest gift shop, as well as moustaches, hats, socks and flags to get into the spirit of the event.”

Meanwhile Ian Semple tell us that the actual Oktoberfest produces ‘ten times as much methane as Boston’.

But you’ve got to love the effort to present this as a homespun little venture.

The Evening News tells us: “Carsten Raun, Oktoberfest Edinburgh’s sole organiser said: “I’ve been in Munich and I had the idea to bring Oktoberfest events to the UK because so many people travel to it and sometimes it seems like a competition, this way many people can get involved even if they can’t travel.”

Given the massive infrastructure, the invasion of public space and the lack of planning permission, we think maybe Carsten ‘s not running this themselves?

Oh look – it’s Underbelly!

This is short-termism for housing, short-termism for common assets like parks and open spaces and short-termism for culture.

It’s shame Scotland doesn’t have any culture or local businesses of its own to promote eh?

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