Calls to regulate so-called ‘party houses’ in Brighton and Hove

Councillors are being asked to back a fresh call for more powers to regulate so-called ‘party houses’ in Brighton and Hove.

Wednesday, 18th December 2019, 3:23 pm
The motion is due to be discussed at Hove Town Hall

It follows years of complaints about noise, littering, vandalism and alcohol-fuelled anti-social behaviour.

Two Labour members want Brighton and Hove City Council chief executive Geoff Raw to write to the Conservative government to ask for powers to regulate short-term holiday lets.

In a motion due to be debated by the full council on Thursday (19 December) councillors Amanda Evans and Jackie O’Quinn raise their concerns about problems with party houses while recognising that the council has no power to intervene.

Their motion said: “While the vast majority of visitors to our city enjoy themselves without these issues and are very welcome here, we hear residents’ concerns and wish to build on previous work conducted by the council in order to take action against the exceptions.”

They added: “This council now asks for delegated powers so that we can take action where necessary and as appropriate.

“We need regulatory powers to stand up for our residents and ensure holiday lets are conducted in a responsible way.”

Councillors and MPs representing Brighton and Hove have tried to bring in some form of regulation for at least the past eight years.

When the council’s Planning Committee met earlier this month, Independent councillor Bridget Fishleigh raised the issue of party flats in a West Street block.

She asked if a “planning condition” could be put in place to prevent new flats from being used for short-term lets, only to be told that this was not possible.

A noise abatement notice was served on a property in Patcham in September after six months of problems suffered by neighbours.

Green councillor Pete West shared his frustrations with residents in May after receiving multiple complaints about parties and noise from a short-term let in Stanley Road.

In June last year Green councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty called for planning restrictions, similar to those available to councils in London, to give Brighton and Hove greater control of the number of party houses in the city.

Hove MP Peter Kyle sponsored a bill in the House of Commons in 2017 saying that short-term and holiday lets must be registered with a local authority.

Former Labour councillor Adrian Morris asked chief executive Geoff Raw to write to the government in 2016 asking for party houses to be licensed and subject to fire regulations and health and safety laws in the same way as small hotels and B&Bs.

And in a Commons debate in 2011, the former Conservative MP for Brighton Kemptown, Simon Kirby, complained about the noise problems associated with party houses in his constituency.

He said that the problem was turning residential streets into “night clubs for 24-hour partying over the weekends”.

The council is due to meet at Hove Town Hall on Thursday (19 December). The meeting is scheduled to start at 4.30pm and should be open to the public.