Concern over impact of large numbers of Airbnb properties in Suffolk

Towns like Southwold have large numbers of properties listed on Airbnb Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Towns like Southwold have large numbers of properties listed on Airbnb Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Concerns have been raised about the impact on tourism towns of high levels of properties listed as Airbnb accommodation in Suffolk.

Towns like Southwold have large numbers of properties listed on Airbnb Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Towns like Southwold have large numbers of properties listed on Airbnb Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

It follows a Guardian investigation which found high levels of Airbnbs in some parts of the country - including some places where one-in-four properties provided the service.

Coastal areas of Suffolk have some of the highest numbers of listings for Airbnb properties in the county.

The Woodbridge area is home to around 100 listings, while Southwold has around 250 and Aldeburgh over 300.

It's not the first time that concerns have been raised about the use of some properties in the county with areas like Southwold in particular having historically been found to be home to huge numbers of second homes.

James Lightfoot says that Airbnb has brought tourism benefits to Woodbridge Picture: SIMON PARKER

James Lightfoot says that Airbnb has brought tourism benefits to Woodbridge Picture: SIMON PARKER


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David Beavan, town and district councillor for Southwold, said he was concerned about the amount of Airbnb properties within the town.

"The particular problem is when people book large houses for parties," said Mr Beavan.

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Mr Beavan said that in his view those wishing to rent out their house should apply for a change of use through planning authorities.

"They don't care because they are not living there,"said Mr Beavan.

"It's the sort of thing that should not be happening in a residential area."

Mr Beavan suggested that the introduction of a 'tourist tax' may be one way of helping people to pay for the impact it has on some areas.

Not everyone is concerned, however, by the amount of Airbnbs in the local area.

Indeed, some places believe that they are benefitting their towns.

James Lightfoot, director of Choose Woodbridge, said Airbnbs are helping tourism.

Mr Lightfoot said: "It is good news for Woodbridge businesses that so many owners of our lovely houses are happy to make them available for people to visit our wonderful town."

Patrick Robinson, director of public policy at Airbnb, said: "This data is wrong and the methodology is flawed. It assumes that every listing on Airbnb - including hotel rooms, B+Bs and rooms in homes - is an entire home, which is untrue.

"Nearly half of entire home listings on Airbnb are rented for less than 30 nights a year and more than half of all hosts say they rely on the additional income to help afford their home."

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