An east Suffolk councillor has slammed plans to introduce planning permission for short term lets to crack down on holiday lets as "too late" and after "the horse has bolted".

David Beavan, East Suffolk Council's cabinet member for housing, was critical of the announcement by the government's Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) that short term lets would be subject to the planning process.

The aim of the proposal is to stop short term lets preventing people from finding homes they can afford to buy or rent and ensure they can continue to live in "the place they call home".

READ MORE: New planning law welcomed to curb Suffolk holiday homes

The new rules mean that planning permission will be required for future short term lets, although homeowners can continue to let their own or sole home for up to 90 nights a year without needing planning permission.

But Mr Beavan said a licencing system was needed to control the number of short term lets, not a "planning use class that just stops any more".

He was also critical of Michael Gove, Secretary of State for the DLUHC, for coming up with the idea.

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East Anglian Daily Times: Southwold councillor David Beavan has slammed Government plans for short term lets as 'too late' and after 'the horse has bolted'Southwold councillor David Beavan has slammed Government plans for short term lets as 'too late' and after 'the horse has bolted' (Image: Sarah Lucy Brown)Mr Beavan said: "This is too late. The horse has bolted. A third of Southwold homes are holiday lets.

"That is too many. We need a licencing system to control the number in any town, not a planning use class that just stops any more.

"It is typical of Gove in an election year to come up with an idea that sounds good but has limited effect and takes ages to happen.

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"We are still waiting for the double council tax on second homes, meanwhile new loopholes are explored and exploited."

A new mandatory national register will also be created to give authorities the information they need about short term lets.

Mr Gove said: "These changes will ensure people have more control over housing in their cherished communities.

“We know short term lets can be helpful for the tourist economy, but we are now giving councils the tools to bring them under control so that local people can rent those homes as well.

“These changes strike a balance between giving local people access to more affordable housing, while ensuring the visitor economy continues to flourish."