The much-debated planning policy which would have confined a majority of Albany’s short-term accommodation options to within a “fence of privilege” was not endorsed by the City council on Tuesday. A committee recommendation to adopt the short-term accommodation local planning policy was defeated 6-3 after almost half an hour of debate. The policy would have largely limited short-term accommodation to the Albany CBD, Middleton Beach, Mira Mar, Centennial Park and Seppings, as well as parts of Emu Point, Collingwood Park and Mt Melville, due to their central location and proximity to the tourism area. It would not have included Little Grove and Goode Beach, which had been included in the City of Albany’s “preferred areas for holiday accommodation” in its holiday accommodation policy, which would have been superseded by the new policy. Cr Robert Sutton said the policy “really gets my shackles up” because the choice should be for the people, “not only people who are choosing accommodation to stay, but the people who choose to invest”. He said the performance criteria laid out in the policy to allow applications from outside the designated area to be assessed on a case-by-case basis was unfair and suggested it could end up being “not worth the paper it’s written on”. “What we’re going to have here will be a right in some areas and then you have to jump through hoops in other areas,” he said. Cr John Shanhun said he had “serious problems” with the draft policy, including the advice given by the Department of Fire and Emergency Services. He said in his experience attending fires it was not the tourists who caused problems, but the “stupid locals”. “Running in to get their horses, trying to get in to get their assets, getting their caravans out, running through police lines etc,” he said. “This policy is overreach.” Cr Thomas Brough said the policy was being grafted on to one part of the city as “the chosen land” and was “asphyxiating” the rest with red tape. “If we vote this motion down we can bring it back to council in the new year and get rid of that CBD privilege fence, and I think if we do that we’ll get people on board,” he said. Cr Matt Benson-Lidholm also said there was too much red tape in the policy and he would support it coming back to the council after further discussions. Cr Greg Stocks said he acknowledged the council had a quasi-judicial function to not breach State law, but he was uncomfortable as someone who lived withim the “fence of privilege” that other people “wanting to make an extra dollar” did not have that opportunity. Speaking for the policy, Cr Chris Thomson said there was room in the policy for performance assessment of applications outside of the designated area, and Cr Paul Terry said it would ensure residential areas “are primarily there for residential”. Before the debate on the policy, short-stay accommodation providers Emily Fergie and Stacey Murnane spoke during public question time. Ms Murnane, who operates Great Southern Stays, said there needed to be more consultation with “existing short-term accommodation management companies in town”. Mayor Dennis Wellington, Cr Thomson and Cr Terry voted for the policy to be adopted. Crs Sandie Smith and Malcolm Traill left council chambers after declaring financial disclosures of interest in the item. Cr Amanda Cruse was an apology for the meeting.