Leith Walk/Halmyre Street Place Brief

The Leith Walk/Halmyre Street Place Brief is now online. The approved place brief provides guidance for a co-ordinated approach to a housing-led, mixed use development on a site east of Leith Walk and west of Halmyre Street.

The place brief has been prepared by the Council’s planning service in collaboration with other Council services. It has involved extensive engagement with the local community and other stakeholders through a series of community engagement events held in January this year, covered in this blog back in May.

Future planning applications for any part of the site will be required to address the principles within the place brief to ensure that development helps to create a good place.

The place brief has the status of non-statutory planning guidance and will be a material consideration in the determination of relevant planning applications.

You can download the full place brief here.

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Colinton Conservation Area Character Appraisal

The revised Colinton Conservation Area Character Appraisal is now online. Conservation Area Character Appraisals are intended to help manage change. They provide an agreed basis of understanding of what makes an area special.

This understanding informs and provides the context in which decisions can be made on proposals which may affect that character.

An enhanced level of understanding, combined with appropriate management tools, ensures that change and development sustains and respects the qualities and special characteristics of the area.

The richness of Colinton’s built heritage is considerable. It is this complexity and diversity which make it attractive yet make these qualities hard to define.

These are qualities and conflicts that must be resolved if the character of Colinton is to be sensitively interpreted and enhanced.

You can download the full Conservation Area Character Appraisal here

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Short term lets

A short term let is a property which is let out to visitors on a commercial basis for short periods of time.  Often the whole property is let as holiday accommodation.  In other cases, the host will continue to live in the property and let out a room or rooms to visitors.

We have a best practice checklist which provides hosts with information about what consents are required and how visitors should be managed to protect the amenity of neighbours.  It is available to download from the Council’s website.

Where a whole property is let on a commercial basis to visitors, it is likely that planning permission is required. 

Our Planning Enforcement team is currently targeting properties believed to be operating on a commercial basis and where harm to residential amenity is being reported by neighbouring residents.

If you believe that a property is being used in this way but doesn’t have planning permission then you can report it using our online form.  This page also contains a link to the Council’s Planning Enforcement Charter. 

The Council is working with the Scottish Government to introduce new ways of regulating short term lets in Edinburgh.  More proposals will be announced over coming months.

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Optimising new housing for recycling and waste collection

Are you an architect or developer with plans for new housing in Edinburgh? The Councils’ Waste and Cleansing team has a new webpage where you can download detailed instructions which explain how to optimise your scheme for integrated recycling and waste collection and comply with the law and Council policies.

The advice applies where you’re planning new housing, converting an existing property into flats or converting another type of property into housing. It’ll help you make sure your proposals are operationally viable, meet the needs of residents and have space for all waste types.

Our top tip is to contact our Waste and Cleansing service colleagues as soon as you can – you’ll then be able to draw up compliant plans that avoid expensive changes to your design.

And for general planning advice on integrating waste management facilities as part of the design process, check out our Edinburgh Design Guidance (Section 2.14, pg 92).

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Planning Performance Framework 2019-2020

On 31 July we submitted our ninth Planning Performance Framework to Scottish Government.

View Planning Performance Framework

Since 2012, all Scottish planning authorities have prepared an annual PPF – they’re used by Scottish Government to gauge how a planning authority’s performing against a national  toolkit of statistical and quality measures.

PPF 2019-2020 reviews the activity and performance of the Council’s Planning service between April 2019 and March 2020. It looks at the quality of outcomes on the ground, how well we’ve engaged customers and communities, our governance arrangements and how we’re embedding a culture of continuous improvement.

Fourteen case studies are highlighted, including: ‘Choices’ – City Plan 2030’s main issues report; the conversion of the former House of Fraser store on Princes Street to the Johnnie Walker Experience; the Granton Waterfront Development Framework; the Edinburgh Biodiversity Action Plan; and our new paid-for pre-application advice service.

The Covid-19 pandemic and its effect on how we deliver our service impacted right at the end of this year’s PPF period but it’s sure to feature heavily in next year’s submission.

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Viewing tree preservation orders online

As we have written previously, the restrictions imposed due to the Covid -19 pandemic have meant that there has been a need to publicise applications and decisions made online.

In addition to this, we are now advertising new tree preservation orders (TPOs) made by the council online on a new page on the Council website. These would usually only be advertised in print, at our offices and at local libraries.

TPOs protect trees that contribute to amenity, or have historical or cultural significance. Anyone can propose a tree (or groups of trees and woodland) be protected and full details on how to do so and what criteria is used to consider them can be found here.

In addition, we are now showing all TPOs on our online Council GIS Atlas. You can view these by selecting the TPOs layer under the Planning list, as highlighted in the below screenshot.

screenshot-atlas1

You can then click the arrow highlighted below to find out more about that specific TPO.

screenshot-atlas2

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Planning and Building Standards Service COVID -19 Update (26 June 2020)

This is our latest update to the continuing changes to the planning service as we adapt to the restrictions needed during the COVID -19 outbreak.

screenshot-lrb

Screenshot from our most recent online local review body.

Local review body

We have held our first meetings of the local review body online, held over Skype, to continue our statutory duty to process relevant appeals. Two have been held successfully and we will be continuing this format.

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Screenshot from our most recent online development management sub-committee.

Development management sub-committee

Similarly, we have continued holding online meetings of the development management sub-committee and these will continue to be held over the summer.

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Screenshot of the virtual planning appeal hearing held recently.

Planning hearing

We have taken part in a virtual planning appeal hearing, run by the Scottish Government’s Planning and Environmental Appeals Division.  This was the first in Scotland and ran very smoothly in terms of technology. The webcast of the hearing is now available to view.

Weekly list

We have moved the publishing of the weekly list, showing all applications and decisions made, to an online format due to the restrictions on advertising. In addition to this, we are piloting a new interactive map which shows all applications and decisions in each weeks list.

We have received positive feedback on this new way to view planning applications. We would like to thank those of you who sent us your comments, which will help us evaluate the pilot.

Choices for City Plan

The consultation on our next local development plan, Choices for City Plan, received 1800+ responses. A new Development Plan Scheme setting out the timetable for the preparation of the proposed plan will be presented to committee this summer.

Planning help desk

We are now providing a planning help desk service by email at planning@edinburgh.gov.uk. We think this will be particularly useful to businesses looking for advice on planning as they adapt and emerge from lockdown in line with national changes.

Wellbeing survey

We have also carried out a staff wellbeing survey, completed by most of our colleagues, to help us get an idea of how we will support our staff to continue providing services and completing our projects while working from our homes.

We will be continuing to use this blog to provide updates, so please subscribe to receive further updates.

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Weekly List Interactive Map

We have written previously about the need to publicise applications and decisions made online, due to Covid -19 restrictions preventing us from using our usual way of advertising.

We have already been publishing our weekly lists online here, but we are now trialling a new tool to show this weekly list of new applications and decisions in the form of an interactive GIS map. We hope this will be a way to view the list of applications in a way that gives a better, user-friendly and visually interesting overview.

Using the Map

Click here to go to the Weekly List Map, and the screen should show a map of the city as below:

screen1

The map shows all application and decisions advertised in the weekly list, with red dots showing where new applications have been made and blue dots showing where we have made a decision. You can use the ‘find address or place’ bar to go to a valid location or address when typed in.

If you zoom into the map, further detail is provided and the dots become shapes which show the boundary of each application:

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Clicking on each dot or shape, and then on the arrow that pops up will show more detail about each application including a link to the application page on the planning portal:

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This map will be updated weekly along with the weekly list. It will be trialled initially for six weeks to see how well it is used and how useful people find it. Please let us know your thoughts on this new tool by leaving a comment here on the blog, or sending an email to Planning.ServiceDelivery@edinburgh.gov.uk with your comments.

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Planning and Building Standards Service COVID -19 Update (22 May 2020)

virtual dmsub west craigs masterplan

Presentation on a masterplan for housing at West Craigs at the most recent virtual Development Management Sub-committee

This is our latest update to the continuing changes to the planning service as we adapt to the restrictions needed during the COVID -19 outbreak.

Development Management Sub-Committee

This week saw our first ‘virtual’ meeting of the Development Management Sub-Committee.  The meeting was webcast live and went pretty smoothly thanks to a lot of preparation by all concerned.

We’ve learned that it takes a lot more resource than traditional meetings in the City Chambers. Behind-the-screens work included having back-up planners on stand-by in case of IT issues, and partners/children/pets being banished from the house, or at least the wi-fi router.

The meeting allowed several important cases to be discussed by the elected members in the sub-committee. These include some key sites in the current Local Development Plan reaching significant milestones.

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Discussion with councillors at the most recent virtual Development Management Sub-committee

We intend to hold virtual sub-committees on a regular basis from here on, which will allow us to make and issue decisions to support economic renewal and a positive future for the city.

Extended duration of Listed Building and Conservation Area Consents

The Coronavirus (Scotland) (No. 2) Bill has passed through the parliament and will soon become an Act. The Bill makes changes to some of the duties of public bodies. These changes will allow essential public services to continue to be delivered and support businesses and individuals in Scotland.

The Act will extend the duration of a listed building consent or a conservation area consent that would otherwise lapse during the emergency period because the works have not begun. The emergency period is the period beginning with the Act coming into force and ending on 6 October 2020.

Consents to which this applies will instead lapse at the end of an extended period which ends on 6 April 2021 unless works have begun before the end of the extended period.

Planning reform

Despite the restrictions around Coronavirus, work is still progressing on the implementation of the work programme for the Planning (Scotland) Act, which seeks to make changes to the Scottish planning system as part of a wider review of the system.

Two new provisions of the Planning (Scotland) Act are now in place. The first introduces a statutory requirement for certain types of development to include accessible toilet facilities which meet specific technical standards. Details of the standards and type of development this applies to can be found here, and this will now apply to these types of developments in Edinburgh as well as across Scotland.

The second introduces a power for planning authorities to designate parts of their council areas as short-term let control areas, as a further means of controlling where short-term lets may be permitted. There will need to further Council-wide discussions before we consider the use of this power. Details can be found here.

Further updates

We will continue to adapt and change our service as necessary to ensure we can continue working for the recovery of the city, such as with our previous updates to our pre-application service, weekly lists and site notices.

Please subscribe to the blog by email to receive further updates as soon as they are posted to stay up-to-date.

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Leith Walk/Halmyre Street Place Brief

Old View of the site looking south

(c) RCHAMS

We are looking for views on a draft Place Brief that has been developed for a site between Leith Walk and Halmyre Street. We are creating Place Briefs to guide the redevelopment of key sites in the city.

The site has lain empty for a few years since the demolition of the former tram depot. There are now plans to redevelop this backland area.

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In January this year we hosted a number of drop in events to give the public, local interest groups and stakeholders the chance to talk to us about the site. Thank you to everyone who came along and engaged in some in-depth and lively conversations.

Over 230 people completed the online questionnaire to tell us what they like about the area, in particular the strong identity and the diversity of the community in Leith. They also told us about some issues they are concerned about such as traffic and parking pressures and the desire for more affordable housing and green places to meet.

We have used this information to help shape a draft Place Brief for the Leith Walk/Halmyre Street site. This brief sets out a vision and key principles to inform the design of future development on the site. We would like to hear your views on the draft brief.

Leith Walk site analysis location 2

Due to the Covid-19 lockdown the online consultation has been extended until 1 June 2020, so there is still time for you to give us your thoughts on the draft. The consultation can be accessed here. There are links to the draft brief and some supporting documents including a summary of the previous consultation.

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