Changes to Permitted Development Rights from April 1st

Permitted development rights are types of works, usually less complex and minor proposals such as small alterations and extensions that can be carried out without the need to apply for planning permission. From April 1st,  new extended permitted development rights came into force which allow residents of both houses and flats to build structures and cycle stores within both their front and rear gardens.

Permitted development rights relating to bike stores, which are of particular relevance to active travel improvements within the city, allow a structure within the rear curtilage of a tenement for the specific use of storing bicycles. There is no limit on the dimensions of any bike store. However, only one such bike store can be erected, and these rights do not apply to listed buildings or sites within the boundary of the World Heritage Site. The resulting bike store cannot create an obstruction to light to another building.

Bike store criteria if you live in a tenement flat with a rear communal garden

Further changes to permitted development rights include the conversion of agricultural/forestry buildings into dwellings or flexible commercial developments, and expanded telecommunications development.

For more information on the updated criteria for incidental structures/bike stores, please see the Council’s quick guide to sheds and incidental buildings.

For a general overview of the wider changes to the new Permitted Development Order, please see the Scottish Government’s Transforming Planning website.

Customer Update – Applications

In the last few months we have been experiencing a record level of incoming applications – the highest for at least two years.  This is positive for the city and its residents and businesses, and we’re proud that in this period we’ve also been able to determine a record number of applications and keep average decision times down.  

As a service it is a particularly challenging time and we are looking at existing resources and new processes to help us manage this high level of caseload.

We remain committed to providing good customer care for each application but inevitably, it is going to take a bit longer than normal to process applications. Because we are concentrating on determining applications as quickly as possible, there will be an impact on other aspects of our work such as responding to queries.

Please be patient and understanding – we will get there but it is going to take a little longer.

If you have recently submitted or are about to submit an application, please pay particular attention to your acknowledgement letter at this time.

Help us to help you:

It would help significantly if you could provide the following information at the time of application submission:

  • Photographs showing the location of the work and the wider context (including interiors for listed building consent applications)
  • Dimensions on the plans
  • Contextual information i.e. neighbouring windows/ extensions (if relevant)
  • 45 degree daylighting calculations (if relevant)

Watch this space for further updates coming out of the recent Customer Forum sessions and thank you for your help as we support the city’s recovery.

You can keep up to date with Planning Edinburgh by:

Non-Material Variation Service

We are pleased to announce the launch of our new Non-Material Variation Service.

As previously mentioned on the Planning Edinburgh blog a few weeks ago, this is part of our wider efforts to improve customer service and consistency across the service.

A Non-Material Variation (NMV) application is a proposal to change an approved development that will not significantly alter what was granted planning permission.

Starting from 1 April 2021, we have introduced a new and streamlined way to apply for NMVs, with a new formalised Application Form and Customer Guidance for applying. It will allow us to process NMVs in a more efficient way.

NMV applications will now also be subject to a charge based on the scale of your development.

Developments which are primarily related to improving accessibility for people with disabilities are exempt.

What is a Non-Material Variation?

NMVs are permitted under Section 64 of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997, which makes provision for the variation of planning permission once it has been granted, provided the changes are not material.

A non-material variation essentially means that the proposed changes to a development will not significantly alter the scheme that was originally granted planning permission.

When considering a request for a non-material variation, planning officers will consider the cumulative impact of the proposed change alongside any other requests for non-material variations that have been made previously.

What permissions does a NMV relate to?

A non-material variation can only relate to a planning permission that has been granted. It is tied to the original planning permission and is not a new consent.

It is also important that you check and confirm any changes with Building Standards to ensure that any variations proposed in your NMV application still comply with the relevant Building Regulations.

How do you apply for a NMV?

All applications for non-material variations should be made using the application form on our website: www.edinburgh.gov.uk/nonmaterialvariations

The application form and supporting drawings should be submitted by email to nonmaterialvariations@edinburgh.gov.uk

Payments should be made online on our new NMV Payment Page – please note that we cannot accept payments over the phone or by cheque.

If an application for a NMV is successful, we will agree the variation in writing and a copy of the decision letter will be added to the planning portal. The drawings will then constitute the approved drawings for your planning permission. The original permission remains in effect but must be read in conjunction with the variations agreed under the NMV application.

If you have any questions, get in touch via nonmaterialvariations@edinburgh.gov.uk

City Plan 2030 – Housing Land Audit and Completions Programme 2020

Housing under construction at Fountainbridge (January 2021)

The Housing Land Audit and Completions Programme (HLACP) is used to assess the supply of land for housing and delivery of new homes. It records the amount of land available for house building, identifies any constraints affecting development and assesses the land supply against the housing supply target and housing land requirement set by the Strategic Development Plan.

As part of these efforts, we have published our annual Housing Land Audit and Completions Programme for 2020. Special thanks to Homes for Scotland and their members, who have provided invaluable input to the audit despite the challenges faced by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The short video below gives an overview of where we are in terms of land availability and housing completions in Edinburgh.

You can also view the Housing Land Audit and Completions data on our online GIS Atlas , by selecting the Housing Land Audit schedule and Housing Land Audit completions tab in the Planning layer. This can be accessed through the Layer List icon in the top right-hand corner of the Atlas.

The Programme demonstrates that there is more than enough unconstrained housing land to meet the housing land requirements. The key findings from the study are the number of completions recorded for 2019/20 (at nearly 3,000 new homes) is the highest recorded since the late 1990s and the second highest ever recorded. The current effective supply of land is sufficient for 22,696 new homes, substantially above the target of around 15,000. Completions in 2020/21 are expected to fall as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic but build rates are expected to rise once more. At current build rates, there is sufficient effective land to last for 9 years.

The study supports the trends identified in the 2019 Housing Land Audit and Completions Programme, this will help identify housing sites and where development is directed as well as assist in the drafting of housing policy for City Plan 2030

You can keep up to date with the City Plan Project by:

  • Subscribing to our blog
  • following us on twitter at @planningedin
  • joining in the conversation by using the #cityplan2030 hashtag.

City Plan 2030 – Consultation and Timetable Update

We are preparing a new Local Development Plan for Edinburgh called City Plan 2030.  

A new Development Plan Scheme setting out how we prepare a development plan and outlining the proposed timetable to take City Plan 2030 to the Proposed Plan stage has been approved by as part of an update report on City Plan 2030 to committee on 10 March 2021. 

The proposed plan was due to be considered by the Planning Committee this month, but due to the significant cyberattack on the Scottish Environment Protection Agency just before Christmas, the Strategic Flood Risk Assessment required to support the proposed plan was delayed.

It is now expected that the proposed plan will be published in August 2021.

The next stage of the plan process will be the ‘Period of Representations’ which will give a further opportunity for comments to be made on the plan.

How we engage with interested groups and members of the public will be determined by the coronavirus government guidance at the time. As well as a comprehensive digital plan, we will make every effort to engage with those who don’t have access to or prefer not to use digital channels. Further details on this will be published along with the Plan.

You can keep up to date with the City Plan Project by

  • subscribing to our blog
  • following us on twitter at @planningedin
  • joining in the conversation by using the #cityplan2030 hashtag.