Public Life Street Assessments

A series of studies investigating the public life of Edinburgh’s town centres reveal how each currently functions in terms of pedestrian/cyclist movement and as a place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Public Life Street Assessments, carried out by design consultants HERE+NOW for the Council, involve a mix of direct observation methodologies, user interviews and more focussed sub studies such as facade, land use and activity studies.  In-depth analysis of this data identifies trends in the way people currently use the street environment. This has informed suggested opportunities for improvement.

The assessments supplement the Council’s existing knowledge about how these town centres function and build on existing thinking and work to date, including the Local Development Plan, Town Centre Toolkit and Edinburgh Street Design Guidance.

The studies provide valuable information for all parties with an interest in maximising public life within Edinburgh’s town centres.  They have already informed the preparation of Supplementary Guidance for each of the town centres, draft Locality Improvement Plans and a design and an improved public space trial project within Stockbridge.

Update – using the studies

One of the studies has already informed input to a Locality Improvement Plan (LIP) – the South West LIP includes reference to the Gorgie/Dalry Town Centre which was informed by the relevant study. More detailed work will be under taken to develop to a delivery plan with associated timescales.

The Supplementary Guidance, which are about to be adopted, will be used to determine relevant planning applications.

The studies will also be used as an input to the LDP Action Programme, due to be updated early 2018.  We’ll share the Action Programme here on the blog and on Twitter when it’s out too.

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The Edinburgh Local Development Plan Turns One!

We officially started using our current Local Development Plan (LDP) on the 24th of November 2016. This means that this time last week, our LDP turned one!

In celebration, we thought we would write a brief blog post to share with you five things we have achieved in the first year of our LDP.its my birthday

  1. The LDP allocated almost 700 hectares of additional land for housing. This land could accommodate up to 10,000 new homes, meaning that we’ve now identified enough land in the city for over 31,000 houses.
  2. Of the newly allocated land, sites that could provide over 3,000 homes are already under construction and an additional 1,000 units have received planning consent.
  3. We adopted five Supplementary Guidance documents covering the City Centre Retail Core and the Tollcross, Corstorphine, Leith and Bruntsfield & Morningside Town Centres.
  4. We updated two planning guidelines – the Edinburgh Design Guidance and Development in the Countryside and Green Belt.
  5. We carried out our first feedback survey that asked you how effectively you’d been involved in the creation of the LDP. We look forward to engaging with you more as we move towards our next LDP, LDP 2.

Sign up to our blog mailing list for more exciting LDP updates!

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Development in the Countryside and Green Belt Non-Statutory Guidance

Living in Edinburgh, we’re surrounded by a band of countryside and green belt. We want to make sure that this natural heritage of ours is protected and enhanced, so, we control what kind of development is allowed in these areas.

development in the CS and GB

The Edinburgh Local Development Plan (LDP) replaced the Edinburgh City Local Plan and the Rural West Edinburgh Local Plan in 2016. From the LDP we now have one single Policy across our boundary, Env 10, that deals with ‘Development in the Countryside and Green Belt’.dev in C and GB cover

We first published supporting guidance for this Policy in 2007. Recently, we’ve updated this to make sure it reflects our current practice.

You can have a read of our refresh here. The revised guidance should help all users of the LDP understand Policy Env 10.

Some key changes following our redraft include:

  • a new layout;
  • clarification as to when new buildings will be allowed in the countryside and green belt;
  • additional criteria to be met when replacing low quality buildings;
  • further information about ancillary uses and energy development; and
  • guidance about materials and high quality design, taken from the updated Edinburgh Design Guidance.
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Great Green Roof! City centre rooftop safari filmed at Council HQ

In common with several city centre buildings, the Council HQ at Waverley Court has rooftop gardens.  Green roofs on buildings have many benefits including improving energy efficiency, reducing the urban heat island effect and reducing water run off in the built environment.  They can also be a really good habitat for wildlife.

In recent years the grass areas on the Waverley Court roof have been changed into wildflower meadows to make them more attractive to people and pollinating insects.  Back on a sunny August day, Anthony McCluskey from Butterfly Conservation Scotland ran a butterfly and bumblebee safari to give staff a lunch break with a difference!  It was a lovely sunny day and you can watch some footage of the meadow and safari below.

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Housing Land Audit and Delivery Programme 2017

The Supply of Land

The Council use something called the Housing Land Audit and Delivery Programme (HLADP) to assess the supply of effective land for housing in Edinburgh.

What is effective land?

Effective land must be free of any constraints that could prevent the building of homes. These constraints can include:

  • who owns the land;
  • contamination;
  • how easily the land can be sold;
  • infrastructure (including roads and schools for example) and;
  • how the land is currently used or has been used in the past.

The Strategic Development Plan for South East Scotland sets out how many new homes the city needs. This figure is currently 20,222 to be built by 2026.

Our latest housing land assessment in October was the 2017 HLADP. We have identified effective land for 23,329 houses on a mix of both brownfield (55%) and greenfield (45%) sites.

Sites included in the 2017 HLADP are in the Local Development Plan or have planning permission.

HLADP MAP

The Delivery of Homes

The HLADP examines the supply of land and the expected delivery of new homes.

table for blog

The output target is a five-year segment of the housing land supply target. The delivery programme is the number of homes likely to be built over the next five-years. We calculate this figure in agreement with Homes for Scotland.

Accelerating Delivery Rates

Many factors, including the strength of the economy and the demand for housing, can affect the construction of new homes. Even if we have enough land, it won’t always mean that houses will be built.

The credit crunch has affected the construction of housing in recent years. Although the country is still recovering from this, completions have doubled in the last four years. Current build rates in the city are steadily growing.

We are working to find ways to further speed up build rates in the city. The diagram below highlights some of the factors we have identified.

HLADP table

What’s next for the HLADP?

We will be using the HLADP to update our next Local Development Plan Action Programme. We’re also doing work to identify potential interventions to increase the delivery of housing. That will be reported next year.

Look out for our next blog post about a housing site currently under construction in the city.

 

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Open Space 2021: Co-design of a new community park for Greendykes

Liz Thomas from Here + Now CIC gave the third presentation in a series of talks to raise awareness of Open Space 2021, Edinburgh’s new Open Space Strategy.

Liz’s talk focused on the process of co-design with the local community in Craigmillar which led to the final plans for a new park in Greendykes. This involved learning from local knowledge and organisations to give them a strong voice in the design process and shape a new park based on people’s needs.

The engagement process for the park started before any design was prepared. At the first community drop-in session held in Craigmillar Library, people choose images that spoke to them about what the future park could be.

People weren’t asked for a shopping list of items but how they would like to use the park, so that the designers could plan for these activities and functions according to the house builders’ budget.

Here+Now did a walkabout with P5 school children to discuss their hopes for the park and the children will continue to be involved as the park is built. This will include painting colourful ‘totem’ stakes for the park’s orchard trees.

Early designs for the park were presented at a sociable Christmas event in the library with festive wreath and decoration making. The park design will include feature trees to give it a sense of place, re-using some of the planting from the temporary greening at Edinburgh Quay.

Thank you to A+DS for use of their boardroom to hold the event.

You can watch a short video clip from the talk.

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50 Years of Conservation Areas

Why do we designate conservation areas?

It is 50 years since the Civic Amenities Act 1967 introduced the concept of protecting the character of areas of historic and architectural interest by the designation of conservation areas

The Edinburgh Local Development Plan, adopted in 2016, states that an ongoing review of conservation areas will consider changes to boundaries, opportunities for enhancement, and the designation of new conservation areas. Conservation area status brings a number of special controls including:

  • The demolition of unlisted buildings requires Conservation Area Consent;
  • Some permitted development rights are removed;
  • Alterations to windows are also controlled in conservation areas in terms of the Council’s guidelines; and
  • Works to trees are controlled.

Where are Edinburgh’s conservation areas?

There are currently 49 conservation areas in Edinburgh, including city centre areas, Victorian suburbs and former villages. Each conservation area has its own unique character and appearance. Examples include the Colonies, Dean, Old Town, New Town and South Queensferry Conservation area. The map below shows all our conservation areas:

Conservation Area

Development in Conservation Areas

The designation of a conservation area is not a barrier to all development. Character appraisals are produced to help manage change.  These set out what makes an area special and informs decisions on proposals that may affect the character of an area.  This ensures that development sustains and respects the qualities and special characteristics of the area.  All new development should respect, enhance and provide a positive impact on the area and physical land use change should be based on an understanding of the historic and urban design context.

Future conservation areas

The planning service is considering the designation of Restalrig as a conservation area. The proposed conservation area would include St. Margaret’s Parish Church and surrounding streets. The area has a long and interesting history and the designation would be a way of acknowledging its architectural and historic importance.  As the 50th conservation area in Edinburgh, it would also be an appropriate way to mark the 50 years since the Civic Amenities Act.

You can give us your views about the proposed designation of Restalrig as a conservation area from 6 – 30 October 2017.

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