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.

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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:

screen3

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)

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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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Planning and Building Standards Service COVID -19 Update (4 May 2020)

The Planning Service is continuing to adapt the way it works to support communities and businesses in this difficult time. We are pleased to announce that from Monday 4 May 2020 we are re-starting our pre-application advice service.

Pre-Application Advice Service

We want to ensure the planning system plays its part in assisting with a swift recovery for the city and we see our very successful pre-application advice service as an important part of the measures we are taking forward. However, it is important to recognise that we are working in a new and very different environment with officers working from home and site visits on hold. The service people will receive will still aim to be as helpful as possible but there will be some limitations:

  • When you submit your pre-application request, we will assess whether it is reasonable to deliver advice on the project from a home based environment. If the request includes a listed building for instance, we may be unable to advise without a site visit. We would therefore have to put that request on hold until we are able to resume site visits.
  • Where necessary, meetings with relevant officers will be arranged but they will be via Skype or Microsoft Teams so it is important you have that software to be able to engage in video conferencing.
  • Finally, we will be unable to take telephone payments so BACS transfer will be the only way you can pay for the pre-application advice. Details can be found in our Customer Service Guide

Requests for advice should be sent to preapplicationadvice@edinburgh.gov.uk using the request form.

Developer Pre-Application Consultations

Separately, the Scottish Government has provided planning guidance on pre-application consultations for public events. This is temporary guidance, linked to the regulations that came into force on 24 April 2020 and suspends the requirement for a physical public event at this time. Prospective applicants are expected to replace this requirement with alternative consultation measures instead, using web based approaches.

We will continue to provide service updates on the Planning Edinburgh blog. Please sign up by email to register for updates as soon as they are posted.

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Planning and Building Standards Service COVID -19 Update (29 April 2020)

Following on from our last update, we have a number of further service changes as we continue to adapt the planning service to the COVID -19 situation.

Site Notices and Weekly List

We have now begun the online publication of applications, following the restrictions on physically displaying site notices. We will display the planning application Weekly Lists and all Site Notices weekly on a new page on the website, and this will be updated every week.

Development Management Sub-Committee

The Leadership Advisory Panel has agreed to reinstate the Development Management Sub-Committee. We are working on how to do this through video conferencing, with the aim to hold the first reinstated Development Management Sub-committee on 20 May 2020.

Local Review Body

Following the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 coming into force, the Regulations affecting Planning have been amended. This includes the Regulations governing the Local Review Body (LRB), which as of 24 April 2020, for a temporary period, is no longer required to take place in public. Once the Development Management Sub-Committee has been established it is hoped to roll this format out for the Local Review Body.

We are still accepting online Review submissions. Please note that, as staff are homeworking, we cannot accept paper copies of Reviews, supporting documents or representations at this current time. Scottish Government has not given any powers to extend the period for submission of appeals, so if you intend to submit a Review please ensure it is within time.

For further information regarding appeals submitted to Scottish Government visit the DPEA website.

City Plan 2030 and City Mobility Plan

Finally, we are still receiving submissions on Choices for City Plan 2030 and the City Mobility Plan until 5pm tomorrow, to allow people to give their views on two important plans that will shape how we live and work in the city in future.

Please submit your comments through the consultation hub by 30 April 2020 at 5pm.

Please look out for further service updates in the coming weeks, including on our pre-application advice service. Subscribe to the blog by email to receive immediate updates.

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Planning and Building Standards Service COVID -19 Update (23 April 2020)

We are adapting our service so that we can support communities and businesses across Edinburgh through this difficult time. Our aim is to boost online public input to planning processes so that we can make and issue decisions which will both help with a swift recovery and a positive future for the city.  

To do this we have introduced ways for people to stay informed and comment on planning proposals despite the coronavirus lockdown.

We are now:

  • Starting our publication of applications that we have received since the lockdown commenced in March.
  • Issuing neighbour notification letters by post, with the planning portal open for comments to be made on applications.

Due to the closure of our offices we are still unable to receive any paper applications or letters of representation. Online applications are being accepted/validated, online representations are being accepted and, where appropriate, delegated decisions are being issued.

We are able to do this following the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act, which alters how we can publicise the applications we have received.

Paragraph 9(2) of Schedule 6, Part 3 of the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 makes provision for us not to physically publish weekly lists of planning and related applications and make these available for inspection at our principal office and public libraries or physically post site notices for all planning and related applications on the basis that doing so:

  • May give rise to a significant risk of the transmission of coronavirus, or
  • is likely to be ineffective or inappropriate due to action taken in order to control the incidence or transmission of coronavirus.

Instead we will make copies of these documents available on the Council’s Planning and Building Standards on-line services, in accordance with paragraph 9 (3) of Schedule 6, Part 3 to the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020. This process will start with the weekly list of 27 April 2020.

Further information on our services during the coronavirus lockdown is available on the Council website.

Please sign up to the Planning Edinburgh blog to keep up to date with changes to our service and how we are planning for the future Edinburgh through City Plan 2030 and the City Mobility Plan. 

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Planning and Building Standards Service COVID -19 Update (9 April 2020)

Since our last update, there have been a couple of developments at the national level:

  • A letter from planning minister Kevin Stewart MSP and the Scottish Government Chief Planner was published on 3 April. The letter highlights the important role that planning has within and beyond the current emergency, and sets out some temporary measures to help the planning system continue to function during this period.
  • The Coronavirus (Scotland) Act came into being, when the Bill received Royal Assent on 6 April. Our previous update highlights the key points for planning.

We are now working to put into practice several changes which arise from these measures. We will provide an update on what this means for our service soon. In the meantime, we are still able to receive and work on applications, taking account of the measures we announced in late March. Our website provides details of our current service.

If you haven’t done so already, please sign up by email to be notified as soon as we publish new blogs. This is the main place we will be providing updates as we review our service on a regular basis.

 

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