End of year Planning Edinburgh blog

As we approach the end of 2021, we’ve reflected on what has been another eventful year for planning in Edinburgh.

As a service we were as busy as ever with large numbers of planning applications coming through the virtual door and significant planning projects continuing apace.

Earlier in the year we had some staff retire, and with recruitment underway we’re looking forward to welcoming new team members. We’re also delighted that David Givan has now been appointed as the Chief Planning Officer here at the Council.

Key projects have made significant progress with the proposed City Plan 2030 approved in September. The period of representation has now concluded as we move to the next stage in the process.

Consultation has been another key theme, not just on City Plan 2030, but also the low emission zone, short term lets control areas, and the proposed extension to Leith conservation area.

Major applications such as the Impact Centre concert hall, the New Town Quarter, Edinburgh Park South, developments at the waterfront and various housing sites across the city have all been approved.

It’s heartening to see new development on the ground, in what has been another challenging year for the industry, with new buildings being recognised through local award schemes.  The opening of the new St. James Quarter and commencement of work at Haymarket is testament to years of effort by the service, our partners and the communities who engaged in the various stages of planning.

Day-to-day our householders, locals and listed buildings teams have kept the smaller, but often no less complex developments moving, helping to support local businesses and the construction sector. With people often choosing to adapt their home rather than move, we’ve seen a lot of activity in that area.

Change and development can on occasion have some unintended consequences and the planning enforcement team have been following up on cases including any unauthorised planning uses.

Applications for work to trees has also been busy, and with a new member of staff joining the team we’ve been working through these applications whilst making improvements to the submission process.

COP26 brought into sharp focus the issue of climate change, and our work on important projects such as Edinburgh’s Water Vision and City Mobility Plan continue to see us embed sustainability at the heart of our policies. We helped to bring to life the SpACE pop up exhibition and got involved in the programme of talks.  Changes to permitted development rights for cycle storage have also been introduced as another way to encourage active travel.

Our heritage, landscaping and transport teams have been supporting the planning applications process and contributing to the preparation of City Plan and policies. Our Street Naming team continue to name new streets and are always looking for suggested names, so get in touch if you have any.

Service improvements are ongoing and have been informed by the customer forums we held this year.  Our pre-application service, non-material variations, online payments and requirements for contextual information are all in place. You can expect to see more improvements in 2022.

And finally, it’s a thanks from us to everyone who uses and interacts with the service for their patience and support as we do our jobs in these unusual times.

Have a great Christmas, and New Year when it comes.

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