Flying the flag for World Heritage Day

For those of you with a keen eye, you may have noticed that the ‘Celebrating World Heritage’ flag is flying from the City Chambers on the Royal Mile for the second year running.

City Chambers. World Heritage Site flag
City Chambers. World Heritage Site flag

Friday 18 April is World Heritage Day. It is celebrated around the globe to help raise the profile of World Heritage Sites and make people aware of our diverse cultural and natural heritage and how these sites are of outstanding value.

‘Shared Heritage’ is this year’s theme in Edinburgh and an event was held at the Royal College of Physicians last night which looked at the benefits that World Heritage can bring to everyone.  The speakers were Sue Bruce, Chief Executive of the City of Edinburgh Council, and Lloyd Anderson, Director of the British Council Scotland.  The event was a great opportunity to hear the Chief Executive’s thoughts on how we manage the challenges as a World Heritage city and was followed by a lively question and answer session.

High Hedges

This week (from 1 April) the High Hedges (Scotland) Act 2013 came into effect to help resolve issues with high hedges which are having a negative impact on domestic properties. 

A hedge
A hedge

Where neighbours are unable to resolve the issue of a high hedge, this new legislation gives homeowners and occupiers a right to apply to us for a high hedge notice.  The Council will act as an independent and impartial adjudicator, considering the position of each party, before making a decision.

The intention is that the new law will resolve problems caused by hedges (hedges which are over two metres tall and block out light) and allows us to enforce decisions taken. You can find more about the new legislation and how to make an application for a high hedges notice including the relevant fees on our website.

RTPI President visit to Edinburgh

Last week we had the pleasure of a visit from Cath Ranson RTPI President to Edinburgh.  Cath joined us at the Edinburgh Urban Design Panel followed by a visit to the Royal Mile to find out about the Royal Mile Project and new development in the area.  ImageWe completed the afternoon with a meeting in the Urban Room where Cath took in a number of projects including our evolving 100 years of Planning Edinburgh exhibition and found out more about the work we have been doing on the Planning Concordat and processing agreements.  The visit was part of the RTPI Centenary Year which includes a number of RTPI Scotland events.

February 2014 Planning Committee

Princes Street

At our meeting on 27 February, the Planning Committee agreed to relax planning policy for Princes Street to allow cafes and restaurants to open up alongside the shops to make it more of a destination.  A more flexible approach to Shandwick Place, Castle Street, and Queensferry Street has also been agreed.  Shopping will always be one of the main reasonsPrinces Street why people want to be in the city centre but by allowing more cafes and restaurants in certain areas it will encourage more people to spend time enjoying the spectacular views and unique atmosphere.  Along with new shops opening, the tram set to run, and large parts of George Street being given to pedestrians, it is an exciting time for our city centre and the recent launch of the ‘This is Edinburgh’ promotional campaign will help increase footfall in the area.

Edinburgh Street Design Guidance

An attractive environment also helps to make a successful place and the Council is committed to providing high quality streets, pavements and public spaces.  The Planning The ShoreCommittee agreed that consultation should soon start on our new Edinburgh Street Design Guidance.  The draft guidance is clear that people should be put before cars when new streets are designed or existing streets are changed. Edinburgh has been at the forefront of street design since the 1990s and it will be interesting to hear your views on our latest proposals.

The Forth Bridge

The Forth Bridgeprogress of the nomination to make The Forth Bridge a world heritage site was also reported to the Committee.  It will not be until the summer of 2015 that we find out if the bid has been successful but it was encouraging to see how far it has already come.

You can read the all the Planning Committee reports in full online.

Councillor Ian Perry.  Convener of the Planning Committee