The revised Colinton Conservation Area Character Appraisal is now online. Conservation Area Character Appraisals are intended to help manage change. They provide an agreed basis of understanding of what makes an area special.
This understanding informs and provides the context in which decisions can be made on proposals which may affect that character.
An enhanced level of understanding, combined with appropriate management tools, ensures that change and development sustains and respects the qualities and special characteristics of the area.
The richness of Colinton’s built heritage is considerable. It is this complexity and diversity which make it attractive yet make these qualities hard to define.
These are qualities and conflicts that must be resolved if the character of Colinton is to be sensitively interpreted and enhanced.
You can download the full Conservation Area Character Appraisal here
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.
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.
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.
We’ve recently updated two important planning guidance documents to better shape development in the city, for design and for land use in the city centre. These guidance documents are used by applicants when designing and submitting applications, and by planners when assessing these applications. They are good examples of the sources we use to judge proposals that come to us and to make clear what we expect of new development.
The main changes to the guidance are covered below, with a link to the documents.
City Centre Shopping and Leisure Supplementary Guidance Changes
The Council prepares planning guidance for the City Centre under the Planning (Scotland) Act. The guidance is a statutory requirement of our Local Development Plan policy on shops to guide how and where shops and non-shop uses in town centres including the city centre are allowed.
This guidance sets out the change of use policies that apply to the city centre retail core, the boundary of which can be seen on the LDP proposals map and sets out where a planning application for a change of use from a shop to a non-shop use will be supported.
Since the guidance was first written there have been changes that are likely to have an impact on the city centre such as; wider changes to shopping trends, the publication of our City Centre Transformation strategy, the publication of a retail and leisure study, the future opening of the new Edinburgh St James and many changes of use in the centre. The key changes respond to these and cover:
Altering existing guidance covering Princes Street to provide significantly more flexibility for non-shop uses.
Creating new guidance for Castle Street, Frederick Street and Hanover Street which is much more flexible than the other named streets.
Altering the existing guidance covering the frontages of the other named streets in the retail core to be more flexible.
Altering the existing guidance covering parts of the city centre retail core outside of these streets by determining changes of use based on whole streets rather than units in a row.
The guidance was written with the involvement of people working in retail in Edinburgh through workshops and was opened to public consultation before being approved by the Planning Committee on 29 January 2020. You can view the updated guidance here.
Edinburgh Design Guidance Changes
The non-statutory Edinburgh Design Guidance sets out the Council’s expectations for the design of new development in Edinburgh. It seeks to raise standards of design in the city by providing guidance on how to respond to specific design issues, from analysing a site, to masterplanning, building design, materials and streets and public spaces. The changes to the Edinburgh design Guidance were also approved at Planning Committee on 29 January 2020.
Following a workshop with elected members and working with our planning colleagues, a number of changes were identified to clarify and update the guidance. The key changes are:
A methodology for calculating density to ensure a consistent approach across the city to calculating built density. (p38)
Approved council guidance on public art is now included in the Edinburgh Design Guidance document. (p48)
Revisions to the parking standards to make their use easier and highlight where it is appropriate to differ from these standards. (p79)
Clarification of daylighting and key view assessment processes. (p99)
Guidance on designing for people with disabilities (p108) and on single aspect dwellings. (p110)
What is a conservation area and why do we designate them?
Conservation areas are defined ‘as areas of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance’. Edinburgh has designated 50 conservation areas over the last 50 years with many of them designated in the early 1970s. They cover historic land, public parks, designed landscapes or railways but most contain groups of buildings extending over areas of the city. It is a statutory requirement for local authorities to review conservation areas and consider whether new conservation area designations are needed.
What are the effects of conservation area status?
Conservation area status does not place a ban upon all new development within its boundaries. It does however, mean that new development will normally only be granted planning permission if it can be demonstrated that it will not harm the special character or appearance of the area. Conservation area status also 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.
Guidance used to set out what we expect from development in Conservation Areas can be found here.
What is the purpose of Character Appraisals?
Character appraisals are produced to help manage change. These set out what makes the conservation area special and helps to make decisions on proposals that may affect the character of an area. All new development should preserve or enhance the conservation area. Change should be based on an understanding of the historic and urban design context.
What are the changes?
The reviewed character appraisal updates the text for its publication as a digital document which will include images, photographs and interactive maps. The review includes an update on some of the area’s larger public buildings and includes a new management section that sets out the relevant legislation policies and guidance used in assessing development proposals in the Conservation Area. This section also identifies particular development pressures within the Conservation Area.
Have your say
You can give us your views on the revised Marchmont, Meadows and Bruntsfield Conservation Area Character Appraisal until the 16 December.
Last week we hosted the first two of three consultation events to allow the public, local interest groups and stakeholders to express their ideas about the future of Redford Barracks and its redevelopment. Thank you to everyone who attended the events at Colinton Bowling club and Boroughmuir Rugby Club. Around 90 people came long to speak to officers about future plans for the site and many more have made comments online.
The Ministry of Defence is proposing to dispose of the Redford Barracks in 2025 creating an opportunity to knit this large site back into the fabric of the surrounding area. In order to make the most of this opportunity, City of Edinburgh Planning Service will prepare a Place Brief setting out agreed uses and design parameters to guide the future development of the site. As part of this work we are asking local people and groups to give us their views on the site and surrounding area; taking into account elements such as:
Housing including affordable and mixed tenure housing
Routes through the site for pedestrians, cycles and vehicles
The preservation of listed buildings and how they might be enhanced
Green spaces and trees and opportunities to create, enhance and improve them
What other uses might be appropriate for the site
The online consultation – open to anyone – is available here.
Are there any features of the site you want to see retained? Is there any part of the surrounding area you would like to bring to our attention? What uses would you like to see provided on the site?
Please fill out the online consultation and come along to our next event at Oxgangs Library on Tuesday 18 June from 2pm to 7pm.