Planning and Building Standards Service COVID -19 Update (2 April 2020)

You may be aware the Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill will be shortly become an Act, and has further implications for our planning service and others.

  • One key change is that planning permission that would otherwise lapse in the next 6 months will be extended by 1 year to allow work to start on permissions once restrictions are lifted.
  • The Bill removes the duty requiring public authorities to physically publish or publicise documents or make documents available for physical inspection (libraries, council offices, etc) where it is considered that in doing so it may give rise to a significant risk of transmission of coronavirus. It is anticipated that guidance will be issued by the Scottish Government on the implementation of this power shortly.

The Bill itself does not change statutory requirements in relation to site notices or neighbour notification so for now we are still working with the restrictions on determining relevant applications that we set out last week. This is for both general safety and to ensure that any decisions we issue are properly informed by representations and so are legally sound.

Separately, the Council’s Leadership Advisory Panel has met (in its first Skype meeting) and agreed contingency measures relating to the Planning service:

  • These measures make temporary changes to the Council’s Scheme of Delegation to reduce the number of planning applications which will have to be put on hold until Council committee meetings can be held.
  • Most applications are already decided by delegation, but around 200 each year are decided by the Council’s Development Management Sub-Committee.  The temporary measures mean that these cases will be carefully filtered, with input from relevant councillors, so that some can be decided under delegated powers.
  • This is intended to allow at least some applications to still be decided during this period, and so help the resilience of the city and its economy. Details are available in the report to the Panel (agreed with a motion).

We are also looking at ways Development Management Sub-Committee meetings might be able to take place remotely, which would reduce the need for these temporary measures to be used often.

We are still reviewing how we can adapt to the situation on a regular basis.  We are doing so working with the Scottish Government and the other planning authorities in Scotland. We will continue to share this publicly by posting on this blog and using twitter, so we urge people to subscribe here for our updates to be sent directly by email as soon as they are posted.

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City Plan 2030 and draft City Mobility Plan – consultation update (25 March 2020)

FutureEd snip1

We know the current health emergency is affecting everyone. We want everyone to have a chance to give their views on two important plans that will shape how we live and work in the city in the future. You can now respond to Choices for City Plan and to the draft City Mobility Plan and associated environmental reports until 30 April 2020.

All the documents and information are available on line via the Future Edinburgh webpage.

http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/futureedinburgh

You can comment on both the Choices for City Plan and to the draft City Mobility Plan via the consultation hub:

http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/choices

http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/mobilityplan

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Planning and Building Standards Service COVID -19 Update (25 March 2020 edit)

In light of the ongoing situation regarding COVID-19, the restrictions on movement placed on the country by the Prime Minister and the First Minister are a very clear message for all of us to stay at home unless absolutely necessary. This will mean changes to our everyday work.

  • The Local Review Body scheduled to take place on Wednesday 25th March has now been cancelled, and will be rescheduled for a later date as soon as practically possible. If you have any queries regarding the Local Review Body, please email localreviewbody@edinburgh.gov.uk
  • We will not be able to carry out the necessary publicity on applications submitted as required by the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997.  At this time we have suspended site notices, neighbour notifications and the weekly list will only include those applications which do not require publicity nor neighbour notification. This will be reviewed in three weeks time. This will affect the determining of applications.
  • Where site visits cannot be carried out we may still be able to process applications using photographs sent to us where appropriate. These will be requested by our officers where required.
  • Applications where the neighbour notification period has ended before 20th March can still be determined. Where the neighbour notification period ends after 20 March, we will not be able to determine your application until such time as we can return to our work in person. All agents should be notified as appropriate. This applies to all new planning, listed building consent or conservation area consent applications.
  • On this basis, and in light of these challenging times, any applications now submitted will be worked on as much as resources and procedures allow. We are working with the Scottish Government to understand how we can do this as effectively as possible.
  • Certificates of lawfulness, advertisement consent, tree preservation orders and trees in conservation area applications do not require publication and can still be determined as usual.
  • We are still not currently able to process paper applications or accept application payments by phone. Applications must be made through the ePlanning service.

We will continue to review our position and keep you up to date as our service adapts.

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Planning and Building Standards Service COVID -19 Update (19 March 2020 edit)

Staff in the Planning and Building Standards service are currently working from the office and home as appropriate and will continue to progress applications, warrants and enforcement cases. However, working practices will need to be adapted due to the current COVID -19 situation.

There will be no attendance at events and only essential external and internal meetings are taking place. Site visits are under review, and the reliance on other businesses to publish adverts and deliver neighbour notifications could impact on the service. We are working to find solutions should this become an issue.

We also expect our capacity to be impacted due to staff shortages so please bear with us.  The teams will be doing their best to keep applications and warrants moving under the circumstances. To assist in this, we have made the following changes:

Further information is available here.  We will keep these and other changes under review, and keep you up to date as our service adapts.

In terms of official Council committee business, the recess period will begin from Friday 20 March and will last until 27 April. All committees are suspended during this period. The Local Review Body meeting scheduled for 25 March will take place, but members of the public are encouraged not to attend to minimise the risk of spreading the virus. We are currently exploring alternative ways of working to maintain as much of the service as possible.

The response to the current situation is evolving rapidly and we will endeavour to update information as the situation changes, whilst ensuring the welfare of staff and trying to maintain business continuity for our customers.  You can see how you can help the Council to protect the city’s most vulnerable citizens and how we are aiming to provide core services here.

UPDATE 19 March 2020 – In addition to the above, we have taken the decision to suspend our Pre-Application Service to allow us to concentrate our efforts on processing and determining current applications and enforcement cases. We apologise for the inconvenience this may cause, but with a depleted staff and a focus on ensuring front line services are maintained, this has been a necessity.

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City Plan 2030 – update

FutureEd snip1

Following current government guidance on Covid-19, the final Choices for City Plan drop-in event scheduled to take place on Thursday 19 March 2020 at the St Bride’s Community Centre has been cancelled.

If you had been planning to attend and/or have any questions about Choices for City Plan 2030, please contact the City Plan team and we will do our best to answer your queries. You can contact us by email at cityplan2030@edinburgh.gov.uk or via telephone 0131 529 4692.

The Choices for City Plan online consultation will remain open for you to let us know your comments until 31 March 2030.

A new Development Plan Scheme outlining the proposed schedule to take City Plan 2030 to the Proposed Plan stage will be presented to Committee later in 2020.

You can keep up to date with the project and any changes by:

  • Visiting the website at Edinburgh.gov.uk/cityplan2030
  • Subscribing to our blog at https://planningedinburgh.com
  • Following us on twitter at @planningedin
  • Join in the conversation by using the #cityplan2030 hashtag
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Guidance Updates for Design and Shopping and Leisure in the City Centre

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.

 

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Princes Street – The main core of the city centre shopping and leisure area, as shown on the cover of the supplementary guidance.

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.

 

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Leith Fort – recently completed housing included as a model of good design in the Edinburgh Design Guidance.

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)

You can view a copy of the updated guidance here.

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Future Edinburgh – Additional Consultations

FutureEd snip1

The consultation programme for our strategies for City Plan 2030 and for the City Mobility Plan is continuing, to encourage as many people as possible to understand what we want to do for the future of Edinburgh and give your views on how we shape and transform our city. We need to know what you think of our proposed plans:

  • Choices for City Plan 2030 sets out options for how we could develop our city sustainably over the next ten years
  • City Mobility Plan proposes radical changes as to how people and goods move around our city.

We have had a high number of responses already and we’d like to thank everyone who has responded so far or has come along to talk to us in person at our drop in events. The consultations will be open until Tuesday 31st March 2020.

In addition to the published engagement programme and our online we are holding two more events for those who would like to find out more or comment:

  • A drop in event to see the plans and talk to us in person about our strategy at Ratho Community Centre on Thursday 12th March 2020 from 4pm until 7.30pm.
  • A consultation hub surgery where if needed we can give one-to-one help to fill in the consultation at Currie Library on Monday 16th March 2020 from 4pm until 7pm.

You can read more about our Future Edinburgh consultations and give us your views here.

Keep up to date

You can keep up to date with the City Plan 2030 project by:

Visiting the website at gov.uk/cityplan2030

Subscribing to this blog at https://planningedinburgh.com

Following us on twitter at @planningedin

Join in the conversation by using the #cityplan2030 hashtag

Subscribe to the newsletter by emailing us at cityplan2030@edinburgh.gov.uk

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Future Edinburgh – City Plan 2030 and our City Mobility Plan

FutureEd snip1

Shaping our city for future generations

Edinburgh has set an ambitious target for Edinburgh to be carbon neutral by 2030. We want everyone in every community to benefit from the city’s success, and make neighbourhoods great places for people to live in. To achieve our ambitious target, we need to make changes to how we manage and develop our city. This will be challenging.

We’ve already approved a programme to transform our city centre so that people come first. We’ve committed to building 20,000 affordable and low-cost homes by 2027. We’re committed to improving air quality by introducing a low emission zone.

These are just three of the many ways in which we’re working to meet our bold ambitions.

We’re developing two long-term strategies which will set out the way we shape and transform our city. We need to know what you think of our proposed plans:

  • Choices for City Plan 2030 sets out options for how we could develop our city sustainably over the next ten years
  • City Mobility Plan proposes radical changes as to how people and goods move around our city.

You can find out more about both projects at www.edinburgh.gov.uk/futureedinburgh

Respond to the Choices and City Mobility Plan consultations

The consultations on both strategies are now live and will run until Tuesday 31st March 2020.

Choices for City Plan 2030

City Mobility Plan

 Talk to us

The Choices for City Plan 2030 and the City Mobility Plan are about Edinburgh’s future and the city we leave for generations to come. Your views are important.

You can find out by speaking to us at our drop-in events and get help with filling out our online questionnaire at our ‘surgeries’.

Find out about our engagement events

Keep up to date

You can keep up to date with the City Plan 2030 project by:

Visiting the website at gov.uk/cityplan2030

Subscribing to this blog at https://planningedinburgh.com

Following us on twitter at @planningedin

Join in the conversation by using the #cityplan2030 hashtag

Subscribe to the newsletter by emailing us at cityplan2030@edinburgh.gov.uk

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City Plan 2030 – Housing Land Audit and Completions Programme 2019

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The Housing Land and Completions Programme data on our online GIS atlas

As part of our effort to ensure we have the land available within Edinburgh to meet our need for new housing, we have published our annual Housing Land Audit and Completions Programme for 2019.

We have always looked at housing land supply, but by also looking at how much housing has been built we can get a clearer picture of where and how house-building is being held up. This video gives an overview of the findings from the 2019 audit.

You can also view the Housing Land Audit and Completions data on our online GIS Atlas, by selecting the Housing Land Audit schedule and Housing Land Audit completions tab shown in the image at the top of this post.

The key facts from this study show that our current effective supply of land for over 22,000 homes is substantially more than our target of almost 15,000 and the current rate of house completions is also above target and projected to increase over the next two years.

The study confirms the trends of the 2018 Housing Land Audit and Completions Programme and we will keep looking at our housing land supply and completions rate as we gear up to write our policies for new housing in City Plan 2030 and identify the sites where we want to direct new housing development to. We will soon start to consult on our Choices for City Plan 2030, including potential housing locations and policies, and you can keep up to date with this by:

Visiting the website at gov.uk/cityplan2030

Subscribing to this blog at https://planningedinburgh.com

Following us on twitter at @planningedin

Join in the conversation by using the #cityplan2030 hashtag

Subscribe to the newsletter by emailing us at cityplan2030@edinburgh.gov.uk

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Review of the Marchmont, Meadows and Bruntsfield Conservation Area Character Appraisal

Marchmont tenements

We’re reviewing our Character Appraisal for the Marchmont, Meadows and Bruntsfield Conservation Area. Originally designated in 1987, the Character Appraisal was last reviewed in 2007.

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.

Trees in the Meadows

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.

Map of the Marchmont, Meadows and Bruntsfield Conservation Area

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.

Bruntsfield houses

Have your say

You can give us your views on the revised Marchmont, Meadows and Bruntsfield Conservation Area Character Appraisal until the 16 December.

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