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.

Posted in News & updates, Systems | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in News & updates, Systems | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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. 

Posted in News & updates, Systems | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

 

Posted in News & updates, Systems | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in News & updates, Systems | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in City Plan 2030, News & updates | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in News & updates, Systems | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Building Standards, News & updates, Systems | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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
Posted in City Plan 2030, News & updates | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

 

ccsg - cover

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.

 

edg - leith fort

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.

Posted in Local Development Plan, News & updates, Placemaking | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment