Planning applications: weekly list

Planning applications and a HB pencil
Weekly list of applications

Recently our customers have been telling us that they are concerned about the delays in getting some planning applications onto the weekly list.  We’re sorry for any inconvenience this has caused and we would urge community councils and others to use Public Access which updates on planning applications every day.  You can use the advanced search to find the areas you are interested in or sign up for email alerts for applications which matches your search criteria.

We will continue to send out the weekly list because it is required by law but please be aware there is an in-built delay getting applications onto the list. Here’s why:

  • When an application is submitted, we have to do various checks. Sometimes the address we are given is wrong or there is no accurate address so we have to create one, sometimes we have to wait for the fee to be paid and sometimes applications are given to us late on a Friday so we have already lost some checking time.  We also have to check that permission is actually needed.  We try to get applications registered, checked and acknowledged within 4 working days but if a weekend is involved that can be nearly a week gone.
  • If the application was complete when we received it, the valid date is the date when we received it not the date we finished checking it. If it is not complete we can invalidate it and this happens in about a fifth of cases.  The valid date is then when we receive the rest of the information.
  • The weekly list is run on our back office computer system on a Tuesday morning. If an application is still being checked, it has to wait another week before it gets onto the list. So if an application comes in on a Thursday or a Friday, it will not usually make the list the following week and has to wait till the week after.
  • The 21 day period for commenting starts on either the valid date, the advert date or the neighbour notification date whichever is later. So you will usually have more time to comment on listed building consents or planning applications in conservation areas because these need to be advertised. Advert applications do not need advertised or neighbour notified so the 21 day period for comments starts when we receive it, if it is complete.
  • The weekly list is only for information and doesn’t affect the time you have to comment. We actually only have to send it to community councils but we email it to others as well because we know they find it helpful to have all the cases in one document.

We know that it’s a bit complicated. Considering the above, you can appreciate how the commenting time for some applications can almost be up by the time they are on the weekly list.  That’s why we encourage the use of Public Access to receive updates on new applications.

World Heritage Day 18 April 2015

Saturday 18 April 2015 is World Heritage Day and this year the theme is the value of heritage.  World Heritage Day is celebrated around the globe to raise awareness of our diverse cultural and natural heritage and why World Heritage Sites are of outstanding value.

World Heritage Site day poster
World Heritage Site day poster

There are a number of events planned to mark the occasion with the Scottish Storytelling Centre hosting an afternoon of activities on Saturday 18 April to help you get to know more about all five World Heritage Sites in Scotland.  You could also take the opportunity to follow one of the Edinburgh World Heritage walking trails to discover the hidden gems of the Old and New Towns.

There are more details on Historic Scotland’s website about World Heritage Day and the other Scottish sites they help manage.

If you use social media you can follow and join the conversation from around the world using #worldheritageday

Conservation of Swifts – RSPB Edinburgh talk

In a first for Edinburgh, the UK expert on the conservation of Swifts, Edward Mayer, is giving a talk on Wednesday 15 April, 7.30pm at the Lindsay Stewart Lecture Theatre, Napier Craiglockhart Campus, Colinton Road.  The event is organised by the RSPB Edinburgh members group and supported by Edinburgh World Heritage.

Swift conservation talk
Swift conservation talk

The number of swifts has greatly declined in Edinburgh.  These birds nest in tiny spaces in older buildings, and return to the same nest year after year.  As our buildings, especially tenements, have been repaired and restored, some nesting spaces have been lost.  This is why Swifts have been a priority in the Edinburgh Biodiversity Action Plan since it was first published in 2000.

In recent years the Planning and Building Standards Service has promoted the creation of new nest sites by asking for hollow nesting ‘bricks’ to be included in new buildings.  This has helped to create new potential nest sites across the city.  There have also been projects to promote nests on existing buildings.  Our guidance note on Swifts and developments contains more information on how to do this.  If you have any queries about Swifts in Edinburgh or biodiversity in general, please get in touch with us at biodiversity@edinburgh.gov.uk

Your views on student housing in Edinburgh

We are looking for your views on how we manage the housing requirements of the city’s growing number of students.  We are specifically looking at:

Student housing issues paper
Student housing issues paper
  • the growth of learning opportunities in the city
  • meeting the needs for student housing through purpose-built student accommodation; and
  • how this accommodation is spread across the city.

We have prepared a paper, showing the background research on this issue, asking nine questions.  The answers we receive will inform the content of draft planning guidance on student housing and we will be seeking further views on this later this year.

The paper is available for your comment on the Council’s Consultation hub from Monday 16 March until Friday 24 April 2015.

Trees, hedges and overhanging foliage

Do your trees need pruning?  Is a high hedge causing you problems?  Or is overhanging foliage (bushes) obstructing the footpath?  Here is some useful advice on what to do.

Trees

Some lovely trees and hedges
Some lovely trees and hedges

First, check on our map to see if the tree is in a Conservation Area or has a Tree Preservation Order.  This is important as it could limit what you can do.  Our Tree Protection Charter sets this out in more detail.

If the trees are protected then you’ll need to notify us before you do any works.  You can apply for this online and these guidance notes explain all the details.  For issues with trees on Council land we have more information on our website.

High Hedges

High hedges can be a nuisance if they’re blocking out lots of light so it’s in everyone’s interest that these are kept in shape.  If you’ve tried discussing this with your neighbour who owns the hedge and they don’t want to cut it back you can apply for a High Hedge Notice.  We have more information on our website on how to do this, but hopefully you can resolve this amicably.  Otherwise we may serve a notice to reduce the height of the hedge.  Ultimately, if the notice isn’t complied with we may take action to cut it back and recover the costs from the owner.  We’d rather it didn’t come to that.

Overhanging foliage

Overhanging bushes.
Overhanging bushes

Although this isn’t a planning responsibility we do like to see that footpaths are kept clear and that you can get around without any obstructions.

So if trees or bushes are overhanging a public footpath and getting in your way there is an online form you can fill in and one of the Council’s area teams will deal with this.

Hopefully this has given you a few tips on how to sort out a variety of arboriculture issues. If you still need some help please get in touch with us at planningtrees@edinburgh.gov.uk