Housing Land Audit and Delivery Programme 2017

The Supply of Land

The Council use something called the Housing Land Audit and Delivery Programme (HLADP) to assess the supply of effective land for housing in Edinburgh.

What is effective land?

Effective land must be free of any constraints that could prevent the building of homes. These constraints can include:

  • who owns the land;
  • contamination;
  • how easily the land can be sold;
  • infrastructure (including roads and schools for example) and;
  • how the land is currently used or has been used in the past.

The Strategic Development Plan for South East Scotland sets out how many new homes the city needs. This figure is currently 20,222 to be built by 2026.

Our latest housing land assessment in October was the 2017 HLADP. We have identified effective land for 23,329 houses on a mix of both brownfield (55%) and greenfield (45%) sites.

Sites included in the 2017 HLADP are in the Local Development Plan or have planning permission.


The Delivery of Homes

The HLADP examines the supply of land and the expected delivery of new homes.

table for blog

The output target is a five-year segment of the housing land supply target. The delivery programme is the number of homes likely to be built over the next five-years. We calculate this figure in agreement with Homes for Scotland.

Accelerating Delivery Rates

Many factors, including the strength of the economy and the demand for housing, can affect the construction of new homes. Even if we have enough land, it won’t always mean that houses will be built.

The credit crunch has affected the construction of housing in recent years. Although the country is still recovering from this, completions have doubled in the last four years. Current build rates in the city are steadily growing.

We are working to find ways to further speed up build rates in the city. The diagram below highlights some of the factors we have identified.

HLADP table

What’s next for the HLADP?

We will be using the HLADP to update our next Local Development Plan Action Programme. We’re also doing work to identify potential interventions to increase the delivery of housing. That will be reported next year.

Look out for our next blog post about a housing site currently under construction in the city.


Changes to ePlanning

Do you submit planning applications online or are thinking about doing this in the future?  If the answer is yes, then the following changes will be important to you.

The new ePlanning portal will be live from Wednesday 13 January. The move to the new portal is the first phase of an expanded online service with the new eBuilding Standards service launching in summer 2016. There are more details in the flyer below.

It is important to note that existing customers will have to create new accounts for the new ePlanning portal from Wednesday 13 January.

The current ePlanning Scotland portal will remain live until 17 March 2016 to allow completion and submission of applications which have already been started.  Any draft applications in the outgoing portal must be submitted by that date, or applicants will need to start again, recreating it in the new portal.

If you have any enquiries regarding the new service you can contact the ePlanning helpdesk on 0131 244 1450 or email eplanningsupport@gov.scot

Flyer - ePlanning launch_Page_1
Flyer – ePlanning launch

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.

10,000th on-line application

Last week we received our 10,000 on-line application. Whilst this gave us cause for great celebration (we opened a packet of chocolate biscuits – as only planners would) it is a significant milestone.  The submission of applications electronically is something we have been encouraging for a number of years as this benefits both us and our customers in how we handle their application.

Chocolate biscuits - other types of biscuits are available
Celebratory chocolate biscuits  (other brands of chocolate biscuits are available)

Last year, the Scottish Government set out the savings people make by submitting on-line. In general applicants save £200 on average with planning authorities saving £50 on average per application. This not only means savings to us and our customers but it is also good for the environment by reducing the amount of printing, copying and packaging.

Submitting applications on-line is one part of ensuring our customers have greater access to planning information.  This includes allowing you to view and comment on applications on-line and read key documents such as the Local Development Plan and planning guidance. This is all supported by increased access to the internet through computers and free wi fi in Council buildings, libraries and neighbourhood offices. In time, we will see the regular Development Management Sub-Committees and Planning Committees webcast when you can watch all the action from the comfort of your armchair or on the bus.

Pre-application planning advice

As a Planning service much of our time is taken up giving advice on proposed development prior to applications being submitted. We also recognise that the pre-application stage is important to see what issues are likely to arise. To help manage how we deal with major planning applications we have been using processing agreements and the pre-application stage is one part of this process. Having pre-application discussions gives us a better understanding of proposals early on and allows us, developers and applicants to engage other Council services to get a view of proposed developments. This provides greater certainty to developers and applicants, and allows us to make the best use of staff time and improve the service we offer.

Planning and Building Standards helpdesk
Planning and Building Standards helpdesk

To help inform our proposed approach to pre-application advice we held workshops with architects, developers and planning agents to get a better understanding of key issues.  Following this, we consulted on the introduction of charges for different levels of pre-application advice whilst still offering basic planning advice at no charge. As always, we recommend that people read the relevant planning policies and guidance prior to seeking advice from us.

The consultation survey has now closed and we will report the findings to Planning Committee later this year.