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.
A series of studies investigating the public life of Edinburgh’s town centres reveal how each currently functions in terms of pedestrian/cyclist movement and as a place.
Public Life Street Assessments, carried out by design consultants HERE+NOW for the Council, involve a mix of direct observation methodologies, user interviews and more focussed sub studies such as facade, land use and activity studies. In-depth analysis of this data identifies trends in the way people currently use the street environment. This has informed suggested opportunities for improvement.
The studies provide valuable information for all parties with an interest in maximising public life within Edinburgh’s town centres. They have already informed the preparation of Supplementary Guidance for each of the town centres, draft Locality Improvement Plans and a design and an improved public space trial project within Stockbridge.
Update – using the studies
One of the studies has already informed input to a Locality Improvement Plan (LIP) – the South West LIP includes reference to the Gorgie/Dalry Town Centre which was informed by the relevant study. More detailed work will be under taken to develop to a delivery plan with associated timescales.
The Supplementary Guidance, which are about to be adopted, will be used to determine relevant planning applications.
The studies will also be used as an input to the LDP Action Programme, due to be updated early 2018. We’ll share the Action Programme here on the blog and on Twitter when it’s out too.
Your views on the Bruntsfield/Morningside and Leith Town Centres
We are now consulting on draft guidance for Bruntsfield/Morningside and Leith town centres and would like your views on how we plan for these places.
You can give us your views on the draft town centre guidance by completing the online surveys or speaking to us at one of the drop in sessions noted below. Posters for these events are at the bottom of this post. Both consultations will close on 16 February 2016.
The guidance also sets out how we apply the Scottish Government’s Town Centre First Policy and emphasises how important town centres are as the heart of a community and a place for a range of activities.
Supplementary guidance is already in place for the City Centre, Corstorphine, Gorgie/Dalry, and Tollcross town centres. Later this year we’ll be preparing town centre guidance for the remaining town centres at Nicolson Street/Clerk Street, Portobello and Stockbridge. You can keep up to date with these by subscribing to this blog or the Council’s consultation hub.