Short Term Lets: Drop-in session on proposed changes to our Guidance for Businesses

Row of Edinburgh tenements with some trees in the foreground.

We will be holding a drop-in session on proposed changes to our Guidance for Businesses and specifically the expanded section on short term lets.

  • When:  1.00pm – 4.30pm on Wednesday 9 November
  • Where: Planning and Building Standards front counter area at Waverley Court (4 East Market Street, Edinburgh, EH8 8BG)

Members of the planning team will be on hand to explain the proposed, answer any questions and get your feedback.

In 2021, Scottish Government legislation allowed councils to have a short-term let control area. In a control area, this means if that if a flat or a house, which is not the home you live in, is used for a short-term let, you will need planning permission.

Edinburgh’s short-term let control area has now been in place since 5 September 2022.

Come along if you

  • live in an area where properties are let out for short breaks
  • offer flats or houses for holiday lets in Edinburgh
  • are an interested member of the public

Complete the online consultation here by 22 December 2022.

Proposed changes to Guidance for Businesses – Short Term Lets

View of Edinburgh tenements with trees in the foreground.

We want your views on the proposed changes to the Guidance for Businesses and specifically the expanded section on short term lets (STLs).

In 2021, Scottish Government legislation allowed councils to have a short-term let control area. In a control area, this means if that if a flat or a house, which is not the home you live in, is used for a short-term let, you will need planning permission.

Edinburgh was the first council in Scotland to apply for a short-term control area, which has now been in place since 5 September 2022 and covers the whole of the Council’s area.

The amount of STL accommodation has grown significantly in the last ten years and Edinburgh is recognised as an area that has greater pressures than other parts of the country.

The current Guidance for Businesses has a section on short-term commercial visitor accommodation and we are proposing changes which were presented to the Planning Committee on 31 August 2022.

Planning applications for STLs be assessed against the Local Development Plan along with the updated guidance and any other relevant material considerations.

Your responses will shape the final version of the guidance which we aim to have in place in early 2023. 

Complete the online consultation here by 22 December 2022.

City Plan 2030 – Edinburgh’s Future Office Market

Meeting the needs of the office sector will be a key issue for City Plan 2030. With an estimated 1.85 million square metres of office floor space in Edinburgh, supporting an estimated 123,000 jobs, the office sector is crucial to Edinburgh’s economy.

Our Office Commercial Needs Study shows that although Edinburgh city centre is prominent, there is significant office based economic activity outwith the central area.

Office Space 1.jpg

In addition to high profile headquarters the city has a deep pool of businesses across the size ranges leaning towards smaller organisations. The average office is around 20 years old, mid-urban, comparatively affordable, and is let to a mix of small to medium sized enterprises.


Between 2013 and 2018 a total of 88,943 square metres of floorspace was completed. Almost 70% was within the city centre. Office Space 5.jpg

Despite the development of new offices there has been a net loss of office floorspace as stock lost to alternative uses has exceeded new development. However the stock has improved, as new purpose-built offices replace older buildings.

Demand is high, particularly in the city centre. There is 538,000 square metres of office development with planning permission but only 10% of this is in the city centre.

Edinburgh’s new-build offices tend to be small, expensive co-working spaces, or large, expensive headquarters. However, most the city’s office market is ‘mid-market’ in terms of location, quality, size and cost. The continuing loss of traditional offices further reduces the supply available to that mid-market.

It is projected that over the period 2019 to 2030 Edinburgh will need between 17,000 and 30,000 square metres of net office space annually to meet demand. This could imply a land area similar to a major business park.

The study points towards the need to identify city centre locations for development or redevelopment, capture the potential of off-centre office locations and meet the needs and demands of the city’s large mid-market.

For the City Plan 2030, we have also been looking at shopping and leisure, visitor accommodation and business and industry. All the City Plan 2030 commercial needs studies are available to view here.

And in addition to these studies we annually monitor several development types across Edinburgh including, office, industry, retail, hotels, leisure, and student accommodation. Reports on each of these areas are available here.

The timetable for preparing City Plan 2030 and details on how you can get involved is set out in the development plan scheme.

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West End – Business Improvement District

Hello Everyone,

Another week brings about another interesting story unfolding in Edinburgh that we’d like to share with you.  Katie and I have been out and about investigating what’s going on in the city.  We met with Erica Flett, the Project Manager of the Edinburgh West End ‘Business Improvement District’ (BID).  Erica, along with the board of directors and the area’s nearly 200 business owners, have brought the BID to life, highlighting the West End’s many attractions.

BIDs are where local businesses work together to help improve the area.  The BID is decided by businesses through a ballot process.  If successful, the businesses pay a levy which is then spent on local improvements. There are four BIDs in Edinburgh.

Edinburgh West End sign
Edinburgh West End sign

Erica’s challenge is to create awareness and an identity for the West End as an area that offers something for everyone and highlighting the area’s rich cultural history.  She hopes to bring more opportunity for businesses and local residents in the area with the use of cultural events, historical trails and social media.  Please check out their website to get updated as to what’s going on.

A West End building
Randolph Place in the West End

Upcoming Events:

West End is excited to invite local people and visitors to wander the beautiful cobbled streets with the Sketcher. The Edinburgh Sketcher will teach you how to capture a likeness of our historic Georgian crescents and demonstrate how easy it is to add watercolour to your sketch of the West End.

The West End, in partnership with Edinburgh World Heritage has produced a historical trail map to encourage you to explore the historic streets of the West End, a key part of the city’s World Heritage Site. The trail reveals links to famous ‘West Enders’ of the past such as Dr Joseph Bell, who provided the inspiration for Conan Doyle’s fictional character Sherlock Holmes. Visit any West End shop, boutique or pub and pick up a copy of the trail map!

Mark your calendars for two exciting events taking place at St Mary’s, one of Edinburgh’s most beautiful historic buildings in the heart of the West End. From 1 August to 3 September will be an exhibition of Women in the West End and on 11 August at 8:30pm will be a Night at the Opera, a Celebration of Dr Joseph Bell.

Walking through the West End yesterday was a real treat and with the help of the BID’s Shopfront Improvement Grant scheme, we’re already seeing the historical character of the area restored.  It’s evident that Erica’s vision for the area will see the West End become an ever greater thriving business and leisure destination with independent boutiques blossoming and the cafe culture taking off. As Erica said,

“With concentrated efforts of the BID and creative engagement from the West End businesses, The West End will easily become the go to destination for shoppers, dinners and home buyers. The BID is hard at work supporting local traders, communicating with residents and interacting with the local council. It is with great enthusiasm that the West End look forward to the next few years as a BID!” 

Visit the West End’s FaceBook page for more information.

Luke and Katie