An upgrade of Planning and Building Standards systems is planned for the period from Monday 8 August – Friday 12 August.
The upgrade will result in a number of improvements including security fixes, enhanced accessibility, an online measuring tool, and will add Local Review Body information.
The process to upgrade our systems will have an impact on the delivery of the service and the Planning and Building Standards Portal, which includes the Building Standards Register, will be unavailable during this time.
It was recognised that the service is working well since it was introduced in 2019, but experience has highlighted the need for an additional option for a site visit for local developments. This will be available from 1 April 2021.
The Planning Committee also agreed a 5% increase in all Pre-Application Advice Service charges received on or after 1 April 2021, in line with the Council’s budget projections for 2021/2022.
Non-Material Variation Applications
At its meeting in February 2021, Planning Committee also agreed to additional discretionary charges for the processing of Non-Material Variation applications.
This will improve customer service and consistency across the service.
Details regarding procedures are being finalised in advance going live on 1 April 2021, but it is anticipated that Non-Material Variation applications will be required to be submitted using a standardised form, accompanied by the relevant drawings and the appropriate fee.
This process will only apply to granted planning applications and will not be applicable to Listed Building Consents, Conservation Area Consents or Advert Consents.
Full details can be found in the Planning Committee report. Further communications regarding both of these matters will be published in advance of the changes commencing on 1 April 2021.
This is our latest update to the continuing changes to the planning service as we adapt to the restrictions needed during the COVID -19 outbreak.
Development Management Sub-Committee
This week saw our first ‘virtual’ meeting of the Development Management Sub-Committee. The meeting was webcast live and went pretty smoothly thanks to a lot of preparation by all concerned.
We’ve learned that it takes a lot more resource than traditional meetings in the City Chambers. Behind-the-screens work included having back-up planners on stand-by in case of IT issues, and partners/children/pets being banished from the house, or at least the wi-fi router.
The meeting allowed several important cases to be discussed by the elected members in the sub-committee. These include some key sites in the current Local Development Plan reaching significant milestones.
We intend to hold virtual sub-committees on a regular basis from here on, which will allow us to make and issue decisions to support economic renewal and a positive future for the city.
Extended duration of Listed Building and Conservation Area Consents
The Coronavirus (Scotland) (No. 2) Bill has passed through the parliament and will soon become an Act. The Bill makes changes to some of the duties of public bodies. These changes will allow essential public services to continue to be delivered and support businesses and individuals in Scotland.
The Act will extend the duration of a listed building consent or a conservation area consent that would otherwise lapse during the emergency period because the works have not begun. The emergency period is the period beginning with the Act coming into force and ending on 6 October 2020.
Consents to which this applies will instead lapse at the end of an extended period which ends on 6 April 2021 unless works have begun before the end of the extended period.
Despite the restrictions around Coronavirus, work is still progressing on the implementation of the work programme for the Planning (Scotland) Act, which seeks to make changes to the Scottish planning system as part of a wider review of the system.
Two new provisions of the Planning (Scotland) Act are now in place. The first introduces a statutory requirement for certain types of development to include accessible toilet facilities which meet specific technical standards. Details of the standards and type of development this applies to can be found here, and this will now apply to these types of developments in Edinburgh as well as across Scotland.
The second introduces a power for planning authorities to designate parts of their council areas as short-term let control areas, as a further means of controlling where short-term lets may be permitted. There will need to further Council-wide discussions before we consider the use of this power. Details can be found here.
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.
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.
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.