Colinton Conservation Area Character Appraisal

The revised Colinton Conservation Area Character Appraisal is now online. Conservation Area Character Appraisals are intended to help manage change. They provide an agreed basis of understanding of what makes an area special.

This understanding informs and provides the context in which decisions can be made on proposals which may affect that character.

An enhanced level of understanding, combined with appropriate management tools, ensures that change and development sustains and respects the qualities and special characteristics of the area.

The richness of Colinton’s built heritage is considerable. It is this complexity and diversity which make it attractive yet make these qualities hard to define.

These are qualities and conflicts that must be resolved if the character of Colinton is to be sensitively interpreted and enhanced.

You can download the full Conservation Area Character Appraisal here

Planning and Building Standards Service COVID -19 Update (22 May 2020)

virtual dmsub west craigs masterplan
Presentation on a masterplan for housing at West Craigs at the most recent virtual Development Management Sub-committee

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.

virtual dm sub floating heads
Discussion with councillors at the most recent virtual Development Management Sub-committee

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.

Planning reform

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.

Further updates

We will continue to adapt and change our service as necessary to ensure we can continue working for the recovery of the city, such as with our previous updates to our pre-application service, weekly lists and site notices.

Please subscribe to the blog by email to receive further updates as soon as they are posted to stay up-to-date.

Review of the Marchmont, Meadows and Bruntsfield Conservation Area Character Appraisal

Marchmont tenements

We’re reviewing our Character Appraisal for the Marchmont, Meadows and Bruntsfield Conservation Area. Originally designated in 1987, the Character Appraisal was last reviewed in 2007.

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.

Trees in the Meadows

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.

Map of the Marchmont, Meadows and Bruntsfield Conservation Area

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.

Bruntsfield houses

Have your say

You can give us your views on the revised Marchmont, Meadows and Bruntsfield Conservation Area Character Appraisal until the 16 December.

50 Years of Conservation Areas

Why do we designate conservation areas?

It is 50 years since the Civic Amenities Act 1967 introduced the concept of protecting the character of areas of historic and architectural interest by the designation of conservation areas

The Edinburgh Local Development Plan, adopted in 2016, states that an ongoing review of conservation areas will consider changes to boundaries, opportunities for enhancement, and the designation of new conservation areas. Conservation area status 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.

Where are Edinburgh’s conservation areas?

There are currently 49 conservation areas in Edinburgh, including city centre areas, Victorian suburbs and former villages. Each conservation area has its own unique character and appearance. Examples include the Colonies, Dean, Old Town, New Town and South Queensferry Conservation area. The map below shows all our conservation areas:

Conservation Area

Development in Conservation Areas

The designation of a conservation area is not a barrier to all development. Character appraisals are produced to help manage change.  These set out what makes an area special and informs decisions on proposals that may affect the character of an area.  This ensures that development sustains and respects the qualities and special characteristics of the area.  All new development should respect, enhance and provide a positive impact on the area and physical land use change should be based on an understanding of the historic and urban design context.

Future conservation areas

The planning service is considering the designation of Restalrig as a conservation area. The proposed conservation area would include St. Margaret’s Parish Church and surrounding streets. The area has a long and interesting history and the designation would be a way of acknowledging its architectural and historic importance.  As the 50th conservation area in Edinburgh, it would also be an appropriate way to mark the 50 years since the Civic Amenities Act.

You can give us your views about the proposed designation of Restalrig as a conservation area from 6 – 30 October 2017.

Strategy for Setted Streets

Stone setts add significant historic and cultural value to the streets of Edinburgh and are an important feature of our cityscape.

The City of Edinburgh Council has a duty to protect the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh World Heritage Site, Conservation Areas and other historic parts of the city. This protection includes the setting of Edinburgh’s many listed buildings, where setted streets are an integral part of their identity and authenticity.

When they are not properly maintained, setted streets can have implications for walking, cycling and driving. Damaged setts are often replaced with alternative materials like tarmac as a temporary solution. This can result in an unsightly and uncared for appearance.

We are working in partnership with Edinburgh World Heritage and Historic Environment Scotland to develop a strategy for the protection and maintenance of setted streets.

Have your say

To help inform the strategy we’d like to know what you think about setted streets and their value to the city. We are also interested to know what issues you think setted streets can have on our movement.

You can give us your views until Wednesday 11 October 2017.