Applying to do work to protected trees

Edinburgh has a significant number of protected trees with approximately 180 Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) in place (these include individual trees and groups of trees), and 50 conservation areas. Permission is required to do work to a tree protected by a TPO or a tree within a conservation area.

As a result, we receive large numbers of tree applications, with over 1000 applications submitted last year. To help us deal better with the volume and complexity of these cases we have made a number of improvements, including increasing resources, changing how we validate (check in) tree applications and updating our online information.

RESOURCES

In terms of the team, we have secured some additional resources on a temporary basis which will help us manage the large number of tree applications we are receiving.  We hope this will see continued improvement on the time we take to handle applications and reduce the backlog.

WHAT IS CHANGING?

All tree applications will now be validated by dedicated tree technicians who will review the content of submissions before allocating it to a tree officer.

This means that the tree officers will have all the information they require to assess the application. It will reduce the amount of time that is spent requesting further information so they can concentrate on assessing the applications and hopefully speed up the process.

Will be asking those who make applications for works to trees to:

  • Make sure they apply for the right consent and tick the right box on the ePlanning form i.e. conservation area or TPO.
  • Give the right address for where the tree is actually located (and not just the address of the client)
  • Provide photos of the tree/s and its context
  • Give a detailed description of the works based on BS3998:2010

Applications will no longer be validated unless they have all the information necessary for us to assess it.  We will require the information to be submitted within 14 days, otherwise the application will be returned to the applicant or agent undetermined.  Doing work to a protected tree without permission would be a criminal offence.

ONLINE GUIDANCE ON HOW TO APPLY FOR WORKS TO TREES

At the start of the year we renewed our Planning Trees webpages and updated our guidance on doing works to trees: www.edinburgh.gov.uk/privatelyownedtrees

We have also produced a ‘quick guide’ on applying for work to trees which sets out how to check for protected trees and has a summary of what is required as part of the ePlanning submission.  

CUSTOMER FORUM

We will continue to review the new process and in due course we will be holding a customer forum for agents who make tree applications to get their feedback.

In the meantime, thank you for your patience as we put these changes in place.

Consultation on the Merchiston & Greenhill Conservation Area Character Appraisal Revision

In 2018, the Planning Committee approved an updated programme of review of the existing conservation area character appraisals.

As part of this ongoing process, the Merchiston and Greenhill Conservation Area Character Appraisal has now been revised and we are seeking your views on the draft text.

The Merchiston and Greenhill Conservation Area was originally designated in May 1986 and the first character appraisal for the area was approved in April 2003.

The revised draft character appraisal amends the text of the original appraisal for its final publication as a digital document that will include images, photographs and interactive maps.

No boundary changes to the conservation area are proposed.

We are seeking views on the following aspects of the revised Conservation Area Character Appraisal:

  • How clearly does the appraisal set out the issues within the Merchiston and Greenhill Conservation Area
  • To what extent you agree or disagree with the proposed revised appraisal of the Merchiston and Greenhill Conservation Area

The consultation is available now, should take less than 10 minutes to complete and is open until 11 Feb 2022

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.