Edinburgh’s Proposed Designation of a Short-Term Let Control Area Consultation

This week sees the opening of the consultation on a Short-Term Let Control Area for Edinburgh.

Legislation introduced in April 2021 allows a local authority, subject to the approval of Scottish Government, to designate all or part of their area as a short-term let control area. 

A control area is a legal designation.  In a control area a property owner who is letting out a residential property (which is not their principal home) on a short-term let basis would have to apply for ‘change of use’ approval through the planning application process.

Short-term lets of private rooms or shared rooms where the property is the only or principal home of the host will not be affected by the control area requirement. This allows for house swaps at holidays and also for the host to let out the entire property when they are on holiday or working away, provided the property remains their only or principal home.

It is proposed that the entire Council area is designated as a Short-Term Let Control Area.  

There are a significant number of short-term lets in Edinburgh.  In the period 2016-2019 there was a substantial rise in the number of both entire properties and rooms registered with Airbnb.  In 2019, 31% of all Airbnb listings in Scotland were in the city of Edinburgh.  

Short-term lets can provide additional accommodation during important times of the year however there are many associated impacts which have been identified nationally, including the supply and affordability of housing and disruption to local communities and to neighbours. 

In the absence of a Control Area use of a dwelling for short-term let only requires planning permission if on assessment of the material circumstances it is considered a change of use has occurred.  Therefore, currently the use of many dwellings as short-term lets falls out with planning control.

A control area for Edinburgh, that establishes the need for planning permission for short-terms lets, would help manage high concentrations of short-term letting, control short-term letting in types of buildings where it is not appropriate and help ensure homes are used to best effect. 

Details of the proposed designation are available on our Planning Web page.   

Why we are consulting

Responses will be used to inform the decision on taking forward a Short-Term Let Control Area for formal designation. 

The consultation period is open for 9 weeks, from the 3rd September 2021 until 5th November 2021.

We would welcome views via our consultation hub

To keep up to date with the Short-Term Lets Control Area;

Revised City Centre Retail and Leisure Supplementary Guidance Consultation

Twitter image
Click here to view and comment on the proposed guidance.

The Council prepares guidance for the City Centre under the Planning (Scotland) Act.  The guidance is a requirement of Policy Ret 9, Alternative Use of Shop Units in Defined Centres, of our Local Development Plan. We do this to guide shops and non-shop uses in town centres including the city centre.

The current supplementary guidance for the city centre was adopted in February 2017.  The guidance sets out the policies that apply to the city centre retail core, the boundary of which is defined on the LDP proposals map. The guidance sets out the circumstances where a planning application for a change of use from a shop to a non-shop use will be supported.

Since the original guidance was adopted there has been changes in circumstances that are likely to have an impact on the city centre such as; wider changes to shopping trends, the publication of our City Centre Transformation strategy, the publication of a retail and leisure study, the future opening of the new Edinburgh St James and many changes of use in the centre.

A stakeholder workshop was held on 29 May 2019 for interested stakeholders to raise concerns about the city centre, changes in circumstance and discuss options for amending the guidance to address this changes. As a result we have now prepared draft revised guidance for consultation.

The key changes to the guidance are as follows:

  • Altering existing policy covering Princes Street to provide significantly more flexibility.
  • Creating a new separate policy for Castle Street, Frederick Street and Hanover Street which is much more flexible that other named streets.
  • Altering the existing policy covering the frontages of other named streets in the retail core to be more flexible.
  • Altering the existing policy covering elsewhere in the city centre retail core, by determining changes of use based on streets rather than units in a row.

In addition, an issue related to food and drink uses is the use of outdoor awnings and fixtures which can be considered development and therefore requires planning permission. In the past we would not support such development due to its visual impact on streets and conservation areas and its effect on the use of public space.

However, we may use guidance to introduce policy for considering temporary planning permission for high quality fixtures in the right places. This will allow us to trial and assess the effect of these proposals in certain places.

The Council is now seeking comments on the revised guidance as well as views on the use of outdoor awnings and fixtures. The consultation exercise will last from 9 August to 20 September 2019 and we encourage all interested stakeholders to submit comments on the guidance via the Council’s consultation hub.

Following the consultation we will collate and consider the comments we receive before preparing the final version of the guidance for adoption.

Redford Barracks Place Brief – Consultation Event

redford workshop

Last week we hosted the first two of three consultation events to allow the public, local interest groups and stakeholders to express their ideas about the future of Redford Barracks and its redevelopment. Thank you to everyone who attended the events at Colinton Bowling club and Boroughmuir Rugby Club. Around 90 people came long to speak to officers about future plans for the site and many more have made comments online.

The Ministry of Defence is proposing to dispose of the Redford Barracks in 2025 creating an opportunity to knit this large site back into the fabric of the surrounding area. In order to make the most of this opportunity, City of Edinburgh Planning Service will prepare a Place Brief setting out agreed uses and design parameters to guide the future development of the site. As part of this work we are asking local people and groups to give us their views on the site and surrounding area; taking into account elements such as:

  • Housing  including affordable and mixed tenure housing
  • Routes through the site for pedestrians, cycles and vehicles
  • The preservation of listed buildings and how they might be enhanced
  • Green spaces and trees and opportunities to create, enhance and improve them
  • What other uses might be appropriate for the site

The online consultation – open to anyone – is available here.

Are there any features of the site you want to see retained? Is there any part of the surrounding area you would like to bring to our attention? What uses would you like to see provided on the site?

Please fill out the online consultation and come along to our next event at Oxgangs Library on Tuesday 18 June from 2pm to 7pm.

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.

Old and New Towns of Edinburgh World Heritage Site…

… have your say.

WHS panorama and logoThis is your opportunity to have your say on how the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh World Heritage Site should be managed.

The consultation opened on Friday 1 July and will run until 1 August 2016.

We’ve had over 230 responses since Friday and the results are starting to take shape…

Pavilion Postcard
This wheel is a visual representation of the results so far (click to enlarge).

So far, this is what the respondents have scored high:

  • Feeling Safe
  • Livability
  • Facilities and amenities
  • Identity and belonging
  • Natural Space

Themes that are not scoring so well include:

  • Control and Guidance
  • Contribution of new developments to city centre
  • Housing
  • Visitor management
  • Care and maintenance of buildings and streets
  • Influence and sense of control

Public consultations are only as effective as the input from those who participate, so if you haven’t done so yet, please take a moment to share your thoughts, ideas and suggestions using our online survey.

You can also download the survey and send comments to worldheritage@edinburgh.gov.uk

Watch this space to see how the shape of the wheel evolves over the coming weeks.