The Leith Walk/Halmyre Street Place Brief is now online. The approved place brief provides guidance for a co-ordinated approach to a housing-led, mixed use development on a site east of Leith Walk and west of Halmyre Street.
The place brief has been prepared by the Council’s planning service in collaboration with other Council services. It has involved extensive engagement with the local community and other stakeholders through a series of community engagement events held in January this year, covered in this blog back in May.
Future planning applications for any part of the site will be required to address the principles within the place brief to ensure that development helps to create a good place.
The place brief has the status of non-statutory planning guidance and will be a material consideration in the determination of relevant planning applications.
We’ve recently updated two important planning guidance documents to better shape development in the city, for design and for land use in the city centre. These guidance documents are used by applicants when designing and submitting applications, and by planners when assessing these applications. They are good examples of the sources we use to judge proposals that come to us and to make clear what we expect of new development.
The main changes to the guidance are covered below, with a link to the documents.
City Centre Shopping and Leisure Supplementary Guidance Changes
The Council prepares planning guidance for the City Centre under the Planning (Scotland) Act. The guidance is a statutory requirement of our Local Development Plan policy on shops to guide how and where shops and non-shop uses in town centres including the city centre are allowed.
This guidance sets out the change of use policies that apply to the city centre retail core, the boundary of which can be seen on the LDP proposals map and sets out where a planning application for a change of use from a shop to a non-shop use will be supported.
Since the guidance was first written there have been changes 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. The key changes respond to these and cover:
Altering existing guidance covering Princes Street to provide significantly more flexibility for non-shop uses.
Creating new guidance for Castle Street, Frederick Street and Hanover Street which is much more flexible than the other named streets.
Altering the existing guidance covering the frontages of the other named streets in the retail core to be more flexible.
Altering the existing guidance covering parts of the city centre retail core outside of these streets by determining changes of use based on whole streets rather than units in a row.
The guidance was written with the involvement of people working in retail in Edinburgh through workshops and was opened to public consultation before being approved by the Planning Committee on 29 January 2020. You can view the updated guidance here.
Edinburgh Design Guidance Changes
The non-statutory Edinburgh Design Guidance sets out the Council’s expectations for the design of new development in Edinburgh. It seeks to raise standards of design in the city by providing guidance on how to respond to specific design issues, from analysing a site, to masterplanning, building design, materials and streets and public spaces. The changes to the Edinburgh design Guidance were also approved at Planning Committee on 29 January 2020.
Following a workshop with elected members and working with our planning colleagues, a number of changes were identified to clarify and update the guidance. The key changes are:
A methodology for calculating density to ensure a consistent approach across the city to calculating built density. (p38)
Approved council guidance on public art is now included in the Edinburgh Design Guidance document. (p48)
Revisions to the parking standards to make their use easier and highlight where it is appropriate to differ from these standards. (p79)
Clarification of daylighting and key view assessment processes. (p99)
Guidance on designing for people with disabilities (p108) and on single aspect dwellings. (p110)
Since November, a citywide ban on ‘A’ boards and other temporary adverts has been in force. This is primarily to improve pedestrian safety and accessibility on our streets. It is part of wider efforts to help create a more welcoming, clutter-free city for everyone.
Environmental Wardens are working closely with businesses and are reporting good results across the city. Businesses have adapted to the ban in a variety of ways, including by incorporating advertising into barriers around tables and chairs (for which they have a licence) or putting a sign on their walls or windows (if allowed).
There are lots of places to go for businesses looking for more information on advertising or guidance to help them through this ongoing change;
As you can see from our photo gallery above, removing A-Boards can help make a huge difference for people with mobility issues getting around Edinburgh. By removing barriers on our pavements, it is hoped that people can move more freely across the city and businesses will feel the benefit from shoppers attracted by better pavements.
If you wish to report any A-Boards which you feel should be looked at by an Environmental Warden, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The City has a range of street types from historic streets to new streets and getting their design right is important to us all. The guidance will help to make streets places for people by giving greater emphasis to walking, cycling and public transport.
We’re using a survey to give you a chance to tell us what you think about a range of streets in Edinburgh and to help us understand your views on the guidance document.
We’re also developing a series of detailed information in the form of fact sheets as part of the guidance and we will put these online as they are prepared.
At our meeting on 27 February, the Planning Committee agreed to relax planning policy for Princes Street to allow cafes and restaurants to open up alongside the shops to make it more of a destination. A more flexible approach to Shandwick Place, Castle Street, and Queensferry Street has also been agreed. Shopping will always be one of the main reasons why people want to be in the city centre but by allowing more cafes and restaurants in certain areas it will encourage more people to spend time enjoying the spectacular views and unique atmosphere. Along with new shops opening, the tram set to run, and large parts of George Street being given to pedestrians, it is an exciting time for our city centre and the recent launch of the ‘This is Edinburgh’ promotional campaign will help increase footfall in the area.
Edinburgh Street Design Guidance
An attractive environment also helps to make a successful place and the Council is committed to providing high quality streets, pavements and public spaces. The Planning Committee agreed that consultation should soon start on our new Edinburgh Street Design Guidance. The draft guidance is clear that people should be put before cars when new streets are designed or existing streets are changed. Edinburgh has been at the forefront of street design since the 1990s and it will be interesting to hear your views on our latest proposals.
The Forth Bridge
The progress of the nomination to make The Forth Bridge a world heritage site was also reported to the Committee. It will not be until the summer of 2015 that we find out if the bid has been successful but it was encouraging to see how far it has already come.