Changes to pre-application consultation with local communities

View of Princes Street from the Castle looking North on a sunny day.

Changes are coming to the way pre-application consultation with local communities takes place.

All applications for national or major development must comply with the Pre-Application Consultation (PAC) process. Where pre-application consultation is required, applicants must submit a Proposal of Application Notice (PAN) at least 12 weeks prior to the submission of the planning application.

Previously, a minimum of one event was required to take place, however for notices submitted after 1 October, there will now need to be two events, in accordance with The Town and Country Planning (Pre-Application Consultation) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2021 .

At the second event the application will provide feedback on comments received regarding the proposed development. Both of these exhibition/events must be press advertised.

The changes also introduce a time limit of 18 months within which an application must be submitted.

Notices submitted prior to 1 October will not be required to hold two events but will be subject to the 18 month time limit, starting from 1 October. 

Since the first outbreak of Covid in March 2020, all events have been taking place online. For notices received after 1 October, all events must now be in person. It is still good practice however to provide online information for those not able to attend in person.

The Edinburgh Development Concordat promotes collaborative working between the developer, community councils and the Council. It is recommended that an engagement strategy is prepared which sets out how community feedback will be sought. This could include the use of:

  • Public meetings
  • Meetings with community councils
  • Exhibitions with developer staff on hand to answer questions
  • Social media to promote events
  • Bespoke websites for the development
  • Surveys – both online and in person
  • Posters in local libraries and other public places
  • Leaflets distributed to properties in the local area

Consultation should be a meaningful engagement with the community and should offer the opportunity to mitigate negative impacts and misunderstandings and deal with community issues that can be addressed.

Changes to Edinburgh’s Planning Fees

Looking across Edinburgh on a sunny day. Edinburgh Castle is in the foreground with Princes Street Gardens, Princes Street and the New Town running left to right beyond.

Following the national fee changes in April 2022, there are two further important changes to planning fees specific to Edinburgh.

To reflect these changes, we have created a Planning Fees Charter which is now available on our website.

  • From 1 October 2022 retrospective planning applications will be subject to a 25% surcharge
  • Reduced fees: some fees for not for profit or social enterprises can now receive a 25% discount

Below is a summary of the changes:

Retrospective Applications

A retrospective application is an application for planning permission for a development which has already commenced or has been completed without planning permission.

Retrospective applications often result from Enforcement enquiries but can also be the result of other factors. A surcharge on retrospective applications is being introduced to provide a means of recovering some of the costs of carrying out enforcement investigations.

From 1 October 2022, Edinburgh Council will be imposing the maximum 25% surcharge allowed by the regulations.

As an example, an average householder application for a summerhouse in retrospect, would mean the normal application fee of £300 plus a further 25% (£75).

If you are submitting a retrospective application, it is important that you highlight this at the time of submission.

The surcharge will not be calculated when an application is submitted on e-planning.scot. This is because e-planning is a national service which does not consider individual charges by local authorities. This will mean that the extra fee will be requested when your application is registered. If the required surcharge is not paid, your application will not be progressed to determination.

Reduced Fees

Starting immediately, Edinburgh Council will reduce the fee by 25% for applications which relates to development which

  • has the primary purpose of contributing to a not for profit or social enterprise
  • relates to development which is likely to contribute to improving the health of residents in the area to which the application relates.

Applications must meet both the above criteria to be considered for an exemption.

The amount levied will depend on the type of application. For example, a £300 fee would be reduced to £225.

The full statutory fee should be paid when the application is submitted. The Council will make a decision on receipt of an application as to whether a 25% reduction is applicable and will refund the applicant accordingly.

Prospective applicants should make clear in their supporting information if they are seeking a reduction in the application fee.

Clear justification should be given for why the applicant believes that a reduction in the fee is applicable.

For full details, see our revised Planning Fees Charter.

REMINDER: Planning and Building Standards systems upgrade 8-12 August

Next week an upgrade of Planning and Building Standards systems is planned from Monday 8 August – Friday 12 August.

The means the Planning and Building Standards Portal will be unavailable during this time.

The weekly list of planning applications will not be issued on the week beginning Monday 8 August and you will be unable to view and comment on applications.

Relevant applications will have additional time added for comments to be made to take account of the downtime.

A temporary webpage is now in place and has the planning documents for the Local Review Body and the Development Management Sub Committee, both on Wednesday 10 August;

www.edinburgh.gov.uk/pbsupgrade

During this time, you will be unable to view enforcement cases or the enforcement register.  Enforcement enquires can still be made using the online form.

Planning and building warrant applications can continue to be submitted online through eDevelopment.

You can keep up to date by following us on Twitter @planningedin or subscribing to the Planning Blog.

Planning and Building Standards systems upgrade 8-12 August

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. 

The weekly list of planning applications will not be issued on the week beginning Monday 8 August and you will be unable to view and comment on applications.

Relevant applications will have additional time added for comments to be made to take account of the downtime.

Arrangements are being put in place to ensure information will be available for the forthcoming Local Review Body and Development Management Sub Committees.  

During this time, you will be unable to view enforcement cases or the enforcement register.  Enforcement enquires can still be made using the online form.

Planning and building warrant applications can continue to be submitted online through eDevelopment.

You can keep up to date by following us on Twitter @planningedin or subscribing to the Planning Blog

Edinburgh excels at the RTPI Scotland Awards for Planning Excellence and the Scottish Transport Awards

Visualisation of George VI Bridge as part of the Edinburgh City Centre Transformation
Edinburgh City Centre Transformation

Two major Council projects that will transform Edinburgh for future generations have been recognized at the inaugural Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Scotland Awards for Planning Excellence.

An entry for Edinburgh’s City Centre Transformation, which will create a vibrant and people-focused capital city centre, won ‘Best Plan’ in Scotland. This was submitted by design consultants Jacobs.

Our other finalist, the Green Blue Network Project, which was entered by consultants Atkins, takes a holistic approach to sustainable water management and climate change adaptation. This will also go through to the UK/ Ireland National RTPI awards.

Both projects have involved significant partnership working with organisations like Sustrans, Scottish Water, SEPA, Paths for All, Scottish Wildlife Trust and NatureScot.

Meanwhile at the Scottish Transport Awards  multiple Edinburgh projects, as well as Edinburgh Trams and Lothian Buses, have just been shortlisted for awards;

  • Most effective in Road Safety, Traffic Management and Enforcement:
    • Edinburgh Trams – Permit+
  • Best Practice in Travel to School and Work Schemes:
    • Lothian Buses – Lothian Accessibility
  • Public Transport Operator of the Year:
    • Lothian Buses and Edinburgh Trams
  • Best Bus Service:
    • Lothian Buses – Vaccination Service
  • Excellence in Transport Accessibility:
    • Lothian Buses – Lothian Accessibility
  • Excellence in Walking, Public Realm & Cycling:
    • Cyclehoop Ltd – Edinburgh & Glasgow Bikehangar Scheme – Secure On-Street Residential Cycle Parking
  • Contribution to Sustainable Transport:
    • Lothian Buses – Contribution to Sustainable Transport
  • Most Innovative Transport Project of the Year:
    • The City of Edinburgh Council – City Mobility Plan
  • Excellence in Technology and Innovation:
    • Edinburgh Trams – Permit+
    • Lothian Buses – Lothian Operations Hub
  • Transport Team/ Partnership of the Year:
    • City of Edinburgh Council – 20 Minute Neighbourhood Programme Delivery Team
    • Lothian Buses and Police Scotland
  • Excellence in Travel Information & Marketing:
    • The City of Edinburgh Council – Edinburgh Travel Tracker
  • Frontline Employee of the Year:
    • Stuart Mearns, Assistant Engineering Manager at Edinburgh Trams

View the full list of nominations here (PDF).