We have always looked at housing land supply, but by also looking at how much housing has been built we can get a clearer picture of where and how house-building is being held up. This video gives an overview of the findings from the 2019 audit.
You can also view the Housing Land Audit and Completions data on our online GIS Atlas, by selecting the Housing Land Audit schedule and Housing Land Audit completions tab shown in the image at the top of this post.
The key facts from this study show that our current effective supply of land for over 22,000 homes is substantially more than our target of almost 15,000 and the current rate of house completions is also above target and projected to increase over the next two years.
The study confirms the trends of the 2018 Housing Land Audit and Completions Programme and we will keep looking at our housing land supply and completions rate as we gear up to write our policies for new housing in City Plan 2030 and identify the sites where we want to direct new housing development to. We will soon start to consult on our Choices for City Plan 2030, including potential housing locations and policies, and you can keep up to date with this by:
As part of our display in the Central Library on George IV Bridge (running until the end of the month!) we’ve shown parts of old plans and brochures for Edinburgh since the 1940’s. We would like to share some more of our planning past on this blog, to see what City Plan 2030 will follow on from.
The first item we’ve shared is the proposed Development Plan Review from 1965, an update of our very first 1957 City of Edinburgh Development Plan!
This was a early type of consultation document, written to show the main issues faced at the time, and what the planners of the day wanted to do about them, in an accessible brochure. It refers to a number of similar issues to those we are trying to tackle today, such as how growth affects the character of the city, where to direct new growth, and concerns around increased traffic.
Looking at the contents of this Review, they took a very different approach to dealing with these issues than we would today but had a lasting impact and in large part led to the shape of the city as we know it.
City region and population
In 1965 around 476,400 people lived in the city. (mid-2017 estimate – 513,210) The Review set a target to limit this number going over 491,600 by 1985.
Early on, a Regional Plan is proposed to direct at least some growth outside of Edinburgh and keep the population within this limit.
This early hint toward a Regional Plan would eventually lead to today’s SESplan for South-East Scotland, with Edinburgh at its centre. It also sets targets for housing numbers and a plan for where growth should be allowed without pushing people and jobs away from the city.
Major new roads are proposed to reduce traffic jams linked to more people owning cars and cuts to train services. The most radical ideas of the time were plans for an inner ring road, two new radial roads going into the city and a new city bypass.
Of these, only the city bypass was built and part of one radial road – the West Approach Road, but thankfully it’s not the long road link to the M8 that was hoped for. The inner ring road was later cancelled after a campaign from local groups including the Cockburn Association due to the impact it would have had on the historic city and on local housing.
Traffic and congestion is still a challenge, but public transport, active travel and better use of public space is now seen as the way to handle it. The ongoing City Centre Transformation Project and City Mobility Plan will soon share our actions which City Plan 2030 will help to deliver.
Urban renewal and housing
The number of houses required between 1965 and 1985 was estimated at 169,350. At this time there was a focus on new housing in clearance areas which were perceived as having outdated or slum housing.
Clearing and renewing areas of unfit housing was seen as a public responsibility. Comprehensive development areas were drawn up to re-plan entire districts.
One such district is St James Square, which was cleared for the St James Centre, which itself has recently been demolished for replacement by a new centre. St James was always to include new shopping and office space. These plans also made space for the ring road and a modern replacement for St Mary’s Cathedral, which did not go ahead.
In later years there has been regret over the loss of many older districts, but this was driven by a great push for social progress at the time. Today, St James is within the New Town Conservation Area and the World Heritage Site, which goes some way to protecting the special value of our places.
Click on the titles below to download the full brochure for more than what we have covered in this blog post, and the 1974 proposals map for the plan which was approved with some changes since the 1965 Review, such as removal of the New Town ring road section.
The 1965 Review shows how development plans can have a lasting impact on the city for decades to come. As we prepare City Plan 2030 we will be thinking about the impact that planning has and how important it is to involve as many people as possible in helping to shape the final plan.
With more engagement events planned around the city in the coming year, you can sign up for the mailing list by emailing the City Plan team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’d like this to be the first of a series of Past Plans blog posts, so if there are any particular plans or planning documents you’d like to see us cover please comment below and we can search the archives to see if we can include it in a future post.
We want to include the views of people involved in housing in Edinburgh as we prepare City Plan 2030, so as part of our consultation we held a housing seminar last Friday and invited a range of people representing groups with a stake in building and providing housing.
How do we work with local communities as we deliver our new homes? Elaine Scott updates the #cityplan2030 housing seminar on the 2200 new affordable homes currently being constructed in Edinburgh – and the difference that good design has on communities. #cityplan2030pic.twitter.com/X9pPIYnz36
Affordability is a real challenge – houses in Edinburgh sell for 106% of the Home Report Value and the average price of £272k is out of reach for most people – Paul Hilton from @espc on the housing market. #cityplan2030pic.twitter.com/TUET89kHet
The Housing Land Audit and Completions Programme sets out the amount of land available for house building, identifies any issues and assesses the amount of land supply against the targets and required land in the Strategic Development Plan.
We’ve produced a short video which helps explain where we are with land availability and housing completions in Edinburgh:
The audit we prepare has always provided an estimate of what is likely to be built on each site, each year. The key change is that we now look at the supply of housing land, (managed by the planning system) and the delivery of new homes (by developers and landowners) as separate things.
This is better because we can see what is holding up the building of houses, and what can be done to increase the number of new houses.
Our report to the Planning Committee on 3 October 2018 shows that there is more than enough housing land, free from development constraints and that we are exceeding our five year target to build more houses.
Historically, Bonnington was a milling village that grew around the Water of Leith. The area has since been home to business and light industry, including the John Lewis depot, the former Crawfords Biscuits warehouse and the original Chancelot Mill (before it moved to Leith Western Harbour in the 1970’s).
In more recent years, as industry has declined, the area has had great potential to provide new homes for the city.
housing development did not prejudice existing businesses;
modern, flexible business space was still provided in the area; and
better connections were made between Bonnington and wider pedestrian routes, cycle networks and green spaces.
Our development brief covers the area highlighted in purple below. It’s been almost ten years since its publication – so, what has happened in that time?
Well, there’s been a wealth of redevelopment, and the area is almost unrecognisable when compared with the 1929 aerial shot. Development in Bonnington has been residential-led and there’s potentially a lot more to come.
We recently had a walk around Bonnington to visit completed development, sites under construction and sites currently being assessed for planning permission. These included:
Located just off Newhaven Road, this development for 130 residential homes was granted planning permission in November 2012. The development was finished in 2016, on the site of the former Johnston Print Works. Although space for light industry has not been formally reinstated, business space has been provided. One unit is currently occupied.
Works to construct Bonnington Village are underway, just off Bonnington Road Lane. The development was granted planning permission in 2016 and works began in May 2017. The development will provide 214 homes, as well as two commercial units that will lie adjacent to the existing flats at Tinto Place. An improved north to south pedestrian link will also be delivered through the development.
West Bowling Green Street
The building works for 98 residential properties on West Bowling Green Street began in July 2017. As you can see in the plans below, both commercial and retail space is to be provided on the ground floor units fronting Anderson Place. The development will also deliver the foot way and cycle way we initially proposed in our development brief. You can see this route in Figure 4b above.
As we move towards our next Local Development Plan, LDP 2, we will be reflecting on how well our policies for housing and employment space have been working. New employment space is being provided in Bonnington, however, it is not as flexible as the older industrial and storage buildings it is replacing. We still think there’s a need to provide industrial space in this part of the city.
The LDP 2 process is likely to include reassessing our approach to such areas, to ensure that a variety of employment sites are available across all parts of the city.
We will be looking for your input soon as we prepare to plan for the future of Bonnington and the wider city. In the meantime, you can view and comment on the range of planning applications we receive for the city on our planning portal.