The Programme is used to assess the supply of land for housing and the delivery of new homes within the City of Edinburgh Council area. It records the amount of land available for house building, identifies any constraints affecting development, and assesses the land supply in the area.
Sites included in the HLACP are housing sites under construction, sites with planning consent, sites in adopted or finalised Local Plans and, as appropriate, other buildings and land with agreed potential for housing development. The audit does not include new proposals from the proposed City Plan 2030.
As predicted last year, the Covid-19 pandemic and the national lockdown during the second quarter of 2020 has resulted in the number of completions over the year to April 2021 being lower than recent years. Housebuilding activity is now back to the pre-pandemic level with expected completions over the next five years averaging 2,600 per year.
The Programme demonstrates that there is more than enough unconstrained housing land to meet the remaining housing land requirement in full and that the five-year completions programme is above target.
This short video below gives an overview of the Programme:
For a housing site to be considered ‘effective’, it must be free of all constraints that would prevent development. Sites are considered against a range of criteria set out in Planning Advice Note 2/2010 “Affordable Housing and Housing Land Audits”. These include ownership, physical (e.g. slope, aspect, stability, flood risk, access), contamination, deficit funding, marketability, infrastructure and land use.
As at 31 March 2021, there was enough land free of planning constraints and available for development for 22,411 houses.
The effective land supply is varied in type, size and location. It is spread over a range of locations and includes brownfield (54%) and greenfield (46%) sites as shown on the above map.
The next annual Housing Land Audit and Completions Programme will be carried out in Spring 2022 and reported to Planning Committee in Autumn 2022.
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.