The Planning & Building Standards Customer Forum 2019

The third annual Planning & Building Standards Customer Forum took place last week in the Council Chambers. A wide range of customers including community councillors, planning and building agents, architects, developers and community groups took part in group discussions to provide us with valuable feedback on our services.

In the last year, there have been many changes and improvements across both Planning and Building Standards including a major ICT system upgrade and the introduction of a new Planning Pre-application Advice Service. We have been busy implementing two Improvement Plans, one for Planning and one for Building Standards, both making progress across three themes:

  • Leadership and management
  • Customer
  • Continuous improvement and performance

We are always trying to improve our customer service and looking for new ways of working to do things better.

The ways in which we share information was of particular interest to us this year. We communicate with our customers in a number of ways:

  • Via the Planning & Building Standards Helpdesk, which can be accessed in person at Waverley Court, over the phone on 0131 529 3550 or by emailing
  • The Planning & Building Standards Portal which enables anybody to view planning applications and building warrants online whenever they want to
  • Our website has a large amount of guidance for a wide range of different planning and building matters
  • The City Plan 2030 project regularly publishes newsletter & holds workshops
  • The Building Standards Newsletter
  • Community council training events
  • Development and Civic Forums
  • Committee Webcasts
  • On Twitter @planningedin
  • And via this blog –

There was also an update on City Plan 2030. The main consultation stage for City Plan 2030 – ‘Choices for City Plan 2030’ is planed to start in December and we are currently arranging the details of our engagement events. You can find out more about the timetable and how we will be preparing City Plan 2030 in our new Development Plan Scheme. You can keep up to date with the City Plan 2030 project on this blog or contact us or subscribe to our newsletter by emailing

Planning and Building Standards Customer Forum is held every year, providing the opportunity for customers and Council officers to get together to discuss our services. If you are interested in attending next year’s Forum, or wish to provide us with your feedback regarding any of the above, please get in touch via

Thank you again to all who came along, and we look forward to welcoming you to our next Customer Forum in 2020.

West End – Business Improvement District

Hello Everyone,

Another week brings about another interesting story unfolding in Edinburgh that we’d like to share with you.  Katie and I have been out and about investigating what’s going on in the city.  We met with Erica Flett, the Project Manager of the Edinburgh West End ‘Business Improvement District’ (BID).  Erica, along with the board of directors and the area’s nearly 200 business owners, have brought the BID to life, highlighting the West End’s many attractions.

BIDs are where local businesses work together to help improve the area.  The BID is decided by businesses through a ballot process.  If successful, the businesses pay a levy which is then spent on local improvements. There are four BIDs in Edinburgh.

Edinburgh West End sign
Edinburgh West End sign

Erica’s challenge is to create awareness and an identity for the West End as an area that offers something for everyone and highlighting the area’s rich cultural history.  She hopes to bring more opportunity for businesses and local residents in the area with the use of cultural events, historical trails and social media.  Please check out their website to get updated as to what’s going on.

A West End building
Randolph Place in the West End

Upcoming Events:

West End is excited to invite local people and visitors to wander the beautiful cobbled streets with the Sketcher. The Edinburgh Sketcher will teach you how to capture a likeness of our historic Georgian crescents and demonstrate how easy it is to add watercolour to your sketch of the West End.

The West End, in partnership with Edinburgh World Heritage has produced a historical trail map to encourage you to explore the historic streets of the West End, a key part of the city’s World Heritage Site. The trail reveals links to famous ‘West Enders’ of the past such as Dr Joseph Bell, who provided the inspiration for Conan Doyle’s fictional character Sherlock Holmes. Visit any West End shop, boutique or pub and pick up a copy of the trail map!

Mark your calendars for two exciting events taking place at St Mary’s, one of Edinburgh’s most beautiful historic buildings in the heart of the West End. From 1 August to 3 September will be an exhibition of Women in the West End and on 11 August at 8:30pm will be a Night at the Opera, a Celebration of Dr Joseph Bell.

Walking through the West End yesterday was a real treat and with the help of the BID’s Shopfront Improvement Grant scheme, we’re already seeing the historical character of the area restored.  It’s evident that Erica’s vision for the area will see the West End become an ever greater thriving business and leisure destination with independent boutiques blossoming and the cafe culture taking off. As Erica said,

“With concentrated efforts of the BID and creative engagement from the West End businesses, The West End will easily become the go to destination for shoppers, dinners and home buyers. The BID is hard at work supporting local traders, communicating with residents and interacting with the local council. It is with great enthusiasm that the West End look forward to the next few years as a BID!” 

Visit the West End’s FaceBook page for more information.

Luke and Katie