Help us Celebrate World Heritage Day 2019 in the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh

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Image © HES: World Heritage Day 2018, Kelvingrove Museum and Gallery, Glasgow

If you are passing by the Tron Kirk on the Royal Mile on Thursday 18 April, come in and explore the Our World Heritage exhibition which gives visitors an insight into what makes Old and New Towns of Edinburgh World Heritage Site, and each of Scotland’s other World Heritage Sites so special and why they are internationally recognised.

After you have visited the exhibition why not stay on for a variety of fun and interesting activities on offer on World Heritage Day:

  • Discover more about real people who lived in Old and New Towns of Edinburgh in the 18th century through our Auld Reekie handling box
  • Try out brass rubbing
  • Make your very own mini 18th century replica sedan chair
  • Visit our World Heritage stall to learn about all of Scotland’s World Heritage Sites
  • To further celebrate World Heritage Day, Edinburgh World Heritage will host their annual World Heritage Day lecture. This year the pre-eminent historian Professor Sir Tom Devine, will deliver ‘Victorian Edinburgh Powerhouse of the Empire?’ For further details please visit the EWH website

Councillor Neil Gardiner, Planning Convener, said: “We’re really proud of our World Heritage Sites in Edinburgh. I would encourage residents and visitors alike to pop in to the Tron Kirk and learn more about our city’s rich heritage. There’s lots of activities planned for all ages and its events like this that help encourage us all to make sure we look after these historic sites for generations to come.”

Friendly and knowledgeable staff from Historic Environment Scotland and City of Edinburgh Council will be on hand to have a chat or answer any questions.

Drop-in from 10am to 4pm on 18 April to enjoy the above activities.

The exhibition is open during the Tron Kirk’s normal opening times.

Housing Land Audit and Delivery Programme 2017

The Supply of Land

The Council use something called the Housing Land Audit and Delivery Programme (HLADP) to assess the supply of effective land for housing in Edinburgh.

What is effective land?

Effective land must be free of any constraints that could prevent the building of homes. These constraints can include:

  • who owns the land;
  • contamination;
  • how easily the land can be sold;
  • infrastructure (including roads and schools for example) and;
  • how the land is currently used or has been used in the past.

The Strategic Development Plan for South East Scotland sets out how many new homes the city needs. This figure is currently 20,222 to be built by 2026.

Our latest housing land assessment in October was the 2017 HLADP. We have identified effective land for 23,329 houses on a mix of both brownfield (55%) and greenfield (45%) sites.

Sites included in the 2017 HLADP are in the Local Development Plan or have planning permission.

HLADP MAP

The Delivery of Homes

The HLADP examines the supply of land and the expected delivery of new homes.

table for blog

The output target is a five-year segment of the housing land supply target. The delivery programme is the number of homes likely to be built over the next five-years. We calculate this figure in agreement with Homes for Scotland.

Accelerating Delivery Rates

Many factors, including the strength of the economy and the demand for housing, can affect the construction of new homes. Even if we have enough land, it won’t always mean that houses will be built.

The credit crunch has affected the construction of housing in recent years. Although the country is still recovering from this, completions have doubled in the last four years. Current build rates in the city are steadily growing.

We are working to find ways to further speed up build rates in the city. The diagram below highlights some of the factors we have identified.

HLADP table

What’s next for the HLADP?

We will be using the HLADP to update our next Local Development Plan Action Programme. We’re also doing work to identify potential interventions to increase the delivery of housing. That will be reported next year.

Look out for our next blog post about a housing site currently under construction in the city.

 

Old and New Towns World Heritage Site Management Plan review consultation results

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Almost 600 of you took part in our July survey on the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh World Heritage Site- a great response, thank you!

Number of respondents of the consultation on Old and New Towns of Edinburgh World Heritage Site
Number of respondents of the consultation on Old and New Towns of Edinburgh World Heritage Site

We wanted to understand more about the strengths and weaknesses of the Site to inform how best to manage it.

The survey was based around 14 key themes: awareness of the World Heritage status, maintenance of buildings and streets, moving around, natural space, city centre economy, guidance, new developments, housing, visitor management, sense of belonging, facilities, sense of control, safety, livability.

The survey showed that Edinburgh continues to be an attractive place for people to live and work that engenders a strong sense of identity and belonging.

However, when asked to think about the maintenance of buildings and streets as well as the impact of new development, respondents expressed concern. The availability of housing, the impact of the tourist economy and transportation were topics that divided opinion.

This blog sums up the results. For a more complete overview of the results, please watch the video below or you can also download a copy of the results. If you would like to hear what people said then you can listen to some conversations in a previous post here.

Some of the celebrated strengths (scoring 5/7 or more):

  • Natural Space
  • Identity and belonging
  • Livability
  • Feeling Safe
  • Facilities and amenities

Overall, the respondents are very satisfied with Edinburgh’s city centre as a place to live and work. The parks and green spaces were very highly rated and the city centre is felt to be safer than most the one’s of other comparable capitals. More lighting at night and a reduction of the traffic speed was suggested to create an even greater sense of safety in the area.

Edinburgh’s strong visual identity and its years of history were thought to be contributing to a real sense of pride and belonging to the city. The respondents felt generally positive about the level of amenities and facilities the city centre offers, as there is a wide range of offer and there are easily accessible.

Areas of debate (scoring 3 to 4/7):

  • Housing
  • Moving around
  • City centre economy

The cost of living, the city centre economy and the ease to move around were topics that generated a lot of comments.

Affordable housing is a key issue and it was felt that the city centre should be providing more affordable housing options to retain its resident population in the city centre.  And while the compactness of the city is seen as an asset, many said that traffic still dominates pedestrian and cycling movement. Opinion was divided as to whether the Royal Mile achieved enough for its residents as it is thought to be too geared towards tourists.

Recognisable challenges (Scoring 3/7 or lower)

Out of the 14 initial themes, the 6 themes that scored the lowest or engendered the most negative comments were:

  • Care and Maintenance of buildings and streets
  • Control and Guidance
  • Contribution of new developments to city centre
  • Influence and sense of control
  • Visitor Management
  • Awareness of World Heritage Site

When asked to think about the level of care and maintenance of buildings and streets, residents felt that there is still a lot to be done. Issues such as general litter and the quality of road and pavements were mentioned. Making sure that planning laws were enforced is critical for the respondents. Recent new developments divided opinion, the respondents are hoping for better quality and more innovative architecture that is respectful of the Old Town and New Town’s architectural context.

The influence and sense of control is one area that could be improved as the respondents felt they were being asked to participate but failed to see the impact of this participation.

The balance between visitor and resident needs was a source of numerous comments. The Royal Mile attracts the largest number of tourists but is seen to not deliver enough for the resident’s population. While despite the fact the awareness of the city centre’s World Heritage site status was rated highly, respondents were mostly unaware of what it meant and what the benefits were.

What are we doing about this feedback?

The feedback was very constructive and the partnership is currently taking the responses forward to develop a detailed management plan with the key priorities for site’s management.

An oversight group made of community council and business representatives, elected members, advisors from ICOMOS UK (International Council on monuments and Sites UK) and the management partners (City of Edinburgh Council, Historic Environment Scotland, Edinburgh World Heritage) is meeting at the beginning of November to discuss the outcomes of this consultation.

These results are the key to further develop measures to maintain, preserve and enhance the quality and experience of the World Heritage Site.

As the management plan is not a generic city plan, there were inevitably issues raised which are not directly related to the Outstanding Universal Value of the site and best addressed by other strategies. All of the consultation results that relate to other strategies are being fed back up to the relevant contacts.

What next?

The draft plan will be out for formal consultation in March 2017. More information will be provided on the blog and the Hub in due course.

New Town Conservation Area – your views on new buildings

Hello everyone, Katie and I have been out exploring the New Town, taking photographs of some new developments within the conservation area to help raise awareness of the consultation for the New Town Character Appraisal.  This overlaps with the consultation on the World Heritage Site Management Plan and is another way to get feedback on new buildings.

New Town Door
New Town door

A character appraisal is a document which helps to manage change in conservation areas. It sets out what makes an area special and worthy of conservation.  This provides the context for planning decisions on proposals affect the character and appearance of the conservation area.  The character appraisal for the New Town Conservation Area is currently under review and this is an opportunity for people to have their say about some new buildings in the area.

The survey results will help with our understanding of how well the current character appraisal reflects the character and appearance of area as it is today.  The results will also help us see how effective (or not) the character appraisal has been in managing change over the years.

Princes Street Primark
Princes Street: Primark

It would be great if you would take 5 -10 minutes to give us your views using our online survey.

Luke and Katie

World Heritage at the Pavilion

Hello again,

On Tuesday morning Katie and I joined Jenny and Chloe from the World Heritage team at the Edinburgh Pavilion, Pop-Up Cities expo on the Mound.  They are working on the review of the management plan for the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh World Heritage Site.  This involves getting the views of those who live, work and visit Edinburgh.  They’ve launched a consultation to get as much feedback as possible on Edinburgh as a World heritage Site.

Whilst Edinburgh is a tourist hotspot it also benefits from being a World Heritage Site – with this comes the challenge of managing a city that isn’t just a museum but a liveable place.  The aim of the consultation is to understand what people need from their city in to keep its special status as somewhere that’s loved and treasured.  We share this with the other famous sites such as Durham, Bath and further afield cities such as Rome, Bruges, Florence, St. Petersberg, Old Havana and the list goes on.

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Our mission at the pavilion was to help get the word out and encourage people to get involved in the discussion.  To get make a your comment you can complete this online survey.

Closer to home this month, each of the Expo cities (as part of the Festival of Architecture) will give a talk on their pavilion and how it was inspired by their own unique landscape. If you’re interested check out this link to sign up for free and join us there.

Luke and Katie