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).

Edinburgh’s Proposed Low Emission Zone takes another step forward

Last week Edinburgh’s proposed Low Emission Zone (LEZ) took another step forward, as sign-off was given by the Council’s Transport & Environment Committee last Thursday for of the official objection period.

The LEZ aims to reduce air pollution, since it presents a significant threat to public health. It is especially harmful to young children, the elderly and those suffering from pre-existing conditions, including heart and lung diseases.

LEZs are being introduced across Scotland’s four largest cities: Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee in response to dangerous levels of air pollution generated by road traffic. The LEZ will improve public health by discouraging the most polluting vehicles from entering an area.

Last year we ran a consultation between June & September 2021 which received over 5,000 responses.

Following the consultation, an objection period ran from 1 February to 1 March 2022. During this time we received 26 objections and 1 letter of support. Objections were from a mixture of individuals, businesses and organisations including some Community Councils.

The most common objections were about;

  • the LEZ boundary should be wider or smaller
  • the process for assessing local exemptions
  • the modelling/evidence base & how robust it was

The next step for the LEZ is to submit the proposal to Scottish Ministers for approval. Assuming approval is granted by Ministers, the LEZ will be introduced on 31 May 2022. There will be a two year ‘grace period’, meaning it won’t be enforced until June 2024.

There are various LEZ related support funds for businesses and households available for other sustainable transport options

The Proposed LEZ will align with the Councils;

Approval given to proceed with proposal to designate Edinburgh as Short-term Let Control Area

On Wednesday at Planning Committee, proposals were approved to designate the City of Edinburgh Council area as a short-term let (STL) control area.

The proposal follows a consultation with the public as well as industry bodies. 

The majority of respondents to the consultation were in favour of a control area, with 88% supporting the principle of it, and 85% supporting the entire City of Edinburgh Council area to be included.

A report of the consultation forms part of our Report to Planning Committee. 

The designation cannot come to effect without the approval of Scottish Government. A request will be submitted to the Scottish Government requesting that the new powers are implemented in the whole of the Edinburgh area.

If the government agree with this approach, and the new legislation is implemented in the city, it will require residential property owners wholly letting a property which is not their principle home as an STL in the local authority area, to apply for planning permission for a ‘change of use’ to a short-term let.

Short-term lets of private rooms or shared rooms where the property is the only or principal home of the host will not be affected by the control area requirement. This allows for house swaps at holidays and also for the host to let out the entire property when on holiday or working away, provided the property remains their only or principal home.

If approval is given by the Scottish Government, the designation will be publicised in advance of coming into effect. 

The introduction of powers to make a control area follows the Council calling for new legislation to tighten up the control of short-term lets to help manage high concentrations of secondary letting where it affects the availability of residential housing and character of a neighbourhood.

Also, it will help to restrict or prevent short-term lets in places or types of buildings where they are not appropriate as well as making sure homes are used to best effect.

Complementary to the control area legislation, the Scottish Parliament has approved legislation which will introduce a new licensing scheme requiring short-term lets to be licensed from July 2024.  It will address the issues of safety, anti-social behaviour and noise.

To keep up to date with the Short-term Lets Control Area;

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2021 Edinburgh Architectural Association (EAA) Awards for Architecture

This year’s EAA awards were held on 28th October. According to their website, the awards are ‘designed to create a showcase for the Architectural profession to demonstrate its contribution to the environment and the economy’.

Last November there was a number of Edinburgh schemes among the winners at the 2020 awards.

Here is a quick look at the developments in Edinburgh which were among this year’s winners.

If you want to take a deeper look into the details, the Planning Portal  provides all the plans, drawings and related reports.

Old Schoolhouse, Morningside Rd (Planning Reference 18/01829/FUL)

Small Project Award

(Credit: EAA)

This category B-listed single storey church is located on the north-west corner of Morningside Road and Cuddy Lane and is in the Merchiston and Greenhill Conservation Area. It was originally built as a schoolhouse in 1823 with 20th century extensions to north and south elevations.  An application for Planning Permission was submitted in April 2018 for the demolition and replacement of the existing south extension and the removal of the internal and external alterations to the north extension’s east and west elevations.

View all the drawing, plans & details on the Planning Portal .

Queensferry High School (Planning Reference 17/04262/FUL)

eaa-edinburgh-architectural-association-awards-2021-queensferry-hs-1.jpg
(Credit: EAA)

Large Project Award

An application in September 2017 was submitted for a new build replacement secondary school with associated playing fields, external spaces, car parking and landscaping. The existing school was demolished following completion of the development.

View all the drawing, plans & details on the Planning Portal

Meadowbank Masterplan (Planning Reference 20/00618/AMC)

Masterplanning Award

(Credit: Collective Architecture)

The redevelopment of Meadowbank is a major Council led regeneration project which will deliver a modern sports centre with new homes and community facilities on the surrounding site. This strategic place-making project is expected to bring significant opportunities to the area. 

View all the drawing, plans & details on the Planning Portal.

Other nominated Edinburgh schemes included:

Small Project

69/3 East Claremont Street

1/5 Gordon St

Stockbridge Ghost Extension

CommendationTreen

Residential

Commendation– Gayfield Square (Planning Application Reference 21/02889/CLP)

Large Project

Commendation– St Peter’s Church Hall (Link Phase) (Planning Application Reference 21/03913/LBC)

Masterplannning

Granton Waterfront (Granton Waterfront Development Framework)

Regeneration/Conservation

6 Circus Lane (Planning Application Reference 19/03220/LBC)

Blackhall St Columbia’s Church (Planning Application Reference 18/07853/FUL)

Congratulations to all winners and finalists!

Consultation on the Merchiston & Greenhill Conservation Area Character Appraisal Revision

In 2018, the Planning Committee approved an updated programme of review of the existing conservation area character appraisals.

As part of this ongoing process, the Merchiston and Greenhill Conservation Area Character Appraisal has now been revised and we are seeking your views on the draft text.

The Merchiston and Greenhill Conservation Area was originally designated in May 1986 and the first character appraisal for the area was approved in April 2003.

The revised draft character appraisal amends the text of the original appraisal for its final publication as a digital document that will include images, photographs and interactive maps.

No boundary changes to the conservation area are proposed.

We are seeking views on the following aspects of the revised Conservation Area Character Appraisal:

  • How clearly does the appraisal set out the issues within the Merchiston and Greenhill Conservation Area
  • To what extent you agree or disagree with the proposed revised appraisal of the Merchiston and Greenhill Conservation Area

The consultation is available now, should take less than 10 minutes to complete and is open until 11 Feb 2022