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
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 email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.
Thank you again to all who came along, and we look forward to welcoming you to our next Customer Forum in 2020.
As covered previously, City Plan 2030 is moving forward ahead of a new timetable to be published in August this year. As part of a continued schedule of sessions to gather and build on our evidence needed for the plan we held a workshop to share our progress on City Plan 2030 to a number of people from key agencies and infrastructure providers who we are looking to involve in the project. By involving these organisations we can have proper regard for the provision of infrastructure in the plan.
The discussions were based around the choices we will have to make on key issues facing the city for the next decade. These included:
Where growth is to be allowed and what impact this would have on transport, energy networks, water and drainage, public health, etc.
How to support and plan for different sectors of industry.
How to best deal with travel and connectivity in and across the city.
Changes to infrastructure coming from carbon neutral targets and technological change.
How the plan will impact future investment in infrastructure.
The workshop was a chance for these agencies to find out more about City Plan 2030, and for us to update them on our progress and next steps.
The event not only allowed us to discuss and take in the views of key specialist agencies and continue to involve them in the making of the plan, but it has also allowed us to take into account the work they are doing and keep them updated on how City Plan may affect their own work in the future, e.g. where better public transport or active travel routes may be needed in the future.
This collaborative working will allow us to bring together a wider range of considerations for a joined-up plan which is more efficient, effective and fair.
Keep track of how this work will progress, and any City Plan 2030 updates by:
Having a healthy stock of land and spaces for a range of businesses to grow is a key concern in planning for a growing city. We commissioned a study on the supply and demand of business and industrial land in Edinburgh which found that there is 1.08 million square metres of industrial space in Edinburgh across 1,214 units which support an estimated 30,000 jobs.
The study shows the spatial pattern of all business and industry spaces, not just industrial estates that we designate for planning purposes. You can see from the map below the pattern of industrial space follows the historic siting of industry along the Water of Leith, where the river powered early industrial processes before coal or electricity was widely used.
One of the main findings is that the industrial stock is ageing, as can be seen in the bar chart below, and this is reflected in the industry rating of the quality of the space. It shows that most of our industrial space is at least 40 years old as 57% was built during the 1980s or earlier, and 93% of Edinburgh’s industrial space is of a very basic standard.
But rising rent and low vacancy rates tell us that demand for space is strong. However, speculative development of new units has been slow and industrial land has the potential to redevelop for other uses, especially to new homes in inner city areas such as Bonnington. Speculative development has been targeted to the west of the city, with good access to the trunk road network.
The study signals that more flexible floorspace will need to be built and/or refurbished to current standards to replace the older units and meet demand. We expect planning for modern industrial floorspace will be a key issue for City Plan 2030 and we will be reflecting on what delivering replacement premises means for the city’s spatial strategy.
We had hoped to carry out the main consultation for City Plan 2030 in the first half of 2019. However, this is now not possible. The main consultation for City Plan 2030 is now expected to take place in the latter half of 2019. We will publish a new Development Plan Scheme in August 2019 which will include the new timetable.
Until then, we will use this time to gather and build on our evidence and studies for Choices for City Plan and hold further engagement events in local places around the city. In the meantime, watch this space and keep up to date with the project by:
The timing of the next stages in the City Plan 2030 project will be affected.
We still hope to carry out the main consultation in the first half of 2019 and will announce the dates of the new consultation period in the next couple of months (e.g. February or March). We will publish a new Development Plan Scheme with rescheduled consultation dates and events then too.
Until then, we will use this time to gather and build on our evidence and studies for Choices for City Plan and hold further engagement events in local places around the city.
In the meantime, watch this space and keep up to date with the project by: