Reviewing Edinburgh’s Conservation Areas

We are about to start a review of our conservation area character appraisals.  The appraisals help us, community and amenity groups, householders, developers and others understand what makes a conservation area special, and how change in the area can be managed sensitively.

With some of our current appraisals around 15 years old, changes over time, development pressures, and changing priorities have made a fresh look at the appraisals essential. Feedback has also shown that the format of the appraisals could be improved to make them more user-friendly and focus more on analysis rather than description – emphasising that understanding the area is important.  We will be reviewing six conservation areas over the next two years, with the initial priorities being:

Lauder Griffin within the Grange Conservation Area
Lauder Griffin within the Grange Conservation Area

The first area to be reviewed will be The Grange.  We are working in partnership with the Grange Association to understand the changes that have taken place in the area since the last appraisal and what we can learn from this.  At the same time, Architectural Conservation MSc students from the University of Edinburgh are assessing the area’s character and development and will be sharing their results with us over the next few months.  

Watch this space – we’ll be seeking views from the community and other stakeholders as the draft Grange appraisal and new format are developed.  The more feedback we receive, the better and more fit-for-purpose the new appraisals will be.

Children and Planning

Young child using spray paint as part of Royal Mile mural
Royal Mile Community Engagement – April 2013

Earlier this week Jenny Wood a MRes and PhD Urban Studies student from Heriot-Watt University gave us an excellent lunchtime talk on the benefits of increased engagement with children and whether the Scottish planning system is doing enough to create spaces for children. The talk was well attended by planners and included colleagues from other Council services. In Edinburgh we already work with schools and children to prepare plans and projects but it was good to get a better understanding from Jenny as to why this is not only the right thing to do but to understand what the benefits are. The talk has certainly got us thinking about how we can involve children more in developing plans, sharing good practice and ultimately improving the city for everyone.

We also discovered that Jenny has a hidden talent as a fine stand up comedienne. Her routine about Town Planning is certainly worth a watch!