Engaging children and young people in Planning

The planning service has over the years undertaken various events, workshops and engagement exercises with children and young people to help share what we do and get their views on planning in the city.  This has included The Forth Bridge short story competition, Shops in Town Centres and the Junior road safety and air quality events.

In December last year, working with PAS, we delivered three workshops with Hermitage Park and Craigentinny primary schools and Leith Academy.  Together we explored the role of planning and how the young people would like to see Leith and the wider waterfront area change in the future.  The storyboard below is a summary of the workshops. The full report on the workshops is also available.

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Last week the Council’s Planning Committee agreed a report which sets out how we can better involve children and young people in how we plan the city.

We were delighted that pupils from Leith Academy took part in the committee discussions to present their view of the workshops, what they thought was important about their local area and how they’d like to see it change in the future.  The discussion can be viewed on the Council webcast (Item 3.1).

We will be encouraging developers to engage with children and young people in major development proposals to ensure they have their say on the future of their city.  Our guidance for applicants will be updated to reflect this ambition.

What next?

It is the Year of the Young People and we are committed to better involving children and young people in the planning system.  We will be working in collaboration with other Council services and the Young Edinburgh Action programme to ensure we deliver more meaningful engagement.

In April we will be holding a ‘co-design’ session with young people. We hope they will help us shape how to best engage all children and young people in the next Local Development Plan and other projects.

As this progresses we’ll provide more updates on the blog, with a full update going to planning committee next year.

Development in Bonnington

Historically, Bonnington was a milling village that grew around the Water of Leith. The area has since been home to business and light industry, including the John Lewis depot, the former Crawfords Biscuits warehouse and the original Chancelot Mill (before it moved to Leith Western Harbour in the 1970’s).

Bonnington MillIn more recent years, as industry has declined, the area has had great potential to provide new homes for the city.

We created a long-term development brief for the area in 2008 to ensure that:

  • housing development did not prejudice existing businesses;
  • modern, flexible business space was still provided in the area; and
  • better connections were made between Bonnington and wider pedestrian routes, cycle networks and green spaces.

Our development brief covers the area highlighted in purple below. It’s been almost ten years since its publication – so, what has happened in that time?

fig 4b

Well, there’s been a wealth of redevelopment, and the area is almost unrecognisable when compared with the 1929 aerial shot. Development in Bonnington has been residential-led and there’s potentially a lot more to come.

We recently had a walk around Bonnington to visit completed development, sites under construction and sites currently being assessed for planning permission. These included:

  • Flaxmill Place

flaxmill-pl-comercial1.jpgLocated just off Newhaven Road, this development for 130 residential homes was granted planning permission in November 2012. The development was finished in 2016, on the site of the former Johnston Print Works. Although space for light industry has not been formally reinstated, business space has been provided. One unit is currently occupied.

 

  • Bonnington Village

Works to construct Bonnington Village are underway, just off Bonnington Road Lane. The development was granted planning permission in 2016 and works began in May 2017. The development will provide 214 homes, as well as two commercial units that will lie adjacent to the existing flats at Tinto Place. An improved north to south pedestrian link will also be delivered through the development.

  • West Bowling Green Street

The building works for 98 residential properties on West Bowling Green Street began in July 2017. As you can see in the plans below, both commercial and retail space is to be provided on the ground floor units fronting Anderson Place. The development will also deliver the foot way and cycle way we initially proposed in our development brief. You can see this route in Figure 4b above.

WBGS

As we move towards our next Local Development Plan, LDP 2, we will be reflecting on how well our policies for housing and employment space have been working. New employment space is being provided in Bonnington, however, it is not as flexible as the older industrial and storage buildings it is replacing. We still think there’s a need to provide industrial space in this part of the city.

The LDP 2 process is likely to include reassessing our approach to such areas, to ensure that a variety of employment sites are available across all parts of the city.

We will be looking for your input soon as we prepare to plan for the future of Bonnington and the wider city. In the meantime, you can view and comment on the range of planning applications we receive for the city on our planning portal.

Development in the Countryside and Green Belt Non-Statutory Guidance

Living in Edinburgh, we’re surrounded by a band of countryside and green belt. We want to make sure that this natural heritage of ours is protected and enhanced, so, we control what kind of development is allowed in these areas.

development in the CS and GB

The Edinburgh Local Development Plan (LDP) replaced the Edinburgh City Local Plan and the Rural West Edinburgh Local Plan in 2016. From the LDP we now have one single Policy across our boundary, Env 10, that deals with ‘Development in the Countryside and Green Belt’.dev in C and GB cover

We first published supporting guidance for this Policy in 2007. Recently, we’ve updated this to make sure it reflects our current practice.

You can have a read of our refresh here. The revised guidance should help all users of the LDP understand Policy Env 10.

Some key changes following our redraft include:

  • a new layout;
  • clarification as to when new buildings will be allowed in the countryside and green belt;
  • additional criteria to be met when replacing low quality buildings;
  • further information about ancillary uses and energy development; and
  • guidance about materials and high quality design, taken from the updated Edinburgh Design Guidance.

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!