The Planning service is as busy as ever with large number of planning applications and enforcement queries coming through the door. Key projects are continuing to progress including City Plan 2030 and the Low Emissions Zone. At the same time, we have a continuous programme of improvement to address changes such as the new planning fees and to ensure our processes are as efficient and robust as possible.
Whilst there is much positive news, we do recognise that planning applications are taking longer to assess and determine than we would like, and we are not always meeting our statutory timescales. We know we need to do better. We are looking at a number of measures to address the backlog.
If you have recently submitted or about to submit an application, please pay particular attention to your acknowledgement letter at this time.
Photographs & relevant contextual plans
It would help significantly if you could provide the following information at the time of application submission or upload as additional information post submission:
Photographs showing the location of the work and the wider context (including interiors for listed building consent applications)
We’ve recently updated two important planning guidance documents to better shape development in the city, for design and for land use in the city centre. These guidance documents are used by applicants when designing and submitting applications, and by planners when assessing these applications. They are good examples of the sources we use to judge proposals that come to us and to make clear what we expect of new development.
The main changes to the guidance are covered below, with a link to the documents.
City Centre Shopping and Leisure Supplementary Guidance Changes
The Council prepares planning guidance for the City Centre under the Planning (Scotland) Act. The guidance is a statutory requirement of our Local Development Plan policy on shops to guide how and where shops and non-shop uses in town centres including the city centre are allowed.
This guidance sets out the change of use policies that apply to the city centre retail core, the boundary of which can be seen on the LDP proposals map and sets out where a planning application for a change of use from a shop to a non-shop use will be supported.
Since the guidance was first written there have been changes that are likely to have an impact on the city centre such as; wider changes to shopping trends, the publication of our City Centre Transformation strategy, the publication of a retail and leisure study, the future opening of the new Edinburgh St James and many changes of use in the centre. The key changes respond to these and cover:
Altering existing guidance covering Princes Street to provide significantly more flexibility for non-shop uses.
Creating new guidance for Castle Street, Frederick Street and Hanover Street which is much more flexible than the other named streets.
Altering the existing guidance covering the frontages of the other named streets in the retail core to be more flexible.
Altering the existing guidance covering parts of the city centre retail core outside of these streets by determining changes of use based on whole streets rather than units in a row.
The guidance was written with the involvement of people working in retail in Edinburgh through workshops and was opened to public consultation before being approved by the Planning Committee on 29 January 2020. You can view the updated guidance here.
Edinburgh Design Guidance Changes
The non-statutory Edinburgh Design Guidance sets out the Council’s expectations for the design of new development in Edinburgh. It seeks to raise standards of design in the city by providing guidance on how to respond to specific design issues, from analysing a site, to masterplanning, building design, materials and streets and public spaces. The changes to the Edinburgh design Guidance were also approved at Planning Committee on 29 January 2020.
Following a workshop with elected members and working with our planning colleagues, a number of changes were identified to clarify and update the guidance. The key changes are:
A methodology for calculating density to ensure a consistent approach across the city to calculating built density. (p38)
Approved council guidance on public art is now included in the Edinburgh Design Guidance document. (p48)
Revisions to the parking standards to make their use easier and highlight where it is appropriate to differ from these standards. (p79)
Clarification of daylighting and key view assessment processes. (p99)
Guidance on designing for people with disabilities (p108) and on single aspect dwellings. (p110)