Councillors unveil new planning blueprint to ‘protect and develop’ Edinburgh

Edinburgh stockThe City of Edinburgh Council has unveiled proposals for a new planning system which aims to increase the number of affordable homes in the Capital.

Under the new blueprint, planners will be encouraged to prioritise the use of brownfield sites and work with public sector and private landowners to develop land for affordable housing.

The new strategy will also ensure that council policies on planning, licensing and sale of council land give substantial weight to the needs of residents while still encouraging business and tourism.

The proposals were unveiled as part of a five-year ‘Programme for the Capital’ to deliver improved services for the city’s residents and communities.

According to the new blueprint, a review on the council’s policy on promoting mixed communities should be completed by summer of 2018 and include homes of multiple occupancy, short term temporary lets and student housing.

The council will also improve planning enforcement to ensure that all developers, large or small, conform to Edinburgh’s policies and developer’s commitments.

Under the plans, the council will work with the Scottish Government to review planning policy and overhaul the planning appeal system to make it shorter, more independent and give communities the right to appeal.

It will also strive to protect Edinburgh World Heritage Status and make sure developments maintain the vibrancy of the city in terms of placemaking, design and diversity of use.

The ‘Programme for the Capital’ is the proposed business plan for the council for the next five years: 2017-22.

These commitments are structured around six themes:

  • Delivering an economy for all – local jobs, growth, and affordable housing
  • Building for a future Edinburgh – a planning system that works to protect and develop our city
  • Delivering a sustainable future – a better environment and transport system that works for all
  • Delivering for our children and families – improving lives and futures
  • Delivering a healthier city for all ages – strong and vibrant communities
  • Delivering a Council that works for all – more empowered, transparent, and improved public services

The full document is available to read on the council website.

Council leader, Adam McVey, said: “Edinburgh is recognised as one of the world’s most successful and prosperous cities and we have many strengths to build upon. Yet we know that if we are to maintain these successes, and meet the many challenges we face, the city needs a Council that shows strong leadership.

“By publishing this plan today, we are outlining what we’re aiming to achieve with the ambitious 52 commitments we’ve made to the city.

“We’re now working to deliver measurable progress on a range of areas across health, education, transport, environment and housing to make Edinburgh the best capital city it can be for everyone.”

Depute leader, Cammy Day, added: “We are demonstrating a commitment to improve our services and our amenities in ways that meet the needs of our residents, while devolving decision-making to local communities as far as possible.

“We have identified key areas to focus on, including the construction of 20,000 affordable new homes, delivering a tram to Newhaven, improving waste services and investing £100m in our roads.

“We are committed to working together with local people, businesses and the voluntary sector. Together, we will move Edinburgh forward for the benefit of the city and its people, with decision-making that shows we are listening to public opinion.”

The Business Plan is subject to approval by councillors at the next council meeting on August 24.