Waiting times on the rise for Capital planning decisions

Accomodation and other planning requests are taking much longer than under previous councils. Picture; stock image

Accomodation and other planning requests are taking much longer than under previous councils. Picture; stock image

1
Have your say

HOMEOWNERS and developers in the Capital are having to wait longer for planning applications to be decided.

New figures show the time taken by city planners to approve or refuse proposals has increased since three years ago, while the trend for Scotland as a whole is for decisions to be made more quickly.

New Council conservative Leader Cameron Rose. Picture; Ian Georgeson

New Council conservative Leader Cameron Rose. Picture; Ian Georgeson

Edinburgh is still processing applications more promptly than average.

But the wait for decisions on “local” applications – such as house extensions and shop alterations – increased from 8.3 weeks in 2012/13 to 9.4 weeks in 2015/16, while the time for “major” applications – including large new housing developments – rose from 22.7 weeks in 2012/13 to 29.9 weeks in 2015/16.

Over the same period, the average times for decisions across Scotland fell from 11.4 weeks to 9.8 weeks for local applications and from 36.3 weeks to 30.5 weeks for major applications.

Conservative group leader Cameron Rose said: “It’s disappointing because the trend is towards a poorer service. That affects both households and businesses looking to make changes and it does affect inward investment as well because the efficiency with which we deal with this is an important issue. We need to get a reputation of providing a good efficient service.”

He attributed the worsening trend to the bureaucracy involved in the planning process.

“The whole system is administrative-intensive and the council is struggling at the moment with all sorts of upheaval, which doesn’t help,” he said.

A council spokeswoman said: “Edinburgh has performed better then the Scottish average for local and major planning applications since 2012. This is despite the volume of our work significantly increasing in the last few years.

“Our local applications have increased by nine per cent since 2012 and we have processed many more major complex developments this year due to the growth required in the city by the new Local Development Plan.”

She pointed out Edinburgh had the third-highest volume of local applications and the city’s performance was better than both Fife and Glasgow even though these authorities had significantly fewer applications.

She added: “We are committed to providing an efficient service and we work closely with all applicants to ensure we can determine their proposals as quickly as possible.”