nearly 50,000 new homes in Edinburgh could be built over the next 12 years – 17,796 more than suggested – to avoid the housing crisis if proposals by an independent reporter are accepted by Scottish ministers.
Planning authorities in Edinburgh, the Lothians, the Borders and Fife have spent four years preparing a new development plan for the region that includes ambitious housing targets to address a worrying shortfall.
But Homes For Scotland – a body representing the building industry in Scotland – said the draft plan figures projected by the councils for new homes – 63,852 by 2030 – were unambitious and would leave “tens of thousands of families without the home they need or aspire to”.
Close scrutiny by the Scottish Government’s Planning and Environmental Appeals Division, including representations from the wider community and stakeholders, recognised the vital need and demand for new homes.
The recommendations for the South East Scotland Strategic Development Planning Authority, or SESplan 2, will now been sent to Scottish ministers for approval.
The report proposes 94,416 new homes need to be built across south-east Scotland – an increase of 30,000 on what was originally proposed – including 46,836 in Edinburgh. Homes for Scotland planning director Tammy Swift-Adams said councils rising to the challenge was the only way Scotland’s housing crisis could be eased.
She said: “I am delighted with the support for home building provided by the reporter today. In this case – had the draft plan been supported – some 30,500 homes, almost a third of the homes that are genuinely needed, would simply have dropped off the radar.
“This breaks a damaging recent trend of development plans that don’t make adequate provision for much-needed new homes.”
“I am hugely proud of the work of our planning team and members in amassing a strong evidence base and putting forward positive and persuasive arguments as to why SESplan 2 must take a gutsy and responsible approach to ease Scotland’s housing crisis.”
An industry insider said the “gutsy” approach would involve some difficult choices in Edinburgh.
‘This is a very positive recommendation to tackle what is the most overheated housing market in Scotland and one of the most overheated housing markets in the whole of the UK,” the source said.
“There are some really tough decisions for politicians at all levels here.
“Reading the report, it’s obvious that there was no scenario that could deliver the homes people in the area need and avoid some further incursions in the green belt both in and around Edinburgh.
“Politicians understandably say they want to build more homes so that everyone gets a chance to rent or buy a home.
“The findings in this report give them the best chance they’ll have to do just that and help people achieve the dream of a home to call their own.
“We can only hope that politicians will see this as an opportunity to plan those new homes and communities well to deliver for young people and families across the whole area.”