Edinburgh housing crisis: Three years late, SNP-Labour coalition finally sees merit in Conservative motion – John McLellan

Covid and the economic collapse has done nothing to slow the rising cost of housing in Edinburgh and in all parts of the market the answer is the same: too much demand and too little supply.

By John McLellan
Wednesday, 3rd November 2021, 4:45 pm
Edinburgh needs more homes as demand and prices keep rising (Picture: Andrew Mattews/PA)
Edinburgh needs more homes as demand and prices keep rising (Picture: Andrew Mattews/PA)

The new city-wide development plan now out for consultation doesn’t get close to answering how demand can be met, and admits as such.

Easy answers aren’t available because demand is being driven in large part by the natural expansion of small households in a city which was already bursting at the seams; people living longer, people leaving home earlier to live on their own, couples separating, four successful universities attracting more students and more of them deciding to stay.

No-one seriously argues any of that should stop.

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None of it is new and three years ago housebuilders said the first step Edinburgh should take was an official call for new sites. My colleagues and I put a motion to the council’s housing committee for just such an appeal yet it was rejected.

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Better late than never, a report to today’s housing committee proposes exactly this approach but makes no mention of the previous rejection.

There is no point in dwelling on why the SNP-Labour coalition wouldn’t accept a sensible and necessary proposal backed by all parts of the housebuilding industry, but had the appeal been made three years ago, Edinburgh might have been that bit closer to meeting demand today.

There are plenty of plans ready to go which the new City Plan ignores. Watch those spaces.

John McLellan is a Conservative councillor for Craigentinny/Duddingston

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