Edinburgh should be worried about SNP government's plans for housebuilding – John McLellan

It won’t be everyone’s bedtime reading, but the revised draft National Planning Framework (NPF) published on Tuesday is meant to be the basis on which all development decisions in Scotland are taken, which therefore impacts on everyone.

Demand for new houses is likely to continue to be strong in Edinburgh
Demand for new houses is likely to continue to be strong in Edinburgh

Still to be adopted by the Scottish Parliament, but even with the now customary woolly goals such as “just transition” and “liveable places”, it’s as clear an indication of the Scottish Government’s intentions as we’re likely to get.

A desire to increase the density of city developments does not sound too appealing, and that could mean squeezing more homes into the Granton Waterfront development, which the NPF identifies as a project of national significance.

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But what should concern Edinburgh people is a vague suggestion of some sort of intervention to divert housebuilders away from Edinburgh to take up capacity in the West of Scotland.

With medium-to-long-term demand still likely to be high here because of employment opportunities, that would mean any current slow-down of price rises is likely to be short-lived as demand falls ever further behind.

The council’s own plan for the next seven or eight years doesn’t get close to meeting existing demand, despite claims to the contrary, and NPF doesn’t look like it will provide any solutions except a ‘closed’ sign.

Two big West Edinburgh developments took a step forward yesterday, with advance notices of plans for new estates at Cammo and Ratho, and a third in Broughton, so the evidence is that this is still where the housebuilders want to be.