Edinburgh housing crisis cannot be tackled without housebuilders – John McLellan

Some housebuilders are said to be gearing up for a legal challenge to Edinburgh Council’s blueprint for the future of the city, but that’s unlikely to make much difference to an authority used to taking its chances at the Court of Session, even if it is at taxpayers’ expense.

Wednesday, 2nd March 2022, 4:45 pm
Some housebuilders are apparently considering legal action against Edinburgh Council (Picture: Rui Vieira/PA Wire)
Some housebuilders are apparently considering legal action against Edinburgh Council (Picture: Rui Vieira/PA Wire)

The problem is apparently the extent to which the council has followed proper processes in reaching its conclusions about land allocation and the requirement for 35 per cent of all new homes to be affordable.

But while such matters can be highly subjective, at the moment there is nothing to challenge because the City Plan 2030 has not been adopted and could change depending on the Scottish Government response.

There is a legal obligation to comply with the Scottish Government’s plans but as that is also changing to a much looser National Planning Framework, which has still to be finalised, anything can happen and probably not until the end of the year.

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The City Plan is unlikely to be adopted before the May election, and there is a view that there is no rush to push it through ahead of the poll because solutions to the many problems the plan creates might not be popular with voters in places like Edinburgh South and West.

Court action or not, at the moment it’s all a recipe for confusion which satisfies no-one, and that means there might be a window for more planning applications granted on appeal. One way or another, housebuilders aren’t impressed and the shortage won’t be tackled without them.

John McLellan is a Conservative councillor for Craigentinny/Duddingston

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