Edinburgh housebuiders claim council's City Plan will provide only half the homes claimed

Edinburgh’s proposed planning blueprint will only deliver about half the number of homes the council is suggesting, housebuilders have claimed.

By Ian Swanson
Monday, 20th December 2021, 4:55 am

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Industry body Homes for Scotland (HFS) said the City Plan 2030, published in September, was "flawed” and needed to be rethought.

The council’s draft plan proposes housebuilding in the Capital over the next ten years should be focused on brownfield sites with no new greenbelt land released for development.

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Homes for Scotland says Edinburgh's City Plan is "flawed"

But in its official response to the consultation on the blueprint, HFS said the brownfield-only approach to the allocation of new sites for residential development was “high risk” and claimed many of the sites were in active use by businesses providing jobs.

It claimed the council’s “restrictive, inconsistent and contradictory policies” made the goal of ensuring enough homes to meet the needs of Edinburgh’s growing population “impossible to achieve”.

It argued the council’s approach would make homes in Edinburgh even less affordable and it urged a fundamental rethink of the strategy.

HFS Director of Planning Tammy Swift-Adams said: “Edinburgh’s City Plan should be founded on a strong understanding of housing need and demand in the city, with the most sustainable and deliverable sites identified to meet that need and demand.

"Instead, it appears to be based on an ideological desire not to release any further greenfield land for housing, irrespective of the implications that will have.”

She said the council’s approach had resulted in significant amounts of brownfield land currently in productive use by Edinburgh businesses being earmarked for housing, with little consideration of the disruption it would cause for those businesses and no guarantees that the land would actually become available for new homes.

“Even if the council was ready and willing to go ahead with an unprecedented and very costly programme of buying up this land and relocating the businesses that are currently using it – something the Council has not proven – it would not be possible to build the number of homes on these sites that the council is claiming within the plan period.

"The practical implications of the council’s preferred strategy are just too complex for that.

“It is imperative that councillors fully understand the implications of the policies and sites that are being proposed, including their impact on those in need of a new home in Edinburgh, otherwise housing inequality in the city will continue to grow.”

Last week the Evening News reported warnings that soaring house prices and high rents have made it nearly impossible for first time buyers in Edinburgh to enter the housing market.

The most recent House Price Report from property portal ESPC revealed that house prices across the Capital were shooting up, meaning first time buyers in the city were likely to find it increasingly hard to buy a home, leaving tenants stuck renting expensive flats.

The report found that one-bedroom flats in the Leith Walk area saw selling prices rise by an average of 6.6 per cent over the past three months, while two-bedroom flats in central Leith rose by 8.5 per cent.

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Edinburgh's future housing developments earmarked for brownfield sites as counci...

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