Edinburgh's planning chief warns that future developments will play bigger part in tackling climate emergency

Developers have been warned that future housing schemes will have to meet much stricter rules to help tackle the climate emergency after the Capital’s planning convener said proposals that meet current policies are “well short” of what should be expected in terms of sustainability.

Friday, 6th December 2019, 4:50 pm
Updated Friday, 6th December 2019, 6:20 pm
Planning convener, Cllr Neil Gardiner, and the proposals for the development near The Jewel

Edinburgh City Council’s development management sub-committee unanimously approved proposals by Robertson Living to build 53 homes on open space in the east of the city, next to The Jewel.

A mix of one to four-bedroom properties will be built in a range of detached, semi-detached, terraced and cottage flats – while 13 affordable units will be provided. All homes will be two storeys high and include private garden space. Each home will be given its own parking space – while an additional 14 parking bays will be provided in the scheme. The majority of parking provision will be in

private driveways with some on the street.

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But despite meeting the authority’s current regulations, planning convener, Cllr Neil Gardiner, warned that the next local development plan is likely to include stricter rules on helping Edinburgh achieve a commitment of becoming carbon neutral by 2030. A public consultation for the new city plan will be launched in January after being delayed as it was seen as too politically sensitive to begin during the general election campaign.

Cllr Gardiner said: “There are good things about this scheme – not least the 25 per cent affordable provision. It apparently conforms to our sustainability standards.

“I think going forward with the new city plan, we need to take a look at this kind of development. I accept that it fits in with Corbieshot which is probably 1990s development – and that’s acceptable in that day – it provides good houses for the residents. But given that we have a climate change emergency and we are trying to create more sustainable housing, providing single non-terraced housing and providing this kind of development which doesn’t really address the main road – so people are invariably going to be car-bound.

“I think we need to move a bit more towards the 21st century and create more sustainable developments. This does comply with our policies as they stand. It’s well short of what I would really aspire to for Edinburgh in the 21st century – given the need for more housing on sites like this but also the need for sustainability.”

Councillors backed the plans despite initial concerns over play park equipment, while the loss of open space was deemed acceptable by planning officials, who recommended the scheme for approval.

Planning vice convener, Cllr Maureen Child, said: “This is in my ward and I’ve always wondered why this area has not been developed. I think the number of houses here and the work that has been done between the applicant and the department has certainly improved matters considerably.

“I think that it has laid waste for so long, partly because there are mine workings possibly underneath this and I’m a little bit concerned the developer will find that there are difficulties in the implementation of this. It’s very close to the cycle route and bus routes and I think this will be a good development.

“I don’t like to see open space disappearing, but I’ve walked past this and through this and I think that a development of this nature is a good thing for this area.”

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