Planning matters blog | Lichfields

Planning matters

Our award winning blog gives a fresh perspective on the latest trends in planning and development.

City of Edinburgh Council Agrees City Plan 2030 For Consultation
This proposed development plan can recalibrate how development happens in this city, positively shaping how our Capital grows and changes over the next 10 years and beyond. Councillor Neil Gardiner, Planning Convener The City of Edinburgh Council has agreed to publish the Proposed Local Development Plan, City Plan 2030, for public consultation. This consultation follows the ‘Choices for City Plan 2030’ consultation which took place in early 2020. The City of Edinburgh Council formally adopted its first LDP in November 2016. The replacement LDP is to be called City Plan 2030 and consultation on this highly anticipated document will take place for 6 weeks between 7 November and 19 December 2021. The publication of the proposed plan has been delayed on several occasions since August 2020 due to a range of factors, with consultation on the plan process initially having started back in 2018. The proposed City Plan 2030 “sets out sustainable future direction of development in Edinburgh” and seeks to address climate change, affordability, providing more houses and jobs, as well as transportation matters. The proposed LDP provides new place, environment and design, housing and economy policies.           Key points               -   Brownfield first approach     -   Carbon neutral buildings in line with the Net Zero 2030 ambition     -   Implementation of climate change mitigation and adaption     -   A minimum of 35 % affordable housing provisions     -   Restrictions on loss of housing to other uses including short-term lets     -   Creation of 20-minute walkable neighbourhoods     -   Development, excluding alterations, extensions and domestic outbuildings, should provide at least 20% of the site for open space     -   Adopting an infrastructure first approach, directing new development to where infrastructure already exists.     -   Delivering Edinburgh’s key economic land use needs as part of housing led mixed use developments.     -   Deliver housing on 50% of larger commercial development sites    New Place Policies Edinburgh Council has opted to pursue a brownfield first strategy through the inclusion of large mixed-use housing led allocations for new neighbourhoods within Edinburgh City Centre, Edinburgh West and Edinburgh Waterfront as well as sites at Seafield, Redford Barracks, Astley Ainslie, Edinburgh BioQuarter, Liberton Hospital, Bonnington and Fettes. No green field or green belt sites are identified for new housing and many of the brownfield sites allocated already have existing and active uses. New Environment and Design Policies These policies include requirements for carbon neutral buildings, future adaptation by embedding water management, biodiversity, green and blue infrastructure within developments and increased in open space requirements for new developments. The proposed plan also supports the Scottish Government’s 20-minute walkable neighbourhood vision.   New Housing Policies The draft plan increases the minimum rate of affordable housing contribution for any new development from 25% to 35 %, as well as measures to restrict the loss of residential properties for short-term lets. The proposed policy on short-term lets ties into separate consultation currently being undertaken by the City of Edinburgh council regarding the whole of Edinburgh becoming a short-term let control area. In addition, the plan introduces a requirement to deliver housing as part of larger commercial development sites. New Economy Policies The proposed plan introduces new and updated economy policies which the Council state will promote inclusive growth by supporting development that contributes towards addressing poverty and inequality, Edinburgh City Centre Transformation, cultural festivals, events throughout the city, universities, colleges and life science research. Lichfields is proposing to complete a short series of blogs around the key points raised in the draft LDP, including around housing and the 20-minute neighbourhood. If you want us to make a representation on your behalf to any of the proposed policies or allocations or are looking for planning advice the implications of the proposed LDP please get in touch with our Edinburgh office.


Scotland’s First Short-Term Let Control Area: Consultation on New Rules for STL’s in Edinburgh
“Self-catering properties have been a long-standing presence in the capital for decades, enhancing the tourist offering and boosting the local economy, and should not be used as a convenient scapegoat for policy failures elsewhere” - Fiona Campbell, chief executive officer of the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers On Wednesday August 11, the City of Edinburgh voted to approve consultation relating to a city-wide 'short term let control area'. If this comes in to affect in the future property owners will need to acquire change of use planning permission to use their property as a short term let. If an entire property has been continually operated as a short-term let for a decade in and no enforcement action has been taken during that time, planning permission would not be required and it may be possible to apply for a Certificate of Lawfulness to confirm lawful use. The proposed regulations will not impact those renting out spare rooms within their own homes or renting their properties out while they themselves are on holiday for example. But, this only applies if the property is your principal dwelling. A short-term let is defined by Regulation 2 of the Town and Country Planning (Short-term Let Control Areas) (Scotland) Regulations 2021, which states a short-term let is a property that meets all of the following criteria: a)  sleeping accommodation is provided to one or more persons for one or more nights for a commercial consideration, b)  no person to whom sleeping accommodation is provided is an immediate family member of the person by whom the accommodation is being provided, c)  the accommodation is not provided for the principal purpose of facilitating the provision of work or services to the person by whom the accommodation is being provided or to another member of that person’s household, d)  the accommodation is not provided by an employer to an employee in terms of a contract of employment or for the better performance of the employee’s duties, and e)  the accommodation is not excluded accommodation In Short-Term Let Control areas you will need planning permission to use your property in such a way but also Scottish Government is proposing legislation, meaning irrespective of type of accommodation (Airbnb, self catering, B&B) you will also need a license to operate by 1 April 2024. If the legislation is passed, it will be a mandatory condition of licensing within a control area to have the appropriate planning consent for your properties or be in the process of applying. The reasons for the introduction of the Short-Term Let Control Area were outlined in a report to the City of Edinburgh Council Planning Committee on 11 August 2021 (the full report can be viewed here) “To help manage high concentrations of secondary letting which affects the availability of residential housing and the character of neighbourhoods; To restrict short-term lets in places or types of building where it is not appropriate; and To help ensure that homes are used to best effect”. Expanding on the above, Edinburgh has a high number of tenement properties, with shared communal spaces and stairwells, resulting in more complaints relating to noise and disruption associated with short term lets. In addition, as argued in the council report, the increased numbers of short-term lets reduces the supply of available homes for longer term lets, for people who actually want to live in the city full time. Edinburgh has the highest number of dwellings being used as short-term let properties of any local authority in Scotland. In the report ‘Analysis of the Impact of the Edinburgh Short Term Rental Market – 16 July 2018’ completed by Rettie & Co it is highlighted that between 2014 – 2017, the private rented sector stock fell by 560 properties per annum, with 2,700 individual properties listed on Airbnb. The report to the council notes “the designation of a Short-Term Let Control Area does not mean a blanket ban on such uses: each case will have to be assessed on its own merits”. In Lichfields’ experience, the success of a change of use application for a short term let is based on its impact on neighbouring properties, with private access to and from the property being the most significant factor. So far the approval is just to consult on the proposals to designate the entire Council area as a Short Term Let Control area. Following that consultation, the Council will need to decide whether or not they wish to proceed with the designation. If they do they will need approval from Scottish Ministers. If you are the owner of properties that you let on a short term basis now is the time to get ahead of the game. The requirement for you to have planning permission for this use is coming. Do you have a short-term let property in Edinburgh? If you wish us to make an application on your behalf, or are looking for planning advice regarding short-term let properties please get in touch with our Edinburgh office.