A report which sets out 1,800 responses to the public consultation on ‘Choices for City Plan 2030’ has been published the Council.
This figure compares to 435 responses received for the main issues report to the current Local Development Plan. Social media statistics show that information about Choices for City Plan 2030 reached over a million people, with over 24,000 engagements on our posts.
A public consultation began on 31 January and responses were accepted until 30 April. Residents and other interested groups were given an additional four weeks due to disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic to give their views.
Next week councillors on the virtual Planning Committee will discuss the 1,800 responses to the public consultation, as well as the next steps towards City Plan 2030. A revised timetable for the Development Plan Scheme for City Plan 2030 including the proposed plan, the period of representation, examination and future adoption of the Plan will also be considered.
Cllr Neil Gardiner, Convener of the Planning Committee, said: “When we set out to consult on ‘Choices’ none of us could have known how the world was about to change and as some coronavirus lockdown restrictions and physical distancing measures remain in place, none of us can predict exactly how Edinburgh and the rest of the world will emerge from this global pandemic. We are all adapting to a ‘new normal’ and all of our planning must take account of the changes we are seeing in the way people are living their lives. This includes how we all use and appreciate green spaces with the health and well-being benefits they bring to communities. Community resilience also includes easy access to facilities. Connectivity is therefore very important, with neighbourhoods containing a mixture of services within in easy reach.
“It is fantastic that we’ve had such a great response to our consultation and I’d like to thank everyone who gave us their views. Now more than ever we must listen closely to what our residents, businesses and other stakeholders have told us to help us develop a plan to allow our city to grow and change to meet future needs. City Plan 2030 is about us making the right choices now so that our residents can make reasonable and informed choices about how and where they live and how they get around in the future.
“Edinburgh is a beautiful green, cultural and historic city which has benefitted from a thriving economy but, like many cities, we have increasing levels of poverty and health inequalities in our communities, rising housing costs and in some areas, traffic congestion and poor air quality. We also need to adapt our city to meet the needs of an aging population, address the increasing impact of climate change and make sure growth is sustainable. This must all now be addressed in the context of the changes we are seeing as a result of the impact of Covid-19 and making sure we have resilient communities.”
Vice Convener, Cllr Maureen Child, added: “We’re embarking on one of the most significant periods of transformation in a generation which has just become a lot more intense due to the coronavirus pandemic, and we need to rethink the way we use our buildings and expand to accommodate our growing population. We’re already committed to building 20,000 affordable and low-cost homes by 2027 but the city needs more housing, with particular emphasis on affordable homes.
“We must make sure we meet our ambitious climate change targets and all houses and other buildings will need to be much more energy efficient in the future. We’ll also work with our partners in the industry to make sure we make the best use of the limited space we have and, going forward, we’ll be asking developers to think more carefully about location, density and design.
“Choices for City Plan 2030 set out bold options for the public to consider and comment on about how we manage future development so Edinburgh can adapt and flourish during a time of major change. This is how Edinburgh could be in a decade’s time if it responds fully to the challenges of a rising population and the coronavirus and climate emergencies and in the manner set out in a radical plan for the future.”
The wide-ranging document set out options for how to the make best use of land for future development. It also addressed how we could tackle short term lets through new planning policies, in addition to the new regulatory powers announced earlier this year by the Scottish Government following Edinburgh’s campaign to seek national legislation.
Views were also sought on planning for and building more affordable housing, managing the growth of student housing, and whether all new buildings and conversions should meet the highest zero carbon standards to help Edinburgh meet its ambitious target of becoming a carbon neutral city by 2030.
In each section, the Council gave its preferred option for development as well as other alternatives.
'Choices for City Plan 2030' links closely with the Council's ambitious draft City Mobility Plan, designed to improve sustainable transport over the next decade.
The proposed City Plan 2030 will be considered by the Planning Committee in December after which it will be published for representation and then formally examined by the Scottish Government before we can consider adopting it.