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Choices for Edinburgh City Plan 2030

City of Edinburgh Council have released their Choices for City Plan 2030 which sets out options on how to make the best use of land within Edinburgh for future development.

  • The Choices report is structured around four outcomes as follows: (1) a sustainable city which supports everyone’s physical and mental wellbeing; (2) a city in which everyone lives in a home which they can afford; (3) a city where you don’t need to own a car to move around; and (4) a city where everyone shares in its economic success.
  • The document sets out a total of 16 choices, grouped under the aforesaid themes.
  • On short term lets specifically, the paper sets out a new policy on the loss of homes to alternative uses. This new policy will be used when planning permission is required for a change of use of residential flats and houses to short-term lets or other uses.

Choice 9 – Protecting against the loss of Edinburgh’s homes to other uses  

“…we recognise that an uncontrolled approach to shortstay commercial visitor accommodation (short term lets) within Edinburgh is having an impact on the quality of life for our residents and is resulting in a significant loss of our homes. We want to change our planning policy to help balance the needs of both residents and visitor and strengthen our existing communities by reducing the loss of housing.”

Proposed Changes:

  1. City of Edinburgh Council wish to consult on designating Edinburgh, or parts of Edinburgh, as a short-term let control area, where planning permission will always be required for the change of use of whole properties for short-term lets.
  • City of Edinburgh Council wish to consider using the powers under the Planning Act, as announced by the Housing Minister during his recent Ministerial Statement, to see whether a short-term let control area would be appropriate for Edinburgh.
  • They state that homesharing, which they define as “renting a room in your own home or allowing others to stay in your own home whilst on holiday” would not be affected by these changes.
  1. City of Edinburgh Council wish to create a new policy on the loss of homes to alternative uses. This will be used when planning permission is required for a change of use of residential flats and houses to short-stay commercial visitor accommodation or other uses.
  • The policy will set out criteria to help determine when a) material change of use from residential to short-stay commercial accommodation has occurred and b) when it will be acceptable. This new policy will be in addition to current policies which prevent development which would have a detrimental effect on the living conditions of nearby residents.

Next Steps

  • The Planning Committee of City of Edinburgh Council will discuss the contents Choices for City at their meeting on 22ndJanuary 2020. It has been recommended that the Committee approves the document for publication and consultation.

If agreed to by the Committee, Choices for City will be subject to an eight-week consultation. The Council will public sessions and themed events for the public and stakeholders to attend.

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