A plan for sustainable development in Edinburgh, James Dalgleish

LAST week – at the planning committee of The City of Edinburgh Council – we agreed City Plan 2030, a progressive and sustainable plan to make sure the capital is ready to meet the very real challenges of climate change and population growth in the city.

The coronavirus pandemic has also drastically changed the way we all live and work globally and this needs to be reflected in the way we shape how our communities grow sustainably to help us meet our Net Zero 2030 ambition.

It’s taken several years of hard work and listening to communities and interested groups from all over Edinburgh through our ‘Choices’ consultation in 2020 and, more recently, the representations stage held this summer.

I’m now confident we have a plan which will allow the city to adapt to meet the changing needs of future generations to come.

Our ambition is to base the plan on our ’20-minute walkable neighbourhood’ approach to steer development towards strengthening our communities, joining them up and making the best use of land within them.

We’ll use brownfield land where we can rather than using precious greenfield field sites.

An example of what we’re aiming to achieve is already underway at Granton Waterfront where we’re strengthening the existing neighbourhood with a £1.3bn project to develop a sustainable 20-minute neighbourhood residents will be proud of.

It will be an area where people live in affordable environmentally friendly homes, have excellent transport and active travel links and access to lots of open and green space, arts, sports and culture. 

This is very important to improve the wellbeing of our residents and we want to reflect these aspirations in every neighbourhood in the city.

To do this, we need to build attractive places where people can afford to rent or buy their homes, walk to educational and healthcare facilities, enjoy cultural and sporting activities and easily access sustainable transport to visit other parts of Edinburgh as well as having access to greater opportunities for jobs.

To help make this happen, City Plan 2030 is proposing that developers will have to contribute a minimum of 35 per cent affordable housing from any new development they have and we’ve included policies to help manage the number of short term lets operating in the city.

We’ve also included the need for developers building student housing on sites of more than 0.25 hectares to include 50 per cent private housing of which 35 per cent must be affordable.

The plan will now be sent to the Scottish Government for Examination before coming back to council for final approval.

I look forward to working with colleagues and the people of Edinburgh to put City Plan 2030 into place to shape how the city grows in the coming years to build a more sustainable, adaptable Edinburgh that puts the wellbeing of its residents first in every neighbourhood. 

James Dalgleish is a Scottish Labour councillor for the Edinburgh ward of Leith Walk. He is also convener of the council’s planning committee. This article also appeared in the Edinburgh Evening News newspaper, here.

Picture credit: Place Design Scotland

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