Chapter 9: Implementation and Infrastructure

Photograph of Kirkliston Leisure Centre


9.1 This chapter describes how policies and proposals in this plan will be carried out and, in particular, the fact that successful implementation depends crucially on the provision of infrastructure.

National Context

9.2 SPP1: 'The Planning System' requires that all development plans should contain an action plan and that it should be updated every two years.

9.3 Section 75 of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 enables local authorities to enter into an agreement with any person interested in land (in so far as the interest of that person enables him or her to bind the land) for the purpose of restricting the development or use of the land, either permanently or during such period as may be prescribed by the agreement. These agreements are referred to as 'Section 75 agreements'. Government policy with respect to the use of these agreements is set out in Scottish Office Circular 12/1996: 'Planning Agreements'. Where possible, planning conditions should be used rather than a planning agreement. Agreements should serve a planning purpose, must relate in scale and in kind to the development being proposed, and be reasonable in all respects.

Plan-led Development

9.4 The local plan is a general framework for managing land use change and development. In it the Council seeks to provide developers and the public with a clear sense of direction for at least the next five years. The expectation is that the underlying strategy and many of the policies will stand for considerably longer.

9.5 This local plan, along with the Edinburgh and the Lothians Structure Plan 2015, will constitute the development plan for the area. There is a strong presumption in favour of the development plan and most development control decisions are likely to be made in accordance with the plan. This is what is meant by the plan-led system. In some circumstances, proposals will be submitted for planning permission which clearly conflict with the up-to-date development plan. Statutory procedures govern the determination of such proposals. They must be advertised as development contrary to the development plan and any representations received must be carefully considered by the planning authority. A compelling justification for departing from the development plan to grant consent will be required.

Supplementary Guidance

9.6 The local plan deals with primary policy matters but a wide range of secondary guidance is prepared by the Council from time to time on more detailed and sometimes technical matters not readily able to be incorporated in the plan. These are instead brought together in a document called the Development Quality Handbook in which they can more readily be updated as necessary. The guidance in the handbook covers the whole city and conforms with, and elaborates on, the policies contained in the Council's local plans and is used when applications are assessed.

9.7 Planning briefs are a form of supplementary guidance dealing with individual sites. They set out development guidelines to assist landowners and developers on sites where there are particular planning issues such as larger areas or multiple ownership.

Action Plan

9.8 Implementation of the local plan's strategy and aims will be largely policy-led and achieved through the development control process. Most of the proposals will be implemented by the private sector and other public agencies as the Council does not itself have the necessary financial resources to carry out major capital works. Successful implementation of the strategy depends crucially on the provision of infrastructure such as public transport facilities, road improvements, drainage schemes and new school capacity. The local plan provides the co-ordinating framework and, in some cases, the Council may use its powers of compulsory purchase to enable development to proceed.

9.9 Transport projects will be funded primarily by Central Government whilst infrastructure contributors will include the Councils' own resources, private investment and developer contributions.

9.10 A supporting document, the Rural West Edinburgh Local Plan - Action Plan (PDF,119kb), accompanies this local plan. It conforms with the Edinburgh and Lothians Structure Plan 2015 - Action Plan (PDF,672kb) which requires that councils identify the essential infrastructure and services and, where relevant, its phased provision to serve the major strategic development allocations. Progress on both Action Plans (APs) will be monitored through two-yearly AP reviews.

9.11 A number of key investment and development requirements are identified in the AP schedules. Schedule 1 of the AP lists the strategic infrastructure requirements related to the major transport initiatives whilst Schedule 2 lists the key infrastructure, services and planning requirements for the core development area to enable the main housing allocations to be brought forward.

Policy IMP 1 - The Action Plan

The Council will work with the relevant agencies and partners to bring forward the key infrastructure projects, as shown in Schedule 1 of the Action Plan. Progress will be monitored as part of the Action Plan which will be reviewed every two years.

9.12 As a result of the increased implementation role of the private sector, developers may be required as a condition of planning permission, or by legal agreement between the Council and the developer, to enter into a Section 75 or other legal agreement, to undertake particular environmental or infrastructure improvements. Agreements will only be sought which serve a planning purpose and relate to the development being proposed. Agreements should also relate in scale and kind to the proposed development and be reasonable in all respects. Developer contributions resulting from a Section 75 agreement may be provided either directly by the developer on or off site, or by the local authority, in which case they may involve financial payment. Where a number of developments are involved, any agreements will apportion contributions appropriately.

Policy IMP 2 - Planning Agreements

Agreements between developers and the Council must be in place to secure the key items included in Schedule 2 of the Action Plan prior to the granting of planning consent.

9.13 Implementing the West Edinburgh Planning Framework will require significant new and improved infrastructure. In addition to the transport interventions set out in Chapter 7, funding will be needed for the provision of utilities, site preparation, including advance structural landscaping, and the diversion of the Gogar Burn (Proposal ENV7). The West Edinburgh Development Partnership (WEDP) is preparing an implementation plan for consideration and endorsement by Scottish Ministers which will provide a mechanism for the co-ordination of public and private sector action and investment. The WEDP will seek to identify a range of potential funding sources involving public and private sector interests. The infrastructure requirements for West Edinburgh have been incorporated into the Rural West Edinburgh Local Plan Action Plan, July 2010.

9.14 Developer contributions, either financial or “in kind” will be one element of the overall funding for the infrastructure required to support development in West Edinburgh. In the first instance, the Council will consider whether necessary infrastructure provision and improvements can be achieved through the use of conditions attached to the grant of planning permission. Where a legal agreement is required, it will be sought in an appropriate, transparent and equitable manner. The Council intends to prepare a new planning guideline for developer contributions in West Edinburgh. Developer contributions for applications determined prior to this guideline being produced will require to be agreed on an individual basis taking account of the Council’s existing developer contribution guidelines where appropriate and the Government’s policy and guidance on planning agreements. This is currently set out in Planning Circular 1/2010: Planning Agreements (January 2010).

Policy IMP 3 - Developer Contributions in West Edinburgh

All development proposals within the boundaries of the Airport, Royal Highland Centre and International Business Gateway as shown on the Proposals Map should make an appropriate contribution towards the infrastructure required to implement the West Edinburgh Planning Framework.

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