Community Council seeks clarification

Dear Spurtle

I would like to correct or clarify a comment in your article on the recently approved planning applications for 4B Gayfield Place [Issue 248, 'Objections fail to stop Gayfield basement flats', p.2]. 

Although the Planning Officer's report to the Development Management Sub-Committee dated 13 January 2016 does state 'No comments received' under the Community Council heading in the report, this is an untrue statement. 

As you will clearly see, the New Town & Broughton representation is lodged in the accompanying documents dated 7 December 2015 under this application (Ref. 15/05010/LBC). We also received confirmation from Edinburgh Council that our representation had been received covering both the Full application and the associated Listed Building Consent.

As stated in the representation, there are a number of 'anomalies' with the applications for this property; for instance, there are many documents that superceded the originally submitted documents from the applicant that were lodged on the planning portal on Friday 4 December – the final date for comments to be received. This does not provide adequate time to understand the proposed changes and comment appropriately. 

We believe that overall either due process was not followed or, at best, the spirit of community engagement by Edinburgh Council has not been demonstrated.

Whilst we cannot proffer any sensible explanation for the statement in the Planning Officer's report, we are in the process of questioning this with Edinburgh Council.

Richard Price

Planning Convener

New Town & Broughton Community Council

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 Fergus Smith Further evidence, surely, that Embra Council's planning system is dysfunctional?

 Broughton Spurtle End of last year, Ombudsman not hugely impressed either – Issue 247, 'Council rapped for poor planning practice', p.1

 Fergus Smith I think Trevor Davies' article on your website needs to be read with this in mind. The thought of Edinburgh Council planning without any external oversight - which is what he appears to advocate - fills me with horror.

That said, the whole planning system needs to be overhauled. At the very least, a third-party right of appeal needs to be established. The problem is, though, that the politicians - local and national - will simply want to "streamline" and "modernise" it - in other words, stack it even more heavily in favour of developers.