Planning Partner Marc Giles comments:
The Joint SESplan Committee approved the publication of the SESplan 2 - Main Issues Report (MIR) earlier today. The impacts of SESplan, particularly with regard to housing land supply, are still causing problems for many of the member authorities.
The MIR was approved in its existing form, so it will come forward with a spatial strategy which supports a 'corridors of growth' model, focused on the City with additional growth along transport corridors but close to Edinburgh's urban area. This model will support green belt releases to the west and south west of the City and is intended to allow some strategic scale development to be located away from the City, but within a proximity that supports sustainable travel patterns. This would be supported by smaller scale growth in the wider region.
The issues raised, and subsequently discussed by Members, focused on the cost and delivery of the plan and its strategy. It was pointed out that the Committee was approving a plan without any idea of its delivery cost.
There was also a genuine concern amongst Members regarding the delivery of the strategy without appropriate infrastructure in place. The Committee was at pains to emphasise that this was not the fault of the member authorities and recommended that the plan must be robust in highlighting and explaining the constraints that are likely to hinder the delivery of the plan and particularly housing land supply.
In essence, whilst the Committee was very much agreed on the terms of the plan and what it wants to deliver, there was a real concern over how, and dare I say, if, this could be delivered to the extent that there was a request for the plan to be amended to ensure those reading it knew just how difficult it would be to deliver the strategy.