Communication from Ediston on ‘confusion over the application process’ for the RBS Site on Dundas Street / Fettes Row

It was announced in the media on 31st July that Ediston (for owners Orion Capital Managers) have submitted a planning application for the ‘New Town Quarter’, the large brownfield site which includes the buildings previously  occupied by RBS at the foot of Dundas Street. The plans are for the site to be redeveloped to include residential (both for sale and 'Build to Rent'), offices and some retail use. In addition, it may include options for a new hotel.

It was intended to discuss these plans at  the New Town & Broughton Community Council's (NTBCC) August meeting and the community council was hoping more details would have been available on the Edinburgh Council Planning portal prior to the meeting. However, we were aware of a rumour circulating  that the application had been withdrawn.

Two separate applications are necessary, one covering the proposed redevelopment of the site and the second, for demolition of the existing buildings - although not listed (unsurprisingly), they reside within the New Town Conservation Area and  as such, permission is required for demolition. It is also worth stating that it is normal practice to assess both of these applications concurrently – as a key factor in the assessment for demolition is what is being proposed to replace it.

The application for 'Complete Demolition in a Conservation Area' application (20/03033/CON) was lodged on 27th July but was showing as having been withdrawn on the Planning portal. No details of the other application details were available on the Planning portal.

NTBCC contacted Ediston to seek clarification as to the situation to share with local residents.  Ross McNulty of Ediston responded promptly and advised

We did confirm previously that the drawings and Design / Access Statement were issued on 24th July but the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) would be issued on 31st August, and that would be the date the application will become live on the portal.

The conservation area consent has been withdrawn, but only so it can be submitted alongside the EIA on the 31st August, as it should run concurrently with the EIA, so all goes live on the portal at the same time.

NTBCC also received a further communication from Ediston on 11th August

I am making contact with you, as I have spoken to you all recently with regards to our application, but I believe there may still be some confusion over the application process and availability of information, therefore I will try to help and make it clear.

On 24th July a full set of drawings and Design and Access Statement was submitted to CEC. This information does not go on the portal as I have explained previously. The Conservation Area Consent was also issued, but it was acknowledged with CEC that it was submitted too early as needs to be lodged at same time as the Environmental Impact Assessment, therefore it was agreed to withdraw it and re-submit on 31st August.

The EIA will be submitted on 31st August as planned, and so will the Conservation Area Consent at which point all information will be available on the portal.

I have always advised that information will only be available on the portal until after the 31st August, which remains the case.

I do hope this is clear and can be communicated appropriately. If you do have any further queries, please let me know.

So, it would seem that expectations of local residents may have been raised prematurely regarding the reports of the applications having been submitted.

It seems to NTBCC that the documents should not have been lodged on the planning portal until all of the necessary documentation was available to view publically (for both the redevelopment application and the demolition of the existing buildings), and withdrawal of 20/03033/CON was both sensible and appropriate.

We look forward to the full suite of planning documents being available for scrutiny on 31st August.

Finally, we suggested to Ediston that it may be helpful if they attended the 14th September  NTBCC meeting to present their proposals and answer any questions that local residents  may have and we are pleased that they accepted this offer.