Edinburgh Skyline Strategy
|Project Reference||Edinburgh Skyline Consultation|
|Details||Edinburgh Skyline Consultation on the Draft Planning Guidelines for the Protection of Key Views|
|Planning Authority||Edinburgh City Council|
This report relates to Draft Planning Guidelines for the Protection of Key Views, which was referred to us by the planning authority under cover of a letter dated 4 March 2008 as a follow-up to an earlier consultation on the Skyline Strategy. The Edinburgh Skyline Strategy was presented at an A+DS Design Review meeting held on 20th March 2007 in Edinburgh.
In A+DS's previous report, dated 2nd April 2007, it was noted that in taking the study forward into its next stage there were some aspects that we felt should be given further consideration. These are listed below, amended as appropriate in response to the documents presently under review.
1 General Comments
1.1 We are generally supportive of the strategy and the draft planning guidelines and commend the City of Edinburgh Council for carrying out this important exercise. Raising awareness of the importance of views into and out of the city is critical in protecting Edinburgh's skyline, in safeguarding its World Heritage status and in guiding future development within the city.
1.2 The study is by its very nature visual, and we would welcome the engagement of a wider audience through more interactive and three-dimensional means. We would support the Council in their aspiration to commission a physical and / or 3D computer model of Edinburgh, which would be an invaluable tool in assessing the existing views in and out of the city and for analysing the potential impact of future developments on Edinburgh's skyline.
2.1 The study highlights critical views into the city centre from its peripheries. However, it is equally important to examine views out of the city and into the wider landscape as well as views into the city from the wider landscape. We note that, for the most part, the viewpoints that have been added are inward-looking.
2.2 The way in which views are illustrated should reflect how the city is viewed from different modes of transportation, and we feel that the study is somewhat static at the moment in this respect. We would encourage the Council to expand their study to take into account the dynamic nature of views both within and outwith the City.
2.3 Emphasis has been placed on ‘view cones', yet the silhouetted outline of Edinburgh's skyline can also be experienced through panoramic overviews from hill tops around the city.
3 Integration with other Studies
3.1 We recognise that the Skyline Strategy and accompanying Guidelines are one part of a wider study for analysing the city and shaping its future development. We welcome a co-ordinated and holistic approach that integrates other studies and policy guidance, to identify, for example, where tall built form may be desirable and encouraged. For instance, combining this study with an analysis of the Edinburgh Transport System may identify nodal points where pressure for development and therefore taller buildings, may be anticipated.
4 Skills / Education
4.1 We support the Council in their bid to increase the design awareness and skills of their staff, to allow them to make better value judgements based on the output of the study and to avoid adopting a negative ‘rule book mentality' towards future development within the city.
We support the Council in commissioning this important study. We feel the approach could be more integrated, and encourage the Council to bring together work on other aspects of the city to allow a coordinated vision for the development of Edinburgh that takes into account areas between, as well as within, the view cones.
As the guidelines will ultimately become a tool to assist the planning authority in making qualitative judgements about buildings that break Edinburgh's skyline we encourage increased design skills and awareness of staff, along with a continued dialogue between the Council and the wider design community about the future of Edinburgh.
Report issued: 11 April 2008