‘Coin toss’ planning application to be re-run as developers question process

A coin toss was used to determine that the developer should pay £3m.

‘Coin toss’ planning application for Edinburgh to be re-run as developers question process Google Maps

A major Edinburgh planning application determined on the toss of a coin is to go before councillors again after developers said the decision-making process had been “flawed”.

Plans for 256 low-carbon homes and commercial units at 525 Ferry Road were granted last month.

However councillors sitting on the development management sub-committee were split over whether to seek a £1m or £3m contribution towards education infrastructure from the applicant.

And after earlier opposing the application, convener Cllr Hal Osler waived her casting vote and a coin toss was used to determine that the developer should pay £3m.

Developers Artisan Real Estate said afterwards the significantly increased contribution “could delay or put in jeopardy the delivery of this much needed housing”.

The applicant has since written to the council “and advised that they considered the decision-making to be procedurally flawed due to the decision being made on the toss of a coin,” councillors were told by chief planning officer David Givan.

In an email Mr Givan said it was the local authority’s view there was a “basis for decision making to made in this way”.

However he added there was “ambiguity in the process which could result in the decision being legally challenged in the event that a decision notice is issued”.

Edinburgh City Council confirmed the planning application will be reconsidered by the development management sub-committee on Wednesday, March 13.

Cllr Osler opted not to cast the deciding vote at the meeting on February 7 as she was in favour of rejecting the plans completely, and neither of the two final options on the table would deliver this outcome.

Commenting on the outcome David Westwater, Scottish regional director for Artisan Real Estate told Scottish Housing News: “A threefold increase in Section 75 education contribution to £3m would challenge the viability of any development – especially at a time when the residential market is still struggling to come to terms with the impact of higher interest rates on mortgages and developers are facing increased build and construction finance costs.

“This decision could delay or put in jeopardy the delivery of this much needed housing in Edinburgh which we had hoped would significantly address the city’s well publicised ‘housing emergency’.”

David Westwater Scottish Regional Director for Artisan Real Estate said: “The planning application for our proposed development at 525 Ferry Road is to return to the council’s development sub committee as there were concerns over the process. We await the outcome of that committee with interest.”

“We have set out an ambitious vision to transform this vacant site into a new
residential neighbourhood providing 256 much needed sustainable homes – 65 of which are for affordable housing. There is also provision for flexible commercial space facing on to Ferry Road, creating potential for cafes, shops and shared workspaces.

“This is a significant project providing much-needed new homes and commercial space to a vacant brownfield city centre site. We look forward to working closely with the Council to maintain our ongoing commitment to this vacant site, bringing investment, excitement and life to this important gateway to Edinburgh’s city centre.”

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code