WEST EDINBURGH PLANNING FRAMEWORK - PROGRESS
01 The West Edinburgh Planning Framework was published jointly by the Scottish Executive, Scottish Enterprise Edinburgh and Lothian and the City of Edinburgh Council in 2003. It set out a long-term strategic vision for an area considered to be nationally important in terms of economic development, global connectivity, transport and the environment. The vision involves West Edinburgh 1 becoming more accessible and developing as an internationally competitive business location and quality gateway to Edinburgh and Scotland.
02 The West Edinburgh Planning Framework has the status of a Scottish Planning Policy ( SPP) and the policies it contains serve as an important input to the Development Plan for the area and are also a material consideration in development management decisions. The West Edinburgh Planning Framework was based on a number of technical papers, covering economic, transport and environmental aspects.
03 Since publication of the West Edinburgh Planning Framework, progress has been made both in development and in transport investment.
04 The Gyle Centre has been extended at one end, and the owners have aspirations for further retail growth, improvements in accessibility by public transport and enhancement of its retail and community facilities.
05 In Edinburgh Park, the Scottish Ministers granted permission (subject to a planning agreement) for a more intense form of development on the remaining vacant part of the site, which will lead to a further 200,000 sq. m of office use. This is expected to lead to physical capacity for a further 12,000 high quality jobs on top of the current 7,000 jobs. So far there has been consolidation of occupiers of the existing office stock, and no Phase 2 development has yet started.
06 The £10 million West Edinburgh Busways, marketed as Edinburgh Fastlink, is also operational, comprising 1.5 km of guided busway and other bus priorities to ease buses past chronic traffic congestion. Opened in late 2004, it is already cutting peak bus travel times by 10 minutes, and is a strong rival to car commuting into West Edinburgh.
07 The £4.5 million Edinburgh Park railway station, opened in January 2004, serves the Edinburgh Park employment area with which it is connected by shuttle buses during peak hours. Trains to and from Bathgate, Dunblane and Newcraighall serve the station. Patronage in the first year amounted to 240,000 person trips, over twice the forecast, and including 41% season ticket holders, i.e. regular and committed rail travellers. In the first six months of 2005, 154,000 person trips were made. This is equivalent to about 1,300 person trips per working day, or approaching 10% of the Edinburgh Park workforce.
08 Edinburgh Airport's rapid growth is also forecast to continue up to 13.7 million passengers per annum by 2013 and up to 26 million by 2030. The Airport has completed new runway taxiways and a multi-storey car park, the new control tower is operational, and the new south-east terminal extension was opened in September 2006. Passenger throughput has grown to 8.6 million annually and new destinations and services are regularly added.
09 With recent investment at the Royal Highland Centre, visitor numbers are projected to increase in future years. The Royal Highland Centre has opened its new Highland Hall and Sheep Shearing Arena as well as its new western countryside area and refurbished west and north entrances. The Royal Highland Centre is also home to a growing number of organisations connected to agriculture and the food chain, and forms a small business cluster in that sector.
10 In addition to all of this, the approved Edinburgh and Lothians Structure Plan 2015 proposes Newbridge/Kirkliston/Ratho and Edinburgh Park/South Gyle/Sighthill as Core Development Areas where development will be encouraged subject to the provision of key transport infrastructure and to other Development Plan policies. Redevelopment continues at Sighthill and South Gyle and there has been some incremental development at Ratho and Newbridge.
11 The Royal Bank of Scotland development at Gogarburn opened for business in 2005. The Royal Bank of Scotland operates a service of all day dedicated shuttle buses to and from the city centre, Edinburgh Park and South Gyle rail stations and Edinburgh Airport. South Gyle rail station serves trains to and from Fife. As a result car commuting has been reported by the Royal Bank of Scotland at a conference to be as low as 45% person trips.
12 The Ingliston Park and Ride site opened in September 2005 served by a dedicated fleet of buses to the city centre and is currently 80% full on weekdays.
13 Trams for Edinburgh have been approved by Parliament and granted Royal Assent. Phase 1A, from Newhaven to the Airport will take over the guided busway elements as part of its dedicated route on its planned opening in 2010.
14 The Edinburgh Airport Rail Link is currently before Parliament. This is in fact two separate rail routes from the Edinburgh-Glasgow line west of Edinburgh Park and the Edinburgh-Fife line north of Gogar. The lines will join to form a station in tunnel under the Airport, before again diverging towards Winchburgh Junction and routes to Glasgow and Dunblane, and towards Dalmeny Junction and routes to Fife and the north. These links are expected to be complete by 2012. This draft assumes that Parliament will approve these links as submitted.