Edinburgh’s two million pound ‘coin toss’ planning application to be re-run

Friday March 8th 2024


Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Donald Turvill

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 13th March.

Cllr Osler opted not to cast the deciding vote at the meeting on February 7th 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’.”

Artisan Real Estate was contacted for further comment on the council’s decision to re-run the hearing next week.

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