Agenda item

Motion by the Green Group - Extending permitted development rights for sheds




1 notes the critical importance of convenient, secure cycle storage in allowing people to travel by bike; notes the Edinburgh Design Guidance which states "High Quality cycle parking, including secure storage, is essential in making cycling as attractive as possible." (p.55); notes the Edinburgh-based research which found that "bike storage problems for flat/tenement dwellers are a significant deterrent to city centre bike use." (Encouraging bike use in residential neighbourhoods, Dr Tim Ryley, 2008)


2 notes Scottish Government design guidance that "[Cycle] parking facilities should be located as close as possible to the entrance of the establishment they are intended to serve." (Cycling by Design, 2020, p.110) and that "there should be a climate of encouraging existing developments to retro-fit or extend cycle parking." (Cycling by Design, 2020, p.109);


3 notes previous decisions of this committee on 16 May and 3 October 2013, on "Cycle Storage in Gardens" to approve a factsheet on the topic, the text agreed with Spokes, the Lothian Cycle Campaign and referenced in the Guidance for Householders; notes that the factsheet, approved by this committee, states that "Much of the difficulty for householders in Scotland who need garden bike storage could be removed if the Scottish Government changed the rules for permitted development, so as to allow front garden sheds/containers which meet certain criteria, such as those in section 4 of this factsheet." (p.4)


4 notes the council's commitment to become a net zero-carbon city by 2030; notes that transport accounts for 37% of carbon emissions, and is the largest source sector and that emissions from the transport sector are increasing; notes the draft City Mobility Plan includes the aim that Edinburgh will see "mass commuting by bike" by 2030;


5 notes the Scottish Government’s recent consultation on reviewing and extending permitted development rights ran from 1 October to 12 November 2020 and included a section on active travel, and notes the council's response which is included in the papers for this meeting; notes that this response has not been considered by this committee before today; notes that the Scottish Government has indicated that the council cannot resubmit a revised response, but may submit supplementary information;


6 notes the council response to the previous Scottish Government consultation on reviewing & extending permitted development rights in Scotland, which ran from November 2019 to January 2020, that "City of Edinburgh Council would like [...] active travel to be given a higher priority to enable the City to deliver its transformative vision for the City as efficiently as possible.";


7 notes the report to this committee on 2 October 2014 which was unanimously agreed, which included analysis of all 18 sheds in Shandon Colony front gardens, and which concluded that "the area is characterised, to an extent, by sheds in gardens and although planning permission would have been required, the sheds and other structures were not detrimental to the amenity of [the] area. It was resolved that it was not expedient for the Council, as local planning authority, to use its discretionary powers to enforce the removal of the structures or the submission of a retrospective application to regularise the structures."  (para 3.6)


8 recognises that the planning authority cannot control what is stored in sheds, but nonetheless considers that sheds which are of a suitable size to be bike sheds have not proved to be detrimental to the amenity of residential neighbourhoods, including in conservation areas;


9 therefore agrees to submit the view that the Committee supports extending permitted development rights for sheds in front gardens, including within conservation areas, within the size parameters set out in the factsheet agreed with Spokes and previously approved by this committee in 2013; also to support PD rights for sheds in private garden areas of flats, and communal rear garden areas of flats, with dimensions as proposed in the most recent Scottish Government consultation;


10 further agrees that the Convenor will write to the Scottish Government without delay, enclosing a copy of this motion as approved by committee as a supplementary response to their recent consultation, and offering to work constructively with the Scottish Government on implementation should they decide to proceed with granting Permitted Development rights to modestly sized sheds suitable for bike storage, as proposed in their recent consultation.