East Lothian Council, under its emergency recess procedures, has approved a document which sets out design standards for new housing developments in East Lothian, including ensuring developments are as close to carbon neutral as possible and take into account biodiversity and the environment.

A public consultation took place in late 2019 on the draft Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) for Design Standards for New Housing Developments, which will now form part of the Local Development Plan (LDP) 2018 and a material consideration in determining all relevant planning applications. Helpful responses were received from members of the public, partner agencies and housing developers and many of these have been incorporated in the final guidance.


Councillor Norman Hampshire, East Lothian Council’s spokesperson for Environment, said: “These new standards represent an update to existing guidance, with more of a focus on the growing realisation of a need for action on climate change and how this can be addressed through development layout and individual building design.  It is absolutely right that this guidance should be updated to tie in with the latest LDP. Having this new guidance will ensure that all new residential developments in East Lothian meet the very highest standards.”


The new guidance will:

  • raise the standard of design in new housing developments by requiring developers to achieve a high standard of design quality by meeting the criteria set out
  • support the policies in the LDP 2018, in particular those within the design chapter, provide more transparency on the assessment of design at the planning application stage, and assist decision-making for officers
  • provide a better framework within which more detailed pre-application advice and discussions can be held by setting out at an early stage the council’s requirements in order to improve the design of developments prior to submission of planning applications
  • improve timescales for decision-making on major applications.


The guidance includes standards on a range of design elements, including; biodiversity, landscaping, play areas, sustainable drainage systems,  building heights and proportions, house types, architectural details, parking, public transport, electric vehicle charging and waste & recycling.


The guidance can be viewed on the council website.




Published: Thursday, 28th May 2020