Shaping Edinburgh BioQuarter: output of Community Consultation
Over the summer, we invited those who live in the communities surrounding BioQuarter to have their say on our exciting plans to shape the development into Edinburgh’s Health Innovation District.
30 years from now BioQuarter will be a community of 20,000 people. Most of them will be working or studying on site, but some will also be able to live close to where they work thanks to the proposed residential element of the masterplan.
We’d like to thank everyone who took the time to respond to our consultation – it has been hugely beneficial as we shape our masterplan which will be submitted to the City of Edinburgh Council this Autumn. There is still a chance to have your say on the plans when the statutory consultation is launched through the planning process.
So, what was said and what happens next? Here is a summary of what you told us and the actions we’ll take now.
What we did
Consultation and local dialogue are important to BioQuarter and its partners – City of Edinburgh Council, NHS Lothian, Scottish Enterprise and the University of Edinburgh – as we shape our plans for the future. This won’t change and will remain important throughout the lifetime of the development as we seek to make sure that those communities local to us benefit from our plans.
The COVID-19 emergency meant it was not possible to hold public planning events without posing a significant risk to public health. As such, we consulted online. Information was provided and promoted digitally, with detail shared on the BioQuarter website, social media channels and with the local media.
What you told us
Feedback was reviewed in detail and has provided us with valuable information that will shape our updates to the BioQuarter masterplan and the vision for the development over the coming decades.
The key themes to emerge during the four-week consultation from feedback received included:
- Vision and principle – the community is generally supportive of what we are looking to achieve with our plans to extend to BioQuarter, with almost two-thirds of respondents (61%) supporting the key principles of the development. The same number (61%) supports a wider mix of uses of buildings at BioQuarter to include commercial, residential, education and life sciences laboratories.
- Housing – some responses raised concerns around the addition of the residential element to the development and the potential impact it will have on traffic congestion with calls for improved roads and public transport links, and for affordable housing for key workers to be included. Additionally, the introduction of housing also raised worries around increasing strain on local schools and GP surgeries. These are areas that we will seek to address within our planning application.
- Connectivity – more than half of respondents who shared their thoughts were in favour of improved connections to BioQuarter. This topic attracted the greatest number of written comments including calls for measures to discourage car ownership such as restricted parking; a direct link to the train line; extension of the tram line; improved cycling infrastructure; and express buses across the city.
- Landscape – there was support for the principle that building heights should be controlled to protect views across the site.
What we’ll do next
As we move to submit our planning application this Autumn, we will closely review and consider all the feedback we received as part of the consultation – our decisions will be inclusive of the diverse community of ideas and opinions. This will then be reflected as we prepare the emerging masterplan for submission for planning approval.
We are excited about the future of Edinburgh BioQuarter and feedback from the community is central in shaping this. Our vision for BioQuarter is to be a global destination for pioneering health innovation and enterprise. Inspire communities, nurture talent and build companies to improve wellbeing and deliver significant economic growth for all.
Find out more about our plans and vision for BioQuarter.