TIGHTER controls over student accommodation and short-term lets such as Airbnb will be introduced in Edinburgh under a ten-year plan setting out its development priorities. 

Council chiefs want to "ensure that student housing is delivered at the right scale and in the right locations" as part of their proposals for the city until 2030. 

They also want to designate Scotland's capital, or parts of it, a "short-term lets control area" to crack down on Airbnb-style holiday accommodation.

The suggestions are contained in a document outlining ideas for the City Plan 2030, Edinburgh's planning blueprint for the coming decade.

It reads: "We want to revise our policy on purpose-built student housing. 

"We want to ensure that student housing is delivered at the right scale and in the right locations, helps create sustainable communities and looks after students' wellbeing."

The document says new purpose-built student accommodation should be located on a direct walking, cycling or public transport route to its intended university or college, while also delivering market and affordable housing as part of its mix.

It should also be built for, and managed by, one of Edinburgh's universities or colleges, while a maximum of 10 per cent of it should be made up of studio flats.

Elsewhere, the new blueprint proposes designating the capital, or a part of it, a special control area where planning permission will always be required to change an entire property into a short-term let.

A new policy would help determine when a change of use has occurred, and whether it is acceptable. 

It comes after SNP ministers announced new powers last week as part of a crackdown on Airbnb-style holiday lets.

In a briefing for the media, council leaders spoke of their desire to encourage tourists away from the city centre and towards attractions such as Portobello beach and the Pentland hills.

Neil Gardiner, convener of Edinburgh's planning committee, said: "Maybe the tourist experience needs to come out the central area and see all the other delights that we have in this city."

The City Plan suggests Edinburgh needs to deliver 20,800 affordable homes and 22,600 market homes over the next 10 years.

It includes proposals for swathes of extra parkland, new schools and additional walking and cycling routes, as well as suggesting all buildings should meet zero-carbon standards. 

The blueprint will go before Edinburgh's planning committee on January 22 before being put out for consultation, during which its ideas can be rejected or accepted.

A transport plan unveiled last week outlined proposals to extend Edinburgh's tram line to the north and south and make the city centre largely car-free within ten years.

Mr Gardiner insisted Scotland's capital is a "vibrant city, with a great quality of life". 

He added: "We have a beautiful green and historic environment, a thriving economy and numerous cultural attractions to be enjoyed. 

"But, like many cities, we have increasing levels of poverty and health inequalities in our communities, rising housing costs and in some areas, traffic congestion and poor air quality. 

"We also need to adapt our city to meet the needs of an ageing population, address the increasing impact of climate change and ensure growth is sustainable.
“We need to have an open conversation with our residents, businesses and other stakeholders about how our city grows and changes to meet future needs where this growth takes place. 

"City Plan 2030 is about us making the right choices now so that our residents can make reasonable and informed choices about how and where they live and how they get around in the future.
“We’re embarking on one of the most significant periods of transformation in a generation and we need to rethink the way we expand to accommodate our growing population. 

"We’re already committed to building 20,000 affordable and low-cost homes by 2027 but the city needs more housing, with particular emphasis on affordable homes.
“The plan we finally publish will affect us all to some degree and it’s important that we hear from residents on this journey to accommodate future needs. 

"The history of Edinburgh is about successfully adapting and evolving – now it’s our turn to come together to think about how we can plan most effectively for the future.”

Maureen Child, vice convener of the committee, said: “To meet our ambitious climate change targets, we must develop differently in the future and all houses and other buildings will need be much more energy efficient. 

"We will work with our partners in the industry to ensure we make the best use of the limited space we have and, going forward, we’ll be asking developers to think more carefully about location, density and design. 

"Where historically you may have built a supermarket on a brownfield site, we need to think of a mix of opportunities and uses for the site, including housing."