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National Planning Framework for Scotland

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NATIONAL PLANNING FRAMEWORK FOR SCOTLAND

PEOPLE AND HOMES

12. In 2001 the population of Scotland was a little over 5 million. Over 60% of the population lives in the Central Belt and 27% in the four main cities. However, the distribution of population has been changing. Between 1991 and 2002 the highest increases in population were in West Lothian (10%), East Lothian (8%), Stirling (7%), and Perth and Kinross (6%). The largest falls were in the Western Isles (-11%), Inverclyde (-9%), Glasgow (-8%) and Dundee (-7%).

13. The population of Scotland's four main cities fell significantly between 1961 and 1981, largely as a result of households moving to surrounding areas. The city share of Scotland's total population fell from 39% to 31%. Much of this was due to a very large decline in Glasgow, where the population fell by a third. This was amongst the most severe experiences of city decline in Europe.

14. The period 1981 to 2001 saw a significant change in city population trends. Edinburgh and Aberdeen both recorded population growth. The rate of decline slowed significantly in Glasgow but increased in Dundee. The "four city" share of population has continued to fall (to 28% of the Scottish total), but at a much slower rate.

15. The strength of the economy in the Edinburgh area coupled with low interest rates has led to a boom in house prices. Residential land values in Edinburgh have risen by between 200 and 300% in six years. Glasgow's housing market has strengthened, and private sector house completions are at record levels. Choice is being improved though the release of greenfield sites for family housing and house builders are now more willing to develop on brownfield sites, increasingly without subsidy. Around 70% of house completions in Glasgow are on previously used sites and the redevelopment of vacant and derelict land is making an important contribution to the city's regeneration.

AROUND 70% OF HOUSE COMPLETIONS IN GLASGOW ARE ON PREVIOUSLY USED SITES AND THE REDEVELOPMENT OF VACANT AND DERELICT LAND IS MAKING AN IMPORTANT CONTRIBUTION TO THE CITY'S REGENERATION.
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16. In other areas the housing market is much weaker and there are large differences in house prices across the country. In Edinburgh, there is evidence that social housing providers are having increasing difficulty in acquiring sites because of high residential land prices. A lack of affordable housing is a concern in the wider Edinburgh area, the more affluent suburbs of Glasgow and parts of rural Scotland. However, there are large surpluses of social housing in parts of the Glasgow conurbation and the populations of many post-war housing schemes have declined substantially.