For Everyone
Who Loves Edinburgh


How can I join the Cockburn Association (Edinburgh Civic Trust)?

You can join the Cockburn Association online. You can also fill in an application form which can be downloaded from the website.

If you prefer, you can email us your details or telephone the office on 0131 557 8686 and we can send you an application form.

I am concerned about a planning application/development in my area, can you help?

Members of the Cockburn Association are encouraged to raise matters of concern. Your first points of contact should be our Planning Assistant or Cases Officer. For contact details please visit the staff section of the website.

Please note that the Cases Committee can only consider a maximum of eight planning applications each fortnight. To put this in perspective, the City of Edinburgh Council receives more than 5,000 planning applications each year. For more information on the work of the Cases Committee please visit the Committees section of the website.

I do not agree with the policy position the Association is taking. How can I influence your work?

The Cockburn Association is a membership organisation and we work to represent the views of our members and also to our remit, as defined by our constitution.

We have a wide membership base and the issues we comment and campaign on are often contentious, generating many individual views. It is the role of our standing Committees to consider individual issues with great care and attention and establish a Cockburn position in line with our constitution and objectives.

As a member you can make your personal views known to the appropriate Committee by contacting our Director by post or email. The Director writes a free monthly e-newsletter to keep members up to date with policy developments, campaigns and other issues affecting the city and our work.

We also organise regular members meetings where members can submit questions for open discussion.

I read a quote from the Cockburn Association in the press that seems to contradict an earlier policy position. Why is this?

We receive many requests from both the local and national media to comment on a variety of stories related to architecture, planning, environmental and transport issues in Edinburgh. Comments, when made, are occasionally taken out of context. If you have any questions about a specific response or our policies please contact the office.

I would like advice on how to submit a planning application, can you help?

We do not give advice on the submission of individual planning applications.

We are consulted by architects and developers to give constructive comment at an early stage, particularly when the development is located in a Conservation Area, within the World Heritage Site, affects a building of historic importance or forms part of a larger scale regeneration project.

For advice on planning applications please contact the City of Edinburgh Council.

Is the Cockburn Association anti-development?

The short answer is no. We actively support successful regeneration and development and encourage excellence in new design and architecture. In 2007 we received a Scottish Government Award for one such project. More information about the Award is available in the About Us section.

Edinburgh is a living city and we encourage the creation of tomorrow's heritage - just not at the expense of the wonderful historic environment that underpins our economy and makes Edinburgh one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

Some argue that it is difficult to balance the needs of an successful capital city with the protection of our unique heritage. This is flawed. Edinburgh's present and future economic success owes much to its beauty and landscape setting. We work closely with developers. architects and other organisations to influence and guide the character of new development and to encourage the re-use and restoration of existing buildings to meet today's needs.

What does the Cockburn Assocation (The Edinburgh Civic Trust) do?

The Cockburn Association (The Edinburgh Civic Trust) is a registered charity which works, at many levels, to keep Edinburgh a beautiful city to be enjoyed by all who live, work and visit the Capital. Detailed information on what we do and how we do this can be found in the About Us and Campaigns section of the website.

Where can I find a specialist conservation architect/builder/supplier?

We do not provide advice on these matters. Historic Scotland run an enquiry service which offers free information on conservation issues and technical guidance, including the contact details of contractors and consultants involved in building repair and maintenance. The helpline telephone number is 0131 668 8668.

Who decides your policies?

Major policy decisions are taken by the Cockburn Council (Board). Members of the Cockburn Council are elected at our yearly Annual General Meeting and new members can be co-opted to Council during the year, as per our constitution. Other policy decisions are devolved to our committees.

Who funds the Cockburn Association (The Edinburgh Civic Trust)?

We are a completely independent charity and rely on membership subscriptions and legacies to carry out our work. We receive no core funding from the City of Edinburgh Council or the Scottish Government or its agencies.

We believe that our truly independent status gives us a unique and unbiased platform to comment on planning, civic amenity, heritage, transport and environmental matters in Edinburgh and to help raise popular interest and awareness of these issues.

Why "Cockburn"?

The Cockburn Association takes its name from Henry, Lord Cockburn (1777 - 1854) an advocate and judge who campaigned tirelessly to preserve the best of Edinburgh's buildings and amenities. The Cockburn Association is also the Edinburgh Civic Trust. For more information on the Cockburn Association see the History page.

Will the Association help with my university dissertation/project?

The Cockburn Association receives hundreds of requests each year to provide information for both undergraduate and postgraduate students writing on planning and related issues in Edinburgh.
As a charity we have very limited resources and cannot assist with most requests.

If you are a member of the Association and believe that your postgraduate level thesis may be of specific interest, please contact the Director, outlining your project with details of the information you seek from the Association and we will do our best to help.