Recommendation: Conditional Approval, subject to Legal Agreement.
Proposal: part redevelopment and part retention and refurbishment of existing buildings for mixed use development for town centre users, including Class A1 shops, Class A2 financial and professional services, Class A3 restaurants and cafes, Class A4 drinking establishments, Class 5 hot food takeaways and a new public square, plus 26 Class C3 dwellings (a net gain of 21) as part of the regeneration of Wokingham Town Centre.
The proposals include:
· Demolition of 34-35 Market Place, 2-22 (even) peach Street, 1-6 The Arcade, and wall along the Rose Street frontage; and the removal of the Rose Street Car Park;
· Retention of 24 -38 (even) Peach Street (Marks & Spencer, the Haka, and the Redan Public House;
· Retention and refurbishment of 36 Market Place (including two first-floor apartments) with external alterations; and 1-5 (odd) Rose Street (including two second floor apartments) with external alterations;
· Erection of new buildings for the uses listed above, new public toilets and associated works, including reconfiguration of part of Marks & Spencer car park.
Applicant: Wokingham Borough Council/Wilson Bowden Developments
The Committee considered a report about this application, set out on Agenda pages 11 to 110.
The Committee was advised that the Members’ Update included details of:
· Minor changes in land use and floor space, as set out in the Summary Information;
· Additional consultation response from Adult Social Services made in light of concerns raised about disabled access to the Bradbury Centre;
· Comment from Councillor Bob Pitts, a member of the Committee who could not attend;
· Ten further representations received, with officer comments on the points made;
· Recommended revisions to conditions 2, 3, 12, 17, 21, 22, 23, 26, 28, 29 and 30;
· Recommended additional condition removal of an on-street parking bay.
The following correction to the report was noted: on Agenda page 48 – the cross reference at the top of the page regarding the petition should be to paragraph 117 not paragraph 44.
Francis Ryder, Wokingham Town Council, spoke in support of the application.
Ian Severn, spoke to present the objections made by the Methodist Church, the Wokingham Disability Partnership and the Wokingham Traders.
Peter must spoke to present the objections made by the Wokingham Society, and Martin Gibb from Vitality Foods trading at 22 Peach Street.
Philip Mirfin and Bernie Pich, representing the applicant and Mark Watson, representing the Wokingham Chamber of Commerce, each spoke in support of the application.
Bob Wyatt, a Local Ward Member, spoke in support of the application.
Concerns were expressed regarding the loss of parking in this Town Centre location and where the alternative parking would be provided for the occupiers of the new dwellings, and the increased number of shoppers who are hoped to be attracted to the new development. There were also concerns about the loss of the disabled access to the Bradbury Centre/Methodist Church which hosts many community events.
The Highways Officer indicated that purchasers of the new dwelling will be aware that no parking is provided. Surveys have identified that there is capacity in town car parks to accommodate this development and in future, with taking into account of future regeneration of the Town Centre. Public car parks with capacity are within 250m distance from the site, eg Elms Road multi-storey and Easthampstead Road. Residents will be able to buy a pass/season ticket to park in any of the Council’s car park, if they wish. The parking adjacent to Marks & Spencer off Rose Street will remain, and it is planned to increase parking at the Carnival Pool as part of the wider Town Centre Regenaration. Concern was expressed that Waitrose car park had been mentioned as an option, but it was pointed out that this is a car park limited to shoppers in Waitrose only, so was not normally available for general parking, although linked trips do and will continue to take place by users of Waitrose’s car park.
Officers confirmed that 3 disabled parking spaces will now be provided in Rose Street immediately outside the Methodist Church and the Bradbury Centre, subject to a successful Traffic Regulation Order application.
Officers responded to other queries from Members as follows:
· There is a condition to require the management of the access for service and delivery vehicles;
· Special areas will be provided for the storage and collection of domestic and commercial waste;
· The viability of the scheme has been assessed by an independent person, and the significant benefits of delivering this redevelopment on a brown field site are mitigation for there being no provision of affordable housing;
· The reduced separation distances between some flats and a retail unit at first and second floor level are for secondary windows, so are acceptable in this town centre location.
· Traffic in Rose Street will be reduced, when the Rose Street existing public car park is removed.
RESOLVED: That application F/2014/2637 be approved subject to:
1) the completion of a Legal Agreement, as set out on Agenda page 13;
2) to the conditions set out on Agenda pages 13 to 33, with and additional condition and amendments to conditions 2, 3, 12, 17, 21, 22, 23, 26, 28, 29, and 30, as set out in the Members’ Update.