Recommendation: Conditional approval subject to legal agreement
Proposal: Full application for the proposed erection of 14 flats, 6 no. one bedroom flats, 8 no. two bedroom flats, car parking and landscaping, following the demolition of existing buildings.
Applicant: Cleanslate Ltd
The Committee received and reviewed a report about this application as set out in agenda pages 121 to 156.
The Committee was advised that the Members’ Update included the following:
· Additional condition around hours of work.
A statement was read out on behalf of Brian Norton, applicant, in support of the application. The applicant had held a Pre-Application process and met with Planning Officers and Landscaping Officers. They had had a constructive dialogue which had resulted in a number of modifications to the proposals; namely reducing its scale, improving external design features to meet the local vernacular and bolstering landscaping given its location on a Green Route. In addition, plants that bolstered biodiversity, had been selected. Although the Heritage Officer had, early in the process, expressed concern around the existing building’s history, very little of the original features remained and redevelopment was the only practical option. There were some significant viability challenges due to technical requirements for remediation and poor ground conditions leading to a potential need for piling. Despite these challenges several shared ownership flats were offered as part of the development.
Imogen Shepherd-DuBey, Ward Member, spoke in objection to the application. She commented that on the whole she welcomed the application. However, she felt that the inclusion of a lift would make the building more accessible for all. Imogen Shepherd-DuBey questioned why solar panels were not part of the application. In addition, she felt that more visitor parking was required and that at least one more flat should be affordable housing.
Pauline Jorgensen sought clarification regarding the private open space in front of the flats and queried whether the landscaping was adequate. Janette Davey indicated that originally it had been proposed that the space in front of the flats would be communal open space. It was now private space for five of the flats. There was a proposal for a brick wall and planting against the brick wall which would offer a degree of privacy. Officers were keen that the proposals complied with the government’s provisions for building a healthy life, seeking to achieve outdoor space in some form for as many residents as possible. This had been achieved in eleven of the fourteen dwellings. With regards to the private garden space, Officers had felt it appropriate in the location.
Malcolm Richards asked whether there was sufficient space for refuse vehicles to access. Judy Kelly indicated that larger vehicles would reverse in and then come back out on to the road in a forward manner.
Malcolm Richards commented that a lift would be useful. Janette Davey clarified that this was not something which could be required under planning legislation. Rachelle Shepherd-Dubey questioned there could be an informative regarding encouraging the inclusion of a lift.
Rachelle Shepherd-DuBey asked how the contaminated land would be treated and was informed that this was addressed in conditions five to eight.
Stephen Conway commented that there was a lack of amenity space and that the majority of amenity space was provided as balconies. Jeanette Davey stated that eleven out of fourteen dwellings had some form of outside space. There was also nearby outdoor space in the form of allotments, a play park and Elms Field.
A number of Members were of the opinion that the affordable homes provision was insufficient. The requirement for the location was 20%, however only two dwellings would be affordable housing. It was noted that the viability study had indicated that two as opposed to three was acceptable.
Andrew Mickleburgh queried how density compared to other developments. Jeanette Davey confirmed that the application complied with policy requirements.
Andrew Mickleburgh expressed concern regarding parking and questioned the impact on the surrounding area. Judy Kelly responded that the parking would be unallocated. There was a requirement for thirteen spaces and the applicant would be providing fourteen parking spaces. The area in the vicinity had heavy parking restrictions so she would not anticipate overspill into these areas. Visitors could make use of nearby car parks such as at the station.
Andrew Mickleburgh queried the access point on to the already congested Barkham Road and questioned whether access on to Oxford Road would be more appropriate. He was informed that there was existing access on to Barkham Road and the application would actually reduce the intensification of access. There were one-way restrictions on Oxford Road which may have made it less desirable to the applicant and future residents.
Abdul Loyes asked what the minimum requirements for the gross internal area were. Janette Davey commented that policy TBO7 had standards for one-bedroom flats occupied by two people and two-bedroom flats occupied by three people. A one-bedroom flat should be a minimum 50m2 and a two bedroom flat, a minimum of 61m2..
RESOLVED: That application 200700 be approved subject to the completion of a legal agreement pursuant to section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended) to secure provision of affordable housing and an Employment Skills Plan, conditions and informatives as set out in agenda pages 122 to 129, the proposed additional condition set out in the Members’ Update and the additional informative discussed at the meeting.