Recommendation: Conditional Approval
Proposal: Full application for temporary planning permission for the use of land for filming, incorporating temporary change of use of existing former barracks buildings from Use Class Sui Generis to Use Class B1, and the use of the site and hard standing for parking and storage, with associated access
Applicant: Crest Nicholson Operations Limited C/O Savills
The Committee received and reviewed a report about this application, set out in Agenda pages 9 to 38.
The Committee were advised that the Members’ Update included:
· Clarification of responses from both Arborfield & Newland Parish Council and Barkham Parish Council;
· An additional neighbour comment;
· A re-wording of Condition 2 relating to the effect of the use of the site on surrounding properties, and
· A re-wording of Condition 9, to whit that no operation should commence until external lighting schemes had been submitted and approved in writing.
Ken Hann, a resident of the ward, stated that he was happy with the build proposed but had concerns in regards to: the speed of the access roads; the working hours of some of the stages, and the parking and access. In particular, he questioned the proposed design of the entrance to the site and whether it took account of current road use, and whether the 40 mph limit on Langley Common Road should be changed to 30 mph along the entire road. He asked for clarification on whether a proposed Traffic Order reducing the speed to 30 mph could be part of the application in front of the Committee as the Council had not identified it as suitable for a 30mph limit in its current form even though it was identified as a walking route to the Bohunt School.
Chris Tinker, Agent for Crest Nicholson, the developers, led Members through a presentation, comparing the site to an existing Film Studio at Longcross and outlining the benefits to the community in terms of employment and income. He stated that the site would be actively staffed and managed and that the traffic flow would be less than that of the previous military use.
The Service Manager for Highways Development Management stated that there had been no restriction in regards to access on the military base and that an independent Road safety audit had been carried out and found no issue with the proposal. He highlighted that the visibility was to be improved by some removal of vegetation and that that a 30 mph speed limit reduction would be considered for this section of the road alongside the detailed design work of the Langley Common Road and Biggs Lane roundabout improvements which formed part of the wider Arborfield SDL transport mitigation measures. He advised that the 30mph speed limit reduction was not necessary for this application currently being considered by committee. He also indicated that the anticipated number of vehicle movements would not be unusual for this type of road and that as the working day did not fit a standard pattern, there would not be an overall peak travel time issue.
In answer to Members’ questions about the length of tenure and its impact on the Borough housing targets, the Case Officer stated that, if the company wanted to extend their length of tenure by even one year beyond the nine laid out in the application, they would need to submit a further application. The Strategic Delivery Manager went on to state that the site in question was currently due to be developed into housing in the final phase of the Arborfield development. He explained that there was always a degree of slippage in building projects but that any shortfall would be more than made up for by other developments in the Borough. The site has extant permission but this area would require, a new reserved matters application to be made prior to construction of housing.
In response to a Member’s question about employment opportunities, Chris Tinker explained that, as a highly unionised industry, there were unlikely to be many career opportunities for local young people as actors but that there would be opportunities in the support sector and associated careers.
In response to a Member question regarding safe walking routes to Bohunt School, the Service Manager for Highways Development Management indicated that, the 30mph speed limit reduction would be reviewed under a separate scheme as mentioned earlier, and that as the only existing footpath was on the opposite side of the road to the site access junction, potential conflict between users was not consider to be an issue.
In response to a Member question about sound and its impact on neighbours, the Strategic Delivery Manager indicated that most of the activity on site would be indoors and that, outside, set-building would take place during normal working hours.
Resolved: That application No. 162881 be approved subject to the conditions set out in Agenda pages 9 to 38, and the amendments to conditions 2 and 9 as laid out in the Members’ Update.