Application for determination:
Residential development of 315 dwellings (comprised of apartment blocks and houses) and formation of new accesses, with associated landscaping, parking, open space and ancillary works including demolition of existing buildings.
He stated that the application should be granted on the following grounds:
- The applicant had worked constructively with officers and consultees.
- The scheme had been amended when required.
- The application was before committee a couple of weeks after the adoption of the updated City Plan.
- Only two parties had objected to the application, which was rare for an application as large as the one before Committee. This showed the support the local community had for the scheme.
- It is a sustainable edge centre location.
- There significant abnormal costs which impacts on the delivery of affordable housing.
- A decision to grant the application would support the plan led system and would deliver 315 needed properties for Gloucester.
- The capacity was increased from 200 to 300 at the City Plan Examination.
- Granting of the scheme would provide a third of the housing laid out in the recently adopted City Plan.
- The Officer report explained how it met key requirements for dwellings.
- 26 affordable housing units would be provided.
- The application would allow for the long-awaited redevelopment of a derelict site.
The Principal Planning Officer responded to Members’ questions concerning issues raised about pedestrian crossing on Horton Road and Great Western Road, whether a condition to install a pedestrian refuge on Great Western Road could be included as part of the application, gull mitigation measures, use of the sidings, maintenance of boundary treatments, educational contributions to a local primary school, knotweed, how many electric charging points there were, disabled access , tree maintenance, noise at the site, the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), the nature of the notification process, bin storage, tree maintenance and the public open space as follows:
- Gloucestershire Highways had assessed the site in detail and did not deem a pedestrian crossing on Great Western Road or Horton Road necessary.
- Pedestrians would cross Great Western Road to get to the hospital. There is an existing crossing further up Great Western Road.
- Condition 30 of the report stipulated that Gull Mitigation Measures needed to be put in place prior to the first occupation within the individual flat blocks.
- Regarding the use of the sidings, the applicant had liaised with Network Rail and had stated that they had quite a low use, by tamper vehicles. The Council’s environmental health consultant was satisfied with the impact.
- Concerning the boundary treatments, there was a condition that required approval of Boundary treatments or means of enclosure.
- The County Council had made a request for £1,507,940 to St Peters Primary School and/or Barton/Tredworth Primary planning area and/or other schools within the statutory walking distance. Widden Primary School likely would have fallen under one of these categories. However, contributions were linked with the viability of being able to provide said contributions and the applicant was not offering any contributions in relation to education. This said, the applicant had made the offer of providing 26 affordable housing units.
- All of the units would meet Building Regulations M4(2) standard. These were accessible and adaptable dwellings. Some of the units, including two of the 26 proposed affordable housing units would be built to M4(3) standard which were wheelchair user dwellings. Further, some of the properties would be sufficiently large enough to be converted into M4(3) dwellings if an occupier chose to do so. However, the current proposal met the requirement for dwellings with disabled access.
- There was a condition relating to dealing with knotweed. The applicant had conducted the first phase of works relating to knotweed and would go back to do the second. Condition 12 as amended in the late material stipulated that no development would take place on the southern phase of the site until detailed method statement for the removal/eradication of invasive species on the site that had been submitted and approved by the authority.
- In relation to electric charging points in bays, this now fell under building regulations and did not form part of the application before committee.
- It would be for the developer to maintain the trees on site. There would be conditions, similar to ones put on most planning applications in refence to this. In the long term, the developer may choose to source a management company to maintain the trees.
- A noise survey was undertaken by the applicant. An unmanned survey and a manned survey were taken over multiple days. This would have picked up the noise of nearby trains and cars. The environmental health consultant raised no objections. The buildings would also need to be designed to reflect the noise environment (e.g. suitable façade and glazing specification) so that noise was properly mitigated.
- The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) was a mandatory charge. The Council publishes what the levy would be spent on yearly. The levy is predominantly spent on large Highway schemes. The CIL has a set process and was funded by developers’ funds. In terms of other contributions, education, open space etc. both national and council policy allowed for discretion on a viability basis.
- The CIL went to different authorities within Gloucestershire, but this was dealt with at the Joint Core Strategy level.
- More properties were notified than what was required by legislation. The requirement was to notify everyone who lived in properties on the adjoining boundary. However, using discretion, the Council also notified properties opposite and further away from the site.
- There had been a discussion about what would happen to the Public Open Space. For this application, the applicant proposed that the public space would be managed by the applicant rather than offered for Council adoption.
- The affordable housing was proposed in Block D.
- Bin stores were proposed for each apartment block while each house would have an outdoor bin store. They would not be on the road.
The Highways Officer responded to Members’ questions regarding concerns about pedestrians crossing Great Western Road, why a pedestrian refuge was not installed, trains, parking, and what would happen if the option of a car club was not taken up and as follows:
- Regarding whether the instillation of a pedestrian crossing were appropriate, Gloucestershire Highways had looked into this application in great detail and had not deemed it appropriate or necessary.
- Trip generation data produced for the application suggested that the granting of the application would lead to an extra vehicle in the area every 2 to 3 minutes. In terms of saturation at junctions, this was not a perceivable risk and would not make a significant difference at peak times.
- If a pedestrian refuge island was installed, a significant number of parking spaces would be lost.
- The issues associated with the level crossing are existing ones and not ones that could be mitigated in the application before committee.
- In regard to the Car Club, the developer would negotiate with a Car Club provider. There were four large car club providers generally. It would be a highly attractive offer for a car club provider and it was highly unlikely that a car club provider would not take it on for the six spaces allocated.
- The parking provision would be enforced by a car parking zone. Those who lived in the development would not be allowed to park in the surrounding zones during times of operation. This would partly incentivise occupants not to have vehicles. Those in the smaller dwellings were less likely to own vehicles whereas the larger dwellings all had parking spots.
- Within the transport assessment, there was a detailed assessment of accidents and speed surveys. There was also a pedestrian crossing within 250 metres of the site. The desire lines for pedestrians would keep them on one side of the road until they got to the existing crossing by the Hospital.
- Paragraph 6.58 of the report detailed the trip generation data. The figures were robust. He appreciated the local knowledge of ward members. However, Gloucestershire Highways had fully assessed the application based on the statistics provided.
The Locum Planning Lawyer answered a members’ question concerning whether a pedestrian crossing could be installed as a condition on Great Western Road as follows:
- The issue surrounding highway crossings had been considered in depth by Gloucestershire Highways. Should members be wishing to deviate from the recommendations in the report as amended in the late material, there would have to be an evidential base or a material consideration to do so.
The Chair stated that he liked the design of the application and noted that it should tidy up the area. He noted that it would provide much needed housing. He stated that he sympathised with Members’ concerns in regard to crossing on Horton Road and Great Western Road, but that Highways had provided a lot of detail around desire lines and that there was a Zebra crossing opposite Gloucestershire Royal Hospital. The Chair observed that Horton Road was a busy road and difficult to cross but that without an evidence base or a material reason to mandate a condition to install a pedestrian crossing, he did not think it appropriate to propose adding an extra condition. He said that he understood that there was a balance made in relation to a viability assessment and that he agreed that it was better to have 26 affordable housing units, instead of the education and other contributions. He said that he would support the officer recommendation.
The Vice-Chair stated that he believed the term ‘balance’ was the correct one when assessing the application. He said that he commended the work put in by officers, Gloucestershire Highways, and other relevant parties in putting together the application. He said that it was the role of Members to raise the concerns of residents when assessing an application before committee. He concluded by stating that he believed that it would be a good addition to the area and would provide housing.
Councillor Tracey said that she agreed with the points raised by the Chair. She noted that she had concerns about crossings but stated that she would support the officer recommendation.
The Chair moved and the Vice-Chair seconded the officer recommendation as amended in the late material.
RESOLVED that: - planning permission is GRANTED subject to the completion of a legal agreement/s to secure the terms set out at Paragraph 6.158 in the council report and delegated Authority being given to the Planning Development Manager to negotiate the s106 terms to suit;
the conditions outlined in the report as amended in the late material.