Agenda item

Great Western Road yard/sidings - 22/00770/FUL

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.


The Principal Planning Officer presented the update report detailing an application for 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.


A local resident spoke in opposition to the application.


He said that he had concerns in respect of the application on the following grounds:


-       About thermal design and whether the site could reach net zero.

-       Heat pumps could interfere with each other.

-       The current design meant that there would be additional cost and complexity for air source heat pumps.

-       The design had not been completely thought through.


A director of Eutopia Homes spoke in favour of the application.


She stated that the application should granted on the following grounds:


-       Officers had recommended approval.

-       The proposal only sought to make minor amendments.

-       The application would provide 315 new homes on an allocated, centrally located brownfield site.

-       The applicant had had advanced discussions with a housing association which has got grant funding.

-       An energy strategy had been submitted with the application.

-       The site would provide 35% affordable housing, this was above the policy requirement of 20%.




Members’ Questions


The Principal Planning Officer responded to Members’ questions concerning whether there would be traffic lights installed on Great Western Road, whether there would be a pedestrian crossing on Great Western Road, whether there would be batteries attached to the solar panels, further details about the updated energy strategy, questions about relocating modular housing in future to areas of need, and questions about traffic congestion on Great Western Road and London Road, construction traffic and parking provision as follows:


-       Traffic lights were not proposed on Great Western Road.

-       The energy strategy provided by the applicant suggested that they would provide houses with batteries with solar panels .

-       Questions about whether to provide a pedestrian crossing on Great Western Road had been discussed in depth when the application had previously gone before committee, it had been resolved then to approve the application without it.

-       The energy report provided by the applicant evidenced that they were aspirational in relation to their energy efficiency targets.

-       There was some complexity regarding the affordable housing situation. The developer contribution was secured (26 units in block D) in the heads of terms for the legal agreement. However, as this was lower than the City Council’s policy (20%), the legal agreement would oblige the applicant to look for public subsidies. This was why a housing association had been sourced by the applicant. Therefore, with the combined developer contribution and housing association, the total percentage of affordable units would be 35%.

-       In theory, modular units could potentially be relocated, however, this would require a separate planning application, and may not be straightforward due to ownership issues, etc.

-       The applicant had submitted a travel plan. The heads of terms for the legal agreement would secure payment to amend the traffic regulation order in relation to the controlled parking zone to address resident permit parking concerns.

-       The adopted City Plan allocated the site for 300 units. Whilst this was not planning permission, it indicated that 300 units was acceptable on that land. The low number of parking spaces was lower than what might have been submitted alongside an application for 315 dwellings.

-       There would be a construction management plan that would be subject to Highway Authority input and might specify a number of construction traffic entrances, given the existing accesses, if they were considered suitable for such traffic. Further, because the builds would be modular, there would be fewer construction movements overall to and from the site than a regular development. 


The Highways Officer responded to Members’ questions concerning the volume of traffic the application would create and whether cars would park on the road as follows:


-       The traffic generation from the site would be between 40-50 two-way movements at peak time per day, this was not substantial.

-       The application site was in a highly sustainable location. The bus station was about 500 metres away, there were numerous bus stops in the area, and the train station was a close walk away. Further, a high amount of bike storage would be provided. It was not uncommon for some city centre developments in the country to have no parking spaces provided.


The Chief Planning Lawyer responded to a Member’s question concerning whether modular properties could be moved as follows:


-       The was a full planning application for permanent development and  for the modular constructed properties to be moved a new planning application would have to be sought.


Members’ Debate


The Chair stated that he believed the application was positive and was content with the addition of affordable units.


Councillor Conder stated that she believed it was positive that modular construction would be used. She stated her belief that if the properties were properly insulated, this would perform well even without the proposed heat pumps.


Councillor Gravells stated that he had some reservations about the application, specifically in relation to where residents would park. He noted that he would contact the Hospital and ask why they did not raise an objection or support the application. He added that he hoped that the application would not block ambulances getting to and from the hospital.


The Chair moved and the Vice-Chair seconded the recommendation laid out in the report 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 of the February 2023 Committee Report and delegated Authority being given to the Planning Development Manager to negotiate the s106 terms to suit; and; the conditions outlined in the February 2023 Committee Report as amended in the February 2023 late material and as further amended in the current December 2023 late material.

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