Officers introduced this report and outlined the following key issues in relation to this application:
a. The application is for the development of 133 dwellings on the land comprising of 83 flats and 50 flats. The land is owned by the City Council. Proceeds from the sale of 80 units will fund the development of 53 new council properties.
b. The development is conditioned to support the wildlife corridor; to preserve and encourage wildlife; maintain the ecological buffer zone.
c. A number of trees are planned to be removed from the site but mitigation provides for an agreed number to be replacement together with a sum to be paid.
d. Further investigation was undertaken in relation to a large specimen that had veteran characteristics. Officers concluded that it was unclear whether it met all the criteria to be classed as a veteran tree. Consideration was given to redesigning the development to preserve the area but doing so would impact the number of units that could be delivered on the site.
e. The development is located near the metro bus route and for that reason an acoustic fence would be erected around the site.
f. Officers were seeking Committee approval of the scheme.
Officer’s responded to Councillor’s question as follows:
g. Trees: Officers confirmed the current figures were 211 out and 148 replacements with a payment of £9,182.52 in mitigation as outlined in the amendment sheet because of the shortfall.
h. That this would be revisited as the development moved forward.
i. Council Housing: The units that are to be sold to provide the funding for the development of council houses did mean that they would be in a set location. Officers had taken advice and acted upon direction given by landlord services.
j. Officers acknowledged that the current noise levels were based on the existing levels from the freight business(es) located nearby. That further consideration may need to be given to those dwellings backing on the railway line development area. Councillors sought assurance that action would be taken to future proof the dwellings on this development for noise impact so not to impede the future development of the railway line.
k. Councillors were concerned about the missed opportunity to link the development to the District Heating system (DHS). Officers advised that the DHS did not extend to this location.
l. The land in question was previously allotments, which was declared surplus through legal process in 2008.
m. Heating: Conditions have been included to support shared boiler schemes. Members were directed to Condition 17.
n. Councillors noted the possibility of football supporters walking from the park & ride using the estate as a short cut to the Stadium; Officers advised that preventing walking access to the estate was not possible.
o. Parking on the development had been calculated to minimise impact on the surrounding lanes.
The following was noted from the discussion that followed:
p. Cllr Stevens sought further clarification of the ecological buffer; queried the word ‘corridor’ ; advised that the word should read ‘corridors’; expressed his disappointment at the loss of trees.
q. Cllr Mead saw the efforts made to preserve the hedgerow and other related wildlife provision positively; noted the lack of a play area; noted that the density percentage could have been better.
r. Cllr Wright commented on the loss opportunity to link the development to the District Heating scheme; noted that the density was only 3% above required minimum; believed that the City Council as landowner could have been done more; minded to abstain.
s. Cllr Sergeant expressed her disappointment over the segregation of Council Housing from the private housing on the development.
t. Cllr Davies supported the development acknowledging that the private houses had to be built and sold to allow for the building of the Council Housing.
It was moved by Cllr Olly Mead, seconded by Cllr Tom Brook and upon being put to the vote, the Officer recommendation for approval it was;
RESOLVED: that (7 for, 0 against, 2 abstentions) that the application with amendments be agreed with a slight change to the wording at Condition 20 adding the letter ‘s’ to the word ‘corridor’ so it now reads ‘Landscaping of ecology corridors’.