The representative of the Head of Development Management made the following points during her presentation:
· Details of images and photos showing the site and proposed development were shown
· There was a lengthy planning history on the site, details of which were provided
· The site currently has parking spaces for 25 cars with 2 vehicular access points. The proposal would have one vehicular access and 6 car parking spaces to be used solely by management and maintenance staff
· A Premises Management Plan would operate on site which would allocate days on which students could move into and out of the development
· Details of the landscaping replanting scheme were set out but condition 28 needed to be amended in order to fully cover this issue
· The main concerns amongst objectors were the integrity of the retaining wall (that was primarily a civil issue to be resolved between the parties); daylight and sunlight and parking which would be limited by means of a tenancy agreement
· The scheme was designed so that noise would be kept away from sensitive boundaries
· Student housing is acceptable in policy terms in this part of the city
· No category A trees would be lost. 22 trees were proposed to replace those trees which would be lost on site
· Additional conditions were proposed for the development (as included in the amendment sheet)
· It was believed that the proposed location of the development would outweigh disadvantages.
In response to Councillors’ questions, officers made the following points:
· A hydrology structural report had examined the structural integrity of the walls in respect of concerns about the impact of water courses in the basement of neighbouring properties. This survey had assessed the wall and concluded that it was stable and not in imminent danger.
· There was a lot of information contained in the report on the maintenance of the wall and conditions.
· With the exception of a requirement for a Construction Management Plan, the wall was not a planning issue and therefore not within the remit of the Committee
Councillors made the following points:
· This site was an interesting and historic asset which had deteriorated and was the subject of a well-constructed plan by the applicant to bring it into use
· This was a good site for the development with minimal parking
· The plans to reinstate the gardens and encourage wildlife should be supported
· It was encouraging to see that after previous unsuccessful attempts there was a good proposal for the site
· This would be a big improvement on the current situation and was a good site for student accommodation
· A number of Councillors commented that they had initially had some concerns about the development but were reassured by the informal site visit. Whilst the distance of the pavilion block to residents was closer than ideal, this was acceptable
· It was noted that whilst most of the bins at the site were not adjacent to the wall, some at the Pavilion were. Since the applicant had agreed at the site visit to move these bins way from the wall, this should be included as a condition if the application was approved.
Councillor Richard Eddy moved, seconded by Mike Davies and, upon being put to the vote, it was
Resolved (unanimously with all present voting – 8 for): that the recommendations contained in the report be approved together with amendments to conditions set out in the amendment sheet, an amendment to condition 28 (Landscaping Scheme) and an additional condition to move the refuse store currently proposed next to the boundary wall.