Councillor Carey stood down for this application. Councillor Windows noted that he knew the agent of the application and therefore chose to stand down. This left 9 Committee members to vote on this item.
An Amendment Sheet was provided to the Committee in advance of the meeting, detailing changes since the publication of the original report.
The representative of the Head of Development Management made the following points by way of introduction:-
1. This application was referred to the Committee by both local ward Councillors – Carey and Langley and was also before the Committee due to level of public interest for the proposal and concerns expressed regarding the developer and their past issues;
2. The application was to demolish the former St John Hall and garage building and replace it with 8 single dwelling houses with the front pedestrianised and a communal cycle store;
3. The proposal had initially attracted 29 objections then on revision, 16 objections concerning overlooking, noise and parking;
4. Key issues concerned loss of community facility as the building was in a poor state, overshadowing of properties in Manworthy Road, City Reach and the Brislington and St Annes Conservative Club, a loss of privacy to properties in Manworthy Road and intensity of development;
5. There were no design objections. Eight units did comply with policy in terms of efficient use of land and this proposal was less intensive than the outline permission granted in 2009;
6. Transport colleagues were content subject to a TRO on the junction to improve visibility;
7. In Summary, officers recommended approval subject to conditions and a TRO.
The following points arose from debate:-
1. Councillor Davies asked whether an enforcement monitoring inspections could be undertaken as an exception in this case and was informed that the applicant was not material to decision making though this was a case when it would be prudent to closely watch the site being built;
2. Transport colleagues were content that emergency vehicles could access the lane. A standard vehicle was used to assess this. Approved vehicles would have to be arranged for private waste collection;
3. Councillor Stevens noted that this proposal did not meet the policy of mixed housing and asked how approval was justified when flats were not proposed. In response, he was informed that policy also included more housing and officers’ focus had been on smaller units that impacted less on the residential area and the nature of the immediate area was family houses;
4. Councillor Wright felt it was a reasonable proposal for family housing and not over developed so he would vote in support of the officer recommendation;
5. Councillor Breckels stated there was a need for more housing and would support the officer recommendation. He hoped enforcement officers would monitor the site;
6. Councillor Brook stated that it was sad to lose a community building but it was old and more housing was needed. He would support the officer recommendation;
7. Councillor Mead moved the officer recommendation and it was seconded by Councillor Davies. It was therefore:-
RESOLVED (unanimously) - That planning permission be granted subject to conditions as set out in the report.