Councillor Davies stood down. This left 10 Committee members to vote on this item.
The representative of the Head of Development Management made the following points by way of introduction:-
1. The application was for a four-storey block of 37 residential apartments alongside car parking, refuse storage and amenity space to the rear;
2. 7 of the 37 apartments would be affordable thus meeting the Council’s 20% affordable housing requirement;
3. The Planning Authority supported the principle of redevelopment for housing but had a number of issues with this application hence the recommendation to refuse;
4. 38% (14 of 37) of the apartments were single aspect and north facing and would not get sunlight most of the day. This was in excess of what officers could support. Policy DM29 applies. The applicant was advised to reconfigure but chose not to do so;
2. Air quality was a serious issue in the area which suffered high concentrations of pollution given its proximity to the M32 and the development would create a street canyon which would exacerbate pollution along Lower Ashley Road;
3. The development would have a harmful overshadowing impact on the neighbouring residential property above the ground floor takeaway. A shadow analysis undertaken showed that at times of this year this would be worse;
4. The development was poorly designed and over intensive by virtue of its height, bulk, massing and overall design;
5. Two trees on site were a rare species and provided sufficient amenity to warrant a TPO in view of the Tree Officer;
6. In summary, the provision of affordable housing was supported but for the reasons above officers recommended refusal.
The following points arose from debate:-
1. Officers had suggested some solutions to the applicant but the applicant had not wished to pursue these;
2. The Head of Development Management stated that it had been recommended for refusal on affordable housing grounds also even though it met the 20% requirement on type and level in order to protect the Council’s position on this matter at appeal. The Inspector would need to know the full case and the applicant could subsequently state that no affordable housing was offered. That reason for refusal would go away if the applicant confirmed the provision of affordable housing at the appeal stage;
3. The resident and takeaway owner had not objected but there was some doubt if they were occupying the premises at the moment;
4. A well designed, high quality development could have mitigated against the loss of the trees. This scheme did not. It was a balanced position;
5. It was confirmed that there was scope for a higher quality scheme whilst retaining the trees;
6. Councillor Breckels disagreed with the officer recommendation as he had seen far less well-designed schemes and the whole row of buildings on that road were north facing. He added that he would vote for grant subject to not all the affordable units being located at the rear of the development. The Head of Development Management responded that the issue was both north facing and single aspect that officers concluded was not acceptable. There were options for significant improvement;
7. Councillor Wright felt that the impact on amenity was the more important issue. The proposal should be scaled down so that the neighbouring properties were not permanently in shade and the two trees saved. He would vote for the officer recommendation to refuse;
8. Councillor Stevens would vote for the officer recommendation to refuse for the over intensity of the proposal and for the loss of the trees;
9. Councillor Clarke was less concerned with the over intensity but was for the loss of the trees though noted that they could be mitigated off site. He would therefore vote against the officer recommendation to refuse;
10. Councillor Windows would vote against the officer recommendation to refuse;
11. Councillor Wright moved the officer recommendation to refuse for the reasons set out in the report and this was seconded by Councillor Breckels. On being put to the vote it was :-
RESOLVED (4 for, 3 against and 3 abstentions) – That the application be refused for the following reasons:-
1. Theproposeddevelopmentby virtueofthescale,bulk,form,massing,siting,layout,design andoveralloverintensive formofdevelopmentincloseproximity to existingneighbouring property No.15LowerAshely Roadwill resultinharm toneighbouringresidentialamenity by meansofoverbearingandovershadowing.Theapplicationisthereforeconsideredcontrary to PolicyBCS21of theBristolDevelopmentFrameworkCoreStrategy(2011),Policies DM27andDM29of the SiteAllocationsandDevelopmentManagementPolicies(2014)as well as guidancecontained within the NPPF (2012).
2. Theproposeddevelopmentas awholeisconsideredtorepresenta poorlydesignedand detrimentally overintensiveformofdevelopmentby virtueof thecreationof sub-standard livingaccommodation forfutureoccupantsgiventhesignificantproportionof singleaspect northfacingunits,offeringpooroutlookandinsufficientlevelsofnaturaldaylight/sunlight andcrossventilationas wellthelackofan activegroundfloorfrontagewhichisharmfulto the appearanceofthedevelopment,theoverall streetsceneas well asnaturalsurveillance levels.Theapplicationisthereforeconsidered contrarytoPoliciesBCS18,BCS20and BCS21 oftheBristolDevelopmentFrameworkCoreStrategy (2011),PoliciesDM26,DM27 and DM29 ofthe Site Allocations and DevelopmentManagementPolicies (2014)as wellas guidancecontained within the NPPF (2012).
3. Thedevelopmentwouldresultinthelossoftwolocallyimportant,prominentandmature Category Btrees(paulowniatomentosa)whichduetotheirun-commonnature,appearance andpositioncontributepositivelytowardsthecharacterandappearanceoftheareaand holdhighvisualamenity value.Insufficient mitigation(eitheronsite replacementplantingor financialcontribution) in accordancewith theBristolTree ReplacementStandardhasbeen agreedto justifyand/ormitigate the lossofthisexistingimportant greeninfrastructure. The developmentisthereforecontrary to PoliciesBCS9,BCS11andBCS21of theBristol DevelopmentFrameworkCoreStrategy(2011),PoliciesDM15,DM17,DM26,DM27and DM29of the SiteAllocationsandDevelopmentManagementPolicies (2014)aswellas guidance contained within the NPPF (2012) and within the Planning Obligations SP (Adopted2012).
4. Intheabsenceofan appropriateagreementunders106oftheTownandCountryPlanning Act1990,theproposed developmentfailstoprovisionadequateaffordablehousingtomeet the citywideneedforaffordablehousing,contrary to PoliciesBCS11andBCS17of the BristolCoreStrategy (2011), thePlanningObligationsSPD (Adopted2012)and guidance within the NPPF.