Agenda item

Planning Applications Number 18/01374/F and 18/01375/LA - Mortimer House Nursing Home, Clifton Down Road, Bristol BS8 4AE

Minutes:

The Chair took the opportunity to thank the applicant and neighbours for their co-operation during the Committee’s site visit.

 

The representative of the Head of Development Management made the following points by way of introduction:-

 

1. Mortimer House was a Grade II listed building located in the Clifton Conservation Area;

2. The application sought permission for landscaping and the conversion of the front garden to its original layout with car parking facilities to the rear accessed through a side wall controlled by a gate;

3. In 2016 planning permission was given for a change of use of the care home to an office with six car parking spaces to the front;

4. This application was referred to Committee by Councillor O’Rourke;

5. In January 2018 DC B Committee voted against the officer recommendation to grant and refused planning permission for landscaping and a car park to the rear of the building and for Listed Building consent for the harm it would cause to the historic appearance of the Listed Building and the level of car parking was unjustified given the highly sustainable location of the building;

6. The revised application before the Committee sought to address the reasons for refusal by reducing the level of car parking to eight spaces and adding two additional areas of planting at the eastern end of the garden;

7. This application attracted 30 objections, 7 in support of the scheme and a 98-signature petition objecting to the scheme;

8. The reinstatement of the historic landscaped frontage was supported by English Heritage and the Council’s Conservation Officer;

9. The transport arrangements were acceptable to Transport Officers and it was noted that the level of car parking was less than the maximum quantum allowed under the Parking Standards Schedule and that there was sufficient visibility for access. The Tree Officer was satisfied with the proposal noting that 9 trees would be planted to mitigate the loss of the Cherry tree, which was in excess of the agreed standard;

10. In summary, Officers recommended the application for approval subject to conditions.

 

The following points arose from questions and debate:-

 

1. It was confirmed that there would be no commercial use vehicles as this was purely an office. Deliveries of office supplies would use the drop off point at the front of the building. This was clearly set out on the site plan so would be enforceable without conditioning. It was emphasised that there would be no parking at the front at any time;

2. With respect to noise concerns from the rear of the site, Pollution Control officers were satisfied that there was not a significant impact on air quality, noise or vibration given the level of parking;

3. It was noted that in April 2018 the applicant submitted an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate against the January decision. Officers did not know whether this appeal would be withdrawn if the current application was granted;

4. Officers considered the use viable as there was already a change of use consent in place. The front of the historical landscape would be retained and this benefited a Conservation Area;

5. Vehicle movements would be in line with office hours ie. 8/9am to 5/5.30pm. It was estimated there would be 16 car movements per day. It was possible to condition so that there were no car movements at night;

6. Councillor Mead asked why the rear was considered more acceptable than the front for car parking when it meant the loss of the garden and was informed that Clifton Down Road was a prominent location in the Conservation Area and the rear had already lost much of its heritage value with the loss of the garden house and the construction of the new buildings to the south and was therefore considered less important than the frontage;

7. It was confirmed that 8 car parking spaces only would be secured through landscape conditions which were enforceable if breached;

8. It was not possible to condition the type of vehicles using the car park as this was unenforceable;

9. Councillor Stevens believed the key issue was whether the improvements to the Historic Asset to the front outweighed the loss to the Historic Asset at the rear and was that improvement better than the loss of amenity to residents. He noted that the frontage would not be visible from the street as there would be large trees in the way and therefore the value of that Heritage Asset was not as high as it could be;

10. The Chair stated that he had considered the application carefully and believed it to be a positive use of a Heritage Asset and enhanced the Conservation Area. It was crucial that care homes were properly resourced and this use was therefore welcomed. He understood the concerns of residents but stated that the reduction in the amount of parking and a condition to prevent overnight parking should reassure them. He was minded to support the application;

11. Councillor Hance was concerned that this application was for an additional 2 car parking spaces to the consent from 2016 and was not sure whether this was worth the distress to residents. She was also concerned that that the impacts of noise and vibration had not been properly assessed and was minded to vote against officer recommendation;

12. Councillor Sergeant was concerned that the impacts of traffic and pollution had not been properly assessed and was not convinced enforcement would work;

13. Councillor Bradley believed there was harm to the front and back and was not impressed with the design. It was too close to residents and she would not support the officer recommendation;

14. Councillor Mead supported the business aims of the applicant and felt the improved access to the rear was a positive change but questioned the proposals to the frontage. He was undecided how to vote;

15. Councillor Davies believed that the applicant had addressed the reasons for the previous refusal. He acknowledged that the proposals were not ideal but were a substantial heritage gain and he would support the officer recommendation;

16. Councillor Brook believed the revised frontage was an improvement but there was still harm to the building and the amenity of neighbours from noise and traffic pollution. He was not convinced that the gain at the front outweighed the loss at the rear. He preferred the car park at the front as per the original consent and would vote against the officer recommendation;

17. Councillor Clough supported the reduction in car parking spaces and the improved accessibility for disabled users at the rear car park. She questioned whether the Heritage Asset at the rear should be preserved if the damage had been done by previous development;

18. Regarding a condition to limit the car park use, the Committee was advised this could be between the hours of 8.30am and 6.30pm;

19. The Chair moved the officer recommendation and an additional condition regarding hours of use for the car park and this was seconded by Councillor Davies. On being put to the vote it was lost 4 for, 6 against;

20. Discussion ensued regarding the appropriate wording for a refusal motion. Members referenced the loss of the rear garden not outweighing the restoration of the heritage asset of the front garden, a loss of visual and residential amenity, an unjustified level of car parking given the sustainable location and the relevant planning policies for these reasons. These reasons were moved by Councillor Stevens and seconded by Councillor Bradley. On being put to the vote it was:-

 

 

Resolved (7 for, 3 against) – That planning permission be refused for the following reasons:-

 

1.    The proposed car park to the rear of Mortimer House would cause unacceptable harm to historic appearance of the rear of the Listed Building through a loss of visual and residential amenity and the garden’s verdant character. The loss of the rear garden to car parking, and the potential affects upon air and noise pollution this would have, is not outweighed by the benefits to this heritage asset resulting from the restoration of the front garden. As such, the proposed development would be contrary to the section 66(1) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, the National Planning Policy Framework, Bristol Core Strategy Policies BCS21 (Quality Urban Design), BCS22 (Conservation and the Historic Environment) and BCS23 (Pollution), and Policies DM26 (Local Character & Distinctiveness), DM31 (Heritage Assets) and DM33 (Pollution Control, Air Quality and Water Quality) of the Site Allocations and Development Management Policies.

 

2.    The proposed level of car parking is unjustified given the highly sustainable location of Mortimer House, and the proposed development would encourage car use to the contrary to the transport user priorities set out within Bristol Core Strategy Policy BCS10 (Transport and Access Improvements).

 

The Chair took the opportunity to thank the applicant and neighbours for their co-operation during the Committee’s site visit.

 

The representative of the Head of Development Management made the following points by way of introduction:-

 

1. Mortimer House was a Grade II listed building located in the Clifton Conservation Area;

2. The application sought permission for landscaping and the conversion of the front garden to its original layout with car parking facilities to the rear accessed through a side wall controlled by a gate;

3. In 2016 planning permission was given for a change of use of the care home to an office with six car parking spaces to the front;

4. This application was referred to Committee by Councillor O’Rourke;

5. In January 2018 DC B Committee voted against the officer recommendation to grant and refused planning permission for landscaping and a car park to the rear of the building and for Listed Building consent for the harm it would cause to the historic appearance of the Listed Building and the level of car parking was unjustified given the highly sustainable location of the building;

6. The revised application before the Committee sought to address the reasons for refusal by reducing the level of car parking to eight spaces and adding two additional areas of planting at the eastern end of the garden;

7. This application attracted 30 objections, 7 in support of the scheme and a 98-signature petition objecting to the scheme;

8. The reinstatement of the historic landscaped frontage was supported by English Heritage and the Council’s Conservation Officer;

9. The transport arrangements were acceptable to Transport Officers and it was noted that the level of car parking was less than the maximum quantum allowed under the Parking Standards Schedule and that there was sufficient visibility for access. The Tree Officer was satisfied with the proposal noting that 9 trees would be planted to mitigate the loss of the Cherry tree, which was in excess of the agreed standard;

10. In summary, Officers recommended the application for approval subject to conditions.

 

The following points arose from questions and debate:-

 

1. It was confirmed that there would be no commercial use vehicles as this was purely an office. Deliveries of office supplies would use the drop off point at the front of the building. This was clearly set out on the site plan so would be enforceable without conditioning. It was emphasised that there would be no parking at the front at any time;

2. With respect to noise concerns from the rear of the site, Pollution Control officers were satisfied that there was not a significant impact on air quality, noise or vibration given the level of parking;

3. It was noted that in April 2018 the applicant submitted an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate against the January decision. Officers did not know whether this appeal would be withdrawn if the current application was granted;

4. Officers considered the use viable as there was already a change of use consent in place. The front of the historical landscape would be retained and this benefited a Conservation Area;

5. Vehicle movements would be in line with office hours ie. 8/9am to 5/5.30pm. It was estimated there would be 16 car movements per day. It was possible to condition so that there were no car movements at night;

6. Councillor Mead asked why the rear was considered more acceptable than the front for car parking when it meant the loss of the garden and was informed that Clifton Down Road was a prominent location in the Conservation Area and the rear had already lost much of its heritage value with the loss of the garden house and the construction of the new buildings to the south and was therefore considered less important than the frontage;

7. It was confirmed that 8 car parking spaces only would be secured through landscape conditions which were enforceable if breached;

8. It was not possible to condition the type of vehicles using the car park as this was unenforceable;

9. Councillor Stevens believed the key issue was whether the improvements to the Historic Asset to the front outweighed the loss to the Historic Asset at the rear and was that improvement better than the loss of amenity to residents. He noted that the frontage was not visible from the street as there was a large tree in the way and therefore the value of that Heritage Asset was not as high as it could be;

10. The Chair stated that he had considered the application carefully and believed it to be a positive use of a Heritage Asset and enhanced the Conservation Area. It was crucial that care homes were properly resourced and this use was therefore welcomed. He understood the concerns of residents but stated that the reduction in the amount of parking and a condition to prevent overnight parking should reassure them. He was minded to support the application;

11. Councillor Hance was concerned that this application was for an additional 2 car parking spaces to the consent from 2016 and was not sure whether this was worth the distress to residents. She was also concerned that that the impacts of noise and vibration had not been properly assessed and was minded to vote against officer recommendation;

12. Councillor Sergeant was concerned that the impacts of traffic and pollution had not been properly assessed and was not convinced enforcement would work;

13. Councillor Bradley believed there was harm to the front and back and was not impressed with the design. It was too close to residents and she would not support the officer recommendation;

14. Councillor Mead supported the business aims of the applicant and felt the improved access to the rear was a positive change but questioned the proposals to the frontage. He was undecided how to vote;

15. Councillor Davies believed that the applicant had addressed the reasons for the previous refusal. He acknowledged that the proposals were not ideal but were a substantial heritage gain and he would support the officer recommendation;

16. Councillor Brook believed the revised frontage was an improvement but there was still harm to the building and the amenity of neighbours from noise and traffic pollution. He was not convinced that the gain at the front outweighed the loss at the rear. He preferred the car park at the front as per the original consent and would vote against the officer recommendation;

17. Councillor Clough supported the reduction in car parking spaces and the improved accessibility for disabled users at the rear car park. She questioned whether the Heritage Asset at the rear should be preserved if the damage had been done by previous development;

18. Regarding a condition to limit the car park use, the Committee was advised this could be between the hours of 8.30am and 6.30pm;

19. The Chair moved the officer recommendation and an additional condition regarding hours of use for the car park and this was seconded by Councillor Davies. On being put to the vote it was lost 4 for, 6 against;

20. Discussion ensued regarding the appropriate wording for a refusal motion. Members referenced the loss of the rear garden not outweighing the restoration of the heritage asset of the front garden, a loss of visual and residential amenity, an unjustified level of car parking given the sustainable location and the relevant planning policies for these reasons. These reasons were moved by Councillor Stevens and seconded by Councillor Bradley. On being put to the vote it was:-

 

 

Resolved (7 for, 3 against) – That planning permission be refused for the following reasons:-

 

1.    The proposed car park to the rear of Mortimer House would cause unacceptable harm to historic appearance of the rear of the Listed Building through a loss of visual and residential amenity and the garden’s verdant character. The loss of the rear garden to car parking, and the potential affects upon air and noise pollution this would have, is not outweighed by the benefits to this heritage asset resulting from the restoration of the front garden. As such, the proposed development would be contrary to the section 66(1) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, the National Planning Policy Framework, Bristol Core Strategy Policies BCS21 (Quality Urban Design), BCS22 (Conservation and the Historic Environment) and BCS23 (Pollution), and Policies DM26 (Local Character & Distinctiveness), DM31 (Heritage Assets) and DM33 (Pollution Control, Air Quality and Water Quality) of the Site Allocations and Development Management Policies.

 

2.    The proposed level of car parking is unjustified given the highly sustainable location of Mortimer House, and the proposed development would encourage car use to the contrary to the transport user priorities set out within Bristol Core Strategy Policy BCS10 (Transport and Access Improvements).

 

 

Supporting documents: