The representative of the Head of Development Management made the following points by Way of introduction:
a. The details of the application site were outlined
b. The proposed layout was shown
c. The development proposed to deliver 196 residential units; 176 units in the main residential building; the remaining 20 units above the proposed sports building; the affordable housing provision would be situated above the sports building and at lower levels in the main building (19 units).
d. The development site is bound to the north by the Double Tree Hilton Hotel complex; Magdalena Court, a 3 and 4 storey residential building; to the east Proctor House, a 10 storey residential block; to the west the 4 storey Corinthian Court residential development; Broughton House a 13 storey resident block to the south.
e. The site is considered suitable for development but the proposed scheme is not acceptable.
f. The concerns were raised following public consultation, fully detailed in the report, summarised as follows:
i. The design is bulky and wrong in context and approach for the site
ii. Viewed as overbearing because of the proposed height and density of the development
iii. The heritage impact of the development on St Mary Redcliffe Church
iv. Concerns that the BRE Guidelines on daylight and natural light are not met in many of the units
g. The impact of the BRE guidelines on the development were shared via visuals with the committee
h. Committee were referred to the supplementary document produced by the planning officer, that was shared with Committee on 23rd November and published for public scrutiny, that assessed the scheme against the Urban Living SPD which was adopted on 7th November 2018.
i. Committee were advised that planning officers attempted to resolve issues with the applicants but they failed to engage to resolve the issues. The applicants instructed officers that they required the application to be determined by Committee on its merits.
j. Committee were advised to refuse the application as it undermines the SPD; poor design, failure to consider surrounding buildings; the negative impact on St Mary Redcliffe Church; the design was viewed as oppressive and overbearing.
Questions for Clarification
k. Proposed sports centre: Members asked about who would run the centre; what noise assessment had been made: Officers advised that as refusal was the primary position the details around the sports centre had yet to be worked through.
l. Member commented that if the BRE guidelines were applied to previous developments a number of buildings would not have been constructed. Officers commented that they had worked with current guidelines and had clearly demonstrated the impact on neighbouring buildings to committee both in the report and the visual shared during the presentation.
m. Questions were asked on the Urban Living SPD: Officers confirmed that they were obligated to have due regard to current policy; the SPD was a key material consideration from the date of adoption (7th November); the application must be compared against the SDP; it is not possible to say without doubt that a decision made by committee is appeal proof; the SDP provided good grounds for the officer recommendation.
n. Question was asked as to whether the developers were given the opportunity to respond to the analysis made against SPD. Officers explained that the applicants had not been given a specific opportunity in the run-up to the Committee meeting but had previously been given the opportunity to defer the application to another meeting in order for a wider discussion on the SPD analysis but insisted that it continued to be considered at this meeting.
o. Officers confirmed that the building design reflected the standard national requirement in respect of accessibility.
p. Affordable Housing: this would be located above the sports centre, together, and on the lower floors of the main building to allow for the Housing Association to manage the scheme; unlikely that it could be conditioned to mix the affordable housing across the development as this did not fit the ask from social housing landlords; the location of the affordable housing is one of the many issues that could have been explored further with the applicant; similar position with the management/operation of the sports hall.
q. The Tree replacement scheme was another item not progressed because of Officers recommendation to refuse.
r. Basketball Court: Officers shared that they received a mixed response from the public consultation. A number reported that it was a site of anti-social behaviour; the police say there had been no recent reported incidents; not known if this is because residents have failed to continue to report due to apathy; the court is well used by children from the local secondary school;
s. St Mary Redcliffe Church – Heritage Asset; discussion on how great a weight should be applied to the loss of view from the Bath Road; if less than substantial harm how much weight should be given when making a determination on the development; comments were made that there were other available views to the asset.
t. CCTV: the options relating to the inclusion of CCTV cameras on the development was another issue that would need to be progressed if members were minded to support the development. This could be included in any s106 negotiations.
u. Cllr Eddy: noted the difficult location; the comments related to the heritage asset; that the area was in need of development; that it would enhance the site; the sports centre would be of benefit; that the development would assist in addressing the housing crisis. Minded to support the application.
v. Cllr Hickman: pleased that the area would be developed but shocked by the proposed visual impact of the building and the related impact on daylight and natural light into surrounding buildings; although known as a deprived area what was needed is a development with greater imagination; if what was proposed was lower with less negative impact it would be more acceptable and was minded to support officers recommendation to refuse.
w. Cllr M Davies: the design is for a big and overbearing development; it would go towards satisfying the need for much needed housing; a number of issues are unresolved including whether the basketball court should be retained; considered that the matter should be deferred to allow for the unresolved issues to be worked through and then brought back to committee.
x. Cllr Windows: a number of conflicting issues had arisen from the scheme; there was a need for housing and affordable housing but did it outweigh the issues raised by the officers in the report; is there substantial harm to the heritage asset not so sure as this depends on where you stand to view the asset. Minded to vote against Officers advice.
y. Cllr S Clarke: Having read the analysis of the development in line with the SPD minded to agree with officers advice.
z. Cllr Breckels: viewed the benefits and challenges of the development; noted the impact of the tall building on surrounding buildings; the site needed development but he was not impressed with the impact of the proposal on neighbouring properties and the location of social housing in the scheme.
aa. Cllr Mead: Referenced the SPD and guidance in respect to weighting given to heritage assets; would it be appropriate to add another ugly building to the area to satisfy the housing crisis; the design gave no consideration to the accessibility needs of the disabled and the future needs of an aging population; the design of the building is overbearing; agreed that future discussion needed on the retention of the basketball court; minded to agree with officers recommendation to refuse.
bb. Cllr Clough: reminded all that such a development had the potential to have a negative impact on the mental wellbeing of tenants; the development should be accessible for all and the minimum space standard given failed to do this; minded to agree with Officers recommendation to refuse.
cc. Cllr Stevens: shared that he failed to see the relevance of the view of St Mary Redcliffe Church from Bath Road; noted and accepted the guidance daylight/natural light into the development and impact on surrounding properties; would give the matter further thought before voting.
dd. Chair: took the view that there was no justification for a development that was second rate; the area required a development of quality and what was proposed was not.
ee. Cllr Mead proposed that Committee accepted officers reasons for refusal, seconded by Cllr Clough.
Resolved: (7 for refusal and 3 against refusal) that the application be refused on the grounds set out in the officers report.