Prior to the commencement of public forum Cllr Clive Stevens stepped down from Committee in order to present his statement in opposition.
The representative of the Head of Development Management made the following points by way of introduction:
a. The application had been deferred from 17th October 2018 committee and Officers were recommending that the application is granted subject to conditions.
b. Committee were reminded of the proposal details and were shown the site photographs and plans
c. The revised report addressed the issue of; the space requirements for the development; provides an extend view on the land stability in line with policy
d. The previous application was granted in 2014 subject to conditions
e. The Local Planning Authority instructed a specialist engineering geologist consultant (Arup) to review the information submitted by the developer. They found that the developers had addressed the risk relating to land instability.
f. Drainage issue: it is proposed to construct a new drain between the properties within its design using specialist mesh to prevent blockage from leaf fall.
g. Rock fall: the development included a concrete roof in mitigation
h. Emergency vehicle access: Committee raised concerns about how an emergency vehicle, fire engine, would access the site along a narrow road, further restricted by park cars.
i. Highways service sent a case officer to visit the road and consider whether it met the standards outlined in the Manual for Streets Guidance on the key requirements for the fire service access.
j. The Officer considered the 3.7m kerb to kerb; the allowable reduction to 2.m for an appliance to reach a dwelling; fire pump appliance within 45m of single houses.
k. The findings are detailed in full in the report that the road met the requirements but that the road was impacted by the vehicles parked along it. Removing on street parking along Belgrave Hill under a Traffic Regulation Order(TRO) to provide double yellow lines would resolve the issue. This would allow unimpeded access to the site by Emergency vehicles but would result in the loss of approximately 9 -parking spaces; the Resident Parking Zones would need to be re-evaluated as part of the process.
Member questions for Clarification
l. Clarification was sought on the issue of the TRO and impact on parking spaces; Officers were unable to state with certainty the exact numbers of spaces that would be lost; neither could they say that the RPZ would be implemented because it must be agreed by those living along Belgrave road.
m. Officers advised that as Members raised the issue of the access to the development for emergency vehicles, if they were not satisfied that guidance had been met it would be reasonable grounds to refuse the application. Advised that the impact of the re-evaluation of the RPZ could be considered by members. The planning inspectorate accept that any mitigation by the developer would have to be done in partnership with the Council.
n. When asked whether the Fire Service could have access if the application was granted, Officers confirmed that they would as the development fell within the within 45 – 90 m requirement.
o. Members also queried the size of the dwelling and the policy on space standards and how the previous application was granted with such small rooms. The previous design was based on Bristol Space Standards Practice Note(2011) and met those requirements. In 2015 national space standards changed increasing the requirement from the Council’s minimum of 57-67 to 70(sqm).
p. Members queried how the building would be situated in relation to the quarry rock face and the flow of rain water and sewage. The proposal was to shear up the rock face; the design included a gap between the rear of the building and the rock face; a buttress effect would be included in the construction to connect the building to the rock face at certain points; new drainage and sewage pipes would be linked to existing; Wessex water had agreed to take responsibility for repair.
q. Members asked whether the construction over looked and/or over shadowed existing buildings. Officers advised that the design incorporated the need to avoid overlooking. The proposed window design incorporated slot windows and the proposal incorporated a good standard of amenity to avoid overlooking.
r. Gary Collins advised members that they should give the previous application that was granted some weight as it had be granted within recent times.
s. Cllr Eddy: accepted the work proposed to mitigate the instability of the rock wall but considered the following; the development triggering a RPZ review leading to a possible loss of parking; the design space standards below national guidelines; negative impact so would vote against.
t. Cllr M Davies: Noted that since the granting of permission for this site in 2014 there had been a changed to minimum space standards that avoids development of small living spaces; concerns around the potential of the re-evaluation of the RPZ to accommodate the need for emergency vehicle access; views these two issues as a strong defendable case to consider refusing the application.
u. Cllr Breckels: Considered the site to be ‘unique’; that with the two issues of the need for access for emergency vehicles with the potential loss of parking spaces; the unique aspects of the quarry site that if developed will be lost to Bristol; therefore would be voting against.
v. Cllr Mead: Reminded all that since permission was granted in 2014 the City had introduced RPZ and the revision upwards of the space standards has impacted how the development must be viewed; the initial attempt to build was abandoned for various reasons; would not be supporting the application because of these issues.
w. Cllr Hickman: Shared her concern about the space standards, minimum that is proposed in the application particularly concerns on the impact this would have on residents maintaining good mental wellbeing and overall quality of life.
x. Cllr Clarke: Appreciated that there is a need for housing but considered this development did not work on many levels when considering it against the changes in guidelines since the plans were first drawn.
y. Gary Collins: Committee were reminded of the likely grounds that would be considered by the planning inspectorate on hearing an application of appeal against refusal. That the revisions of the national space standards would probably be considered valid grounds for refusal but the issue around the possibly impact of TRO could not be considered as it does not exist.
z. Chair reminded committee to note the advice given by the Officer that is to limit the grounds for refusal to a single issue.
aa. Cllr Eddy proposed that Committee refuse the application on the grounds of the application to meet the national space standards and the loss of on-street parking. Seconded by Cllr M Davies.
bb. When put to the vote
Resolved: (8 for refusal and 2 against) that the application be refused on the grounds of the application failing to meet the national space standards; That the application would result in the loss of on-street parking.