The representative of the Head of Development Management made the following points by way of introduction:
a. The application is for the creation of containerised self-storage facility with ancillary office, with altered access and associated car parking. The application had been revised following comments made by the Local Planning Authority.
b. Plans with photos and 3-D imagery of the proposed development was shown allowing committee to view the boundary wall, formation of the stacked containers and impact on neighbouring properties.
c. Following local consultation concerns were raised over noise from the site and increase traffic flow along local residential roads into the site.
d. The previous consent granted for the site, was for office and associated warehousing.
e. The self-storage would run along the lines of similar business in that users must sign a contract to use the site, agreeing to the terms & conditions for use; in addition users would be requested to confirm that the containers would not be used to store any hazardous combustible material or substances and/or explosives substances.
f. Officers were recommending approval as the current application was similar in nature to the previous permission granted.
Members questions for Clarification
g. Concerns were raised about lighting the facility at night and the nuisance this could cause residents. Officers advised that the scheme could not commence until a report detailing the lighting scheme and predicted illuminance levels at neighbouring residential properties had been submitted and approved.
h. Members asked whether the types of vehicles entering the site could be conditioned and were advised that this was not possible.
i. Concerns were raised about the impact on residents during the construction period and Officers provided reassurance that such matters would be outlined in the Management Plan required by a condition.
j. Questions arose relating to the previous application that was granted and Members sought to know the reason why it was not implemented.
k. Concerns was raised over the public realm and amenity and many saw no benefit of the application to local residents wondering if any alternative was possible.
l. Officers advised that the previous application was a material consideration for determining the current application. The previous application was granted in 2011 for the site to be used as offices and commercial storage. The site has remained vacant following a fire in March 2013.
m. Chair reminded members that the applicants is seeking to use the site for storage that is similar to previous warehousing application granted and were unable to consider any alternatives as that was not before committee for consideration.
n. Officers confirmed that no developer, to date, have submitted a housing scheme for the site and no application for use had been refused.
o. Cllr Carey: noted that the site had been sold for a specific purpose and that the applicants were within their rights to make this application.
p. Cllr M Davies: Commented that there was a rise in the number of self-storage units across the City and that he believed that housing could be built onchallenging sites; did not consider the proposal good therefore would be voting against.
q. Cllr Hickman: noted that there were no plausible planning grounds on which to refuse the application but viewed the development as one that would affect local residents.
r. Cllr Wright: Noted that such proposals often caused opposition about perceived nuisances but following his experience of such a site in his locality, such concerns were unnecessary because following construction they go unnoticed. The site in question is located under the M5 motorway bridge and also power cable therefore not suitable for family housing. Many dwellings are too small to house family items, this has given rise to the need for storage facilities. Minded to vote for.
s. Cllr Breckels: expressed concern about the impact of metal containers on residents; security lights switching on and off; the possibility of 24hr access; aware that existing permission granted for industrial use but considered the business would have a negative impact on existing residents; unable to support because of the loss of amenity to local residents.
t. Cllr Eddy: viewed the application as impacting resident’s amenity and would be voting against.
u. Cllr Clarke: noted all comments but was aware that the site had been empty since 2013; not suitable for housing for a number of valid reasons; there were no grounds on which an appeal could be defended; minded to vote for approval.
v. Cllr Mead: shared his concerns that a refusal would not stand up in an appeal; sympathetic to local residents right to pleasant amenity; and to the loss of wildlife species on site;
w. Chair: Reminded committee that the land had been considered appropriate for Warehousing by the previous decision and if it was not for that there would be room to manoeuvre; would like to vote for refusal but aware that the decision would be reversed on appeal.
x. Officers confirmed that the objection from Sports England who had concerns about the neighbouring sports field boundary, was not strong enough on its own merit to support refusal.
y. Members discussed a number of conditions that they hoped could be imposed to assist residents with light and noise nuisance but officers advised that none could be conditioned.
z. Cllr M Davies proposed granting subject to conditions outlined in the report, seconded by Cllr Mead.
aa. On being put to the vote
Resolved ( 7 for and 4 against) that the application be granted subject to conditions detailed in the report.