Cllr Mark Wright as local resident removed himself from committee; Cllr Shah emergency substitution for Cllr Goggin who was taken ill, arrived after the commencement of public forum therefore unable to take part in debate and the decision.
The Head of Development Management and his representative gave a presentation and summarised the report for this item including the following:
a. Major application for the redevelopment of the site(plot 1); to provide 74 (number) student cluster units; and 40 (number) affordable housing units for social rent; including flexible ground floor community/commercial use.
b. The first application related to the Bedminster Green Framework and outlined the key aspects of this document for the application site.
c. The results of the consultation with wider residents and the main points of objection covering a number of areas in summary: the developers departure from the guidelines set out in the Bedminster Green Framework; the design – scale and massing of the proposals; impact on the River Malago; the impacts on amenity – light / noise; parking and highway issues; suitability of the location for student accommodation; and failure to address the recommendation/ guidance set out in the recently adopted Urban Living SPD;
d. Officers advised that further comments had arrived from the Environment Agency that day, stating that they maintain their objection on flood risk and biodiversity grounds; the maintenance access requirements and amendments to the scheme were shown. Committee were asked, due to this objection from a statutory consultee, to note this update.
e. An overview of the objection from the Flood Risk Team in relation to the proposed drainage strategy for the site.
f. An overview of why the principle of development (and other material considerations) was considered acceptable was provided, before the Transport Development Management Officer was given the opportunity to speak to the issues detailed in the report relating tomovement and access, giving an update on the Strategic Transport Assessment work that was ongoing and assurances that the A38 corridor scheme was nearing completion.
g. Officer recommendation, as per the report, was to refuse the application on the following two grounds:
a. The proposed development by reason of its height, scale and massing would be unacceptable in design terms.
b. The application fails to demonstrate that flood risk would not be increased as a result of the development.
Questions for clarification
h. Officers confirmed that the Bedminster Green Framework following its approval at Cabinet was deemed to be a material consideration for applications coming forward in this area.
i. Should it become necessary to consider the introduction of resident parking zones (subject to public consultation) and related highway schemes, to mitigate the potential parking issues, the Developer’s offer of a financial contribution would be available to meet the cost surrounding this work.
j. Members questioned the impact of student population on the local community. The issues relating to arrival and departure days; the positive impact on local retail stores; negative impact on student mental health well-being resulting from living in a tall building with poor aspect;
k. Officers advised that if the application was agreed conditions would be included to manage arrival and departure days; the strategic plan would determine whether arrival and departure would be timed; how the proposed lay-bys would be used;
l. Officers confirmed that the Bedminster Green Framework did set out proposed heights for the development at 6 – 9 storeys and gave no indication, by way of markings, that plot 1 would be suitable for a taller building; that A2D, the developer and other developers in the area, were privy to discussions regarding the building height diagram included in the Framework document and that this document had been produced on their behalf.
m. Members considered the diagrams provided showing the height of the proposed buildings in line with Windmill Hill area and the immediate environs of the site.
n. Members enquired as to whether the issues raised by the Environmental Agency, as statutory consultees could be overcome by way of a condition, if Members were to allow the application to be granted.
o. Officers advised that objections received from the Environment Agency was laid out in the report and confirmed via email maintaining their objection; that these comments supported and informed Officers decision making and final recommendation to committee.
p. The Transport Development Management objection was noted. Whilst Officers would prefer that more clarity was provided over the Obligations identified in the report regarding amounts for contributions, the triggers for contributions, etc. In the event of an Appeal, Officers considered that the Councils position regarding the Strategic Transport Assessment would be protected by the Obligations outlined in the Committee Report, and this would form part of any position statement with the Applicant. The objection from TDM would be clear to any Inspector should they not be provided for. As such, it was not considered necessary to add a transport reason for refusal in addition to the two reasons given.
q. Members expressed their concern over the design of the development; that the design deviated too much from the framework; concerns were expressed that the proposed build did not sit well in the location.
r. Noted that many of objections raised by the statutory consultees had yet to be resolved.
s. Members noted that East St retail area would benefit from the increased footfall from student economy but considered that there were too many objections to go against officer recommendation to refuse.
t. There would be support for large scale development of the site, including the mix of student accommodation and affordable housing, but there were too many outstanding problems and the development was outside of the parameters of the framework. There would need to be good reasons for overturning the framework and these did not exist here.
u. This was the first test of the framework and the requirements had not been met, there was no evidence that the affordable block met the requirements of the Urban Living SPD , and any student accommodation should not only provide for first year students.
v. Members had regard for the Bedminster Green Framework considered that it was well thought out and a material consideration.
w. Cllr M Davies proposed that Committee support officer recommendation to refuse, this was seconded by Cllr F Breckels
When put to the vote:
Resolved (voting 7 for and 3 against, no abstentions) that the application be refused on the grounds outlined in the Officer report.
i. The proposed development by reason of its height, scale, massing and overall design quality would be unacceptable in design terms contrary to Section 12 of the National Planning Policy Framework (February 2019); Policy BCS21 of the Bristol Core Strategy (June 2011); Policies DM26, DM27, DM28 and DM29 of the Site Allocations and Development Management Policies (July 2014); Urban Living SPD (November 2018); and Bedminster Green Framework (March 2019).
ii. The submitted Flood Risk Assessment and Drainage Strategy fail to demonstrate that the impacts of climate change and surface water drainage have been adequately taken into account and that adequate emergency access has been provided to the Malago Main River for the Environment Agency, thus the application fails to demonstrate that flood risk would not be increased as a result of the development. This is contrary to Policy BCS16 of the Core Strategy, as well as guidance within Section 14 of the National Planning Policy Framework.