The Head of Development Management and his representative gave a presentation and summarised the report for this item.
• The application seeks planning permission for a waste transfer station at Swift House, which was previously Gulliver’s vehicle hire.
• The amendment sheet shows more objections have been received. These largely relate to environmental impact, but there are also references to low employment density and low value economy.
• The site is next to a nursery and MAT education centre. Central to St Phillips Marsh. In the local plan, this is designated as an industrial and warehousing area. There are some sensitive uses in the area, including 6 dwellings on feeder road, and other residential areas at the Paintworks, Temple Island university campus and Bath Road.
• Waste management should be in principle industrial areas. Policy says this is a suitable area. We should have regard for environmental impact and if we find it unacceptable, we can reject the application. The intention is to eventually regenerate the area, but this should be given limited weight in consideration. It is not currently suitable as residential due to flood risk. Only alternatives will be commercial.
• The proposal is for two large sheds on the site for waste and trailers, there is also a weigh station and admin office. The waste is to be sorted in the shed and sent for disposal. We have received feedback from all relevant officers, no objections on grounds of noise impact, air quality or highways impacts.
• On air quality arguments, this has been modelled based on sensitive receptors including the nursery. These are not monitoring stations but the model is based on data from monitoring stations. The site is not in the air quality management area. There is little impact in terms of Nitrogen Dioxide or particulates, the increase is negligible. We use the national criteria for air quality, 40mg No2 is the national standard beyond which there would be an objection, the area is already lower than this. Accounting for odour, there is some potential impact on the nursery, but this can be mitigated.
• Highways impact, there is good site access, we have assessed vehicle movements and are happy there is enough space on the network for these vehicles.
• Risk of flooding, officers consider that the Flood Risk Assessment indicates that the site can be made safe, but have requested delegated powers to finalise the conditions that relate to this.
• The noise impact assessment shows noise from the waste centre is lower at the nursery than background noise. Odour impact assessment acknowledges that waste transfer stations can produce odour. The waste is commercial waste, not organic and will not be left on site for long periods. The building is orientated so the entrance is away from the nursery.
Questions for clarification:
• The report says there is no odour at the nursery, but also that mitigation will be required. It is hard to say that there will be zero impact, but with mitigation confident that odour will not be an issue.
• Vermin mitigation says there will be waste inside, but this is a 3-sided shed. The open side of the building will have a plastic curtain.
• Air quality is modelled not measured. The assessment and modelling are in accordance with national best practice. Air quality officers are confident in the report.
• Concerning flies, BCC spent a long time denying issues with flies in Avonmouth, so not confident in BCC saying this now. Mitigation by drapes does not sound plausible. Avonmouth contains decaying organic matter, it is not the same kind of waste in this application.
• This area is targeted for future regeneration, but committee is being told not to attach weight to this. It is unlikely to be a heavily residential area in the short term.
• There was not much public engagement on this application. The application did not follow the pre-application process, so there has been no conversation with officers prior to the submission of the application. A committee refusal based on the lack of public consultation would not be recommended, as the application can still be compliant with planning law.
• The nursery has high level of deprivation as is clear from the public forum. The nursery is in situ and there is a duty of care for those children. It is hard to imagine that there will be no impact of odour with children in the playground or outside space. All sorting of waste will take place in the building, there will be curtains and sprays. The assessment is that this will not be an issue. The waste being sorted is not organic or smelly.
• The Nitrogen Dioxide base level is 30.3mg, which is expected to increase to 30.8mg. The national objection level is 40mg. Particulates will go from 15.1 up to 15.2. The objection level is 32. The public statements concerning a girl dying from poor air quality was from a particularly bad area close to busy roads, as air quality largely depends on proximity to roads. The Manchester Case mentioned in the public forum was a judicial review that found the council failed to consider air quality within an air quality managed area, and therefore is not directly comparable to this application.
• The application is within an industrial area, but it is de facto mixed use. There are 6 residences and a variety of different commercial and industrial areas. Childcare facilities are permitted in these areas to help employment.
• The site was previously a commercial vehicle hire business since 1960s. The agent of change principle applies here, where a new use into the area must be responsible for managing the impact on existing uses.
• Odour is primarily evaluated by doing site visits.
• Concerns were raised about Agent of Change, odour, and noise. The proximity of the nursery means it will be affected by this application.
• This application is in an area of deprivation with the nursery having many disadvantaged families, which presents equalities issues. This would have been rejected in a wealthier area. Although this is an industrial area it is mixed use.
• Mitigation of odour and flies is very difficult. We are asking nurseries to keep windows open during the pandemic and the prevailing wind moves to the nursery.
• We do want to see good waste management, but this is not the traditional use of the site.
• Members appreciated the work that has already gone into mitigation, but the proximity of the nursery makes it a poor position.
No Councillor moved to vote to grant the application as per the officers’ recommendation.
Cllr Steve Smith proposed, seconded by Cllr Don Alexander, to defer the application so that officers can make further investigations into odour, vermin and air quality.
RESOLVED: (8 For / 0 Against / 1 Abstain) that the application be deferred.