The Head of Development Management and his representative gave a presentation and summarised the report for this item.
• This scheme has been at committee before. We are in the difficult position of needing affordable housing, but we cannot recommend this plan for approval. The design is not compliant with the heat hierarchy policies.
• There was a briefing with members and the applicant, some changes were made but they are not significant enough to warrant approval. There need to be better plans on heat and daylight availability.
• Full planning permission is sought. This application was deferred from 2 Sep 2020 and is for 146 residential units. There was a briefing on 30 Sep and a revised application was submitted in November and December. BCC is under target for house building. We should presume to grant unless the harm outweighs the benefits. 146 dwellings are in 5 blocks. 32 affordable dwellings have social rent, the others are unsecured affordable housing.
• Previous resolution was about recreation space and better corridors and light access. There have been relocation of patio doors and bedroom units. A high proportion of units are single aspect dwellings. Earlier proposals were overly reliant on electric resistant heating, now more are supplied by heat pump. Unfortunately, there are still 109 dwellings on electric resistant. Heat compliance has increased from 12 to 37 dwellings.
• The applicant is not seeking connection to the heat network. Low carbon power is priority for all new builds. It is feasible to supply 58 more units with heat pumps. These are more expensive to build, electric resistant is the cheapest option. BCC officers do not accept the applicant’s estimates for additional costs (£18k unit), BCC estimates £8k per unit. £18k is based on retrofit, not new build. BCC has set aside grants of up to £10k per unit to support low carbon heating. Central Government expects minor role for electric heating in future and BCC is planning to decarbonise the city economy. Electric resistant is 100% efficient, ground pump 200%, heat network 300%. Electric resistant heating is expensive to run and puts a burden on the grid.
• Officers think the scheme is non-compliant on heat, quality of design and wellbeing of residents. The adverse impact outweighs the benefit in this proposal.
Questions for clarification:
· Grants are given to the organisation providing the heating system.
· The report says the proposal fails to contribute to affordable housing. This is because at the date of committee a Section 106 Agreement had not been entered into to provide the agreed 32 affordable dwellings. Should the scheme be refused and the applicant appeals to the Planning Inspectorate, then the Council and the applicant can enter into the Section 106 Agreement and present this to the inspector at the appeal, at which point this reason for refusal would fall away.
• Disappointed that the applicant did not do enough to adjust their heating strategy, it is possible to comply, but they have not.
• On heat it sounds as if both sides have dug in. BCS14 standard is outdated, not responded to technology or law. I think the policy is outdated. We want affordable homes and this scheme is affordable.
• BCS14 standard is of age but still applies and stands the test of time. 2011 policy still relevant as set out in the report. Electric resistive heating is not going to be part of any new policy.
• We need affordable housing, but we need to make decisions on sustainability. We should not accept any old thing for the sake of it. Once heat issue is resolved, I expect we will approve.
Cllr Fabian Breckels proposed, seconded by Cllr Paul Goggin to vote on the officers’ recommendation to refuse the application.
RESOLVED: (6 For / 1 Against / 3 Abstain) that the application be refused as set out in the Officer recommendations.