Officers presented the report and highlighted the following points:
1. Members flagged some errors of the report which are below the usual quality standard for which officers apologised. These issues were addressed in the amendment sheet.
2. The application has been revised from 65 to 62 dwellings in 3 blocks. The application received 350 objections, mainly related to block A. This block has been amended, reduced in size and set back with less massing.
3. Distance from other buildings is not a significant impact.
4. Officers recommend approval, subject to legal agreement on 20% affordable housing on site.
Questions for clarification:
5. The buildings use air source heat pumps, this meets policy requirements. Sustainability is important, in terms of density, amenity space and parking. It is a matter for the committee to weigh up the material issues. There are 121 units, 45 parking spaces and green spaces in reasonable distance.
6. Zoo finances are not a material consideration for the committee.
7. The visual amenity of the application is largely subjective. The scale of the application alone is not a reason for refusal. Improvements from the original plan had been made. The scheme is compliant in terms of density.
8. The site is brownfield and no longer appropriate for its original use. Members are asked to weigh the potential benefits against the potential harm of the scheme. The nearest play area is near to the suspension bridge.
9. The development should be ambitious in terms of energy use in line with sustainable practice, however Zero Carbon is an aspiration. The applicant has been assessed on sustainability measures. Members could refuse the application over sustainability concerns if they are considered it outweighs other aspects.
10. A decision should be made on the plan as it stands rather than deferring it, there is the possibility of appeal if no decision is made.
11. The committee has some interest in biodiversity and notes the issue is lacking in the report. A condition on this will be attached. It is worth noting that biodiversity net gain requirement is not yet included in planning law.
12. Bristolians love the zoo, and the committee should look to the future. The application is a bold decision but members should consider it on its own merits. The community has been consulted and the statement by Francis Greenacre is reassuring. Brownfield sites should be the priority location for development and a former car park is a prime target. The density of the development is not too high, and nature of the buildings is satisfactory. The committee should have faith that these properties will be bought because they will meet the needs of potential buyers.
13. The committee thanked members of the public for their engagement. This part of college road is unattractive at present, and the scheme will enhance it. The scale of the proposed buildings is suitable, and the biggest trees will remain. The proposed buildings are an appropriate distance from the old buildings. The Clifton Downs are nearby and families are likely to inhabit the terraced houses rather than the flats.
14. The buildings should either reflect the existing architecture of the area or add interest and diversity to the area.
15. Clifton is a beautiful area and it would be good for people on lower incomes to be able to enjoy it. The committee should trust the zoo to consider biodiversity. The site is brownfield and building more housing should be a goal for all wards.
16. The development is in a good location, but concerns remain over design.
17. The future needs to be zero carbon and this development could be more ambitious in this regard. Block A is not satisfactory.
DECISION was moved by Councillor Eddy and seconded by Councillor Goggin.
RESOLVED (5 for / 3 against / 1 abstain) application approved as per officer recommendations.