Planning Applications 16/02994/F and 16/02998/LA - Brunel House St Georges Road Bristol BS1 5UY
Change of use of Brunel House from office accommodation (Use Class B1) to student accommodation (Sui generis) comprising 233 student bed spaces (including 48 studios and 26 cluster flats), retention of Brunel House listed facade and Horses Bazaar; refurbishment and external alteration of Brunel House behind the listed facade with associated communal areas and student facility with landscaping, car parking and cycle parking (Major application).
Officers made the following points during their presentation:
(1) Details of the development, including the roof extensions and amenities were set out;
(2) The public consultation was summarised;
(3) The make- up of the area was mixed, including office and commercial development. Officers believed that the development was acceptable in residential terms;
(4) Some small trees would be removed;
(5) Cycle parking would be provided in the area.
Councillors made the following comments:
(6) There would be difficulties for Councillors, particularly in relation to attendance for major meetings, if access to the College Car Park was reduced by about 20 spaces. The horse bazaar was big enough for people to drop off and should work well enough;
(7) The provision of 59 cycle parking spaces was queried as whether this was sufficient for the number of students;
(8) It was queried whether affordable housing should be required for this scheme;
(9) Officers should consider the possibility of limiting provision of accommodation for Year 1 students;
(10) Officers needed to ensure that the correct trees were felled as indicated on the appropriate plan;
(11) There was very little benefit for the Council with this development in terms of CIL;
(12) There were concerns about parking and cyclists – measures need to be put in place to encourage cyclists;
(13) Whilst the initial proposal had not been acceptable, this was a sensible application and should be supported. It preserved the historic aspects of the Horse Bazaar and the quarry;
(14) The promotion of the central area for purpose built student accommodation was a wrong policy;
(15) The issue of the impact of marketing accommodation for Year 1 students on subsequent student years needed to be examined – further discussions with the University might be required;
(16) Whilst the initial proposal was unacceptable, this was now a very sensible application which preserved the historic aspects of the Horse Bazaar and quarry.
Officers made the following comments in response to Councillors’ questions:
(17) Student accommodation is Sui Generis (ie. not within a specific planning use class) and therefore not subject to the Council’s policy requirement for affordable housing, which applies to Use Class C3 residential uses only;
(18) Refuse collection would be arranged on a commercial basis;
(19) Condition 29 had been added to ensure there was a moving in/moving out strategy for this development;
(20) There was a highways safety issue to be considered in relation to Horse Bazaar which was only 3 metres wide and therefore, if used for student moving in/out would generate serious highways safety concerns (i.e. vehicles reversing onto) on a 5-arm mini-roundabout which has numerous highway safety problems. Officers did not consider it detrimental to use the College Street Car Park;
(21) The proposed Cycle Parking provision was set in accordance with research indicating 1 to 4 ratio for cycling users;
(22) A dialogue with the university concerning the marketing of the site was required. However, it was difficult to see that any different scheme would address Councillors’ concerns about this matter. It would be contrary to guidance to say that students cannot occupy certain flats.
Councillor Breckels moved, seconded by Councillor Windows and upon being put to the vote it was
Resolved (8 for, 1 against, I abstention) – that the recommendations contained in the report be approved, together with the proposed amendments set out in the Amendment Sheet and also including:
(1) Any application to discharge the condition agreeing the drop off & pick up strategy should be the subject of a further update to the Chair of the Committee (via the agenda meeting) in the future
(2) an additional condition preventing the development from being exclusively marketed at first year students .