Agenda item

Planning Application Numbers 16/05329/F and 16/05330/LA - Former Gas Works (West Purifier House), Lime Kiln Road

Erection of Building To Provide Residential Accommodation (Class C3), Associated Parking, Landscaping and Boundary Treatment, Internal and External Alterations to West Purifier House


Officers gave a presentation for this item and made the following key points:


(1)        Details of the proposed building were provided which would contain 58 residential units over West Purifier House, a new 6-storey building in the north-eastern area of the site and two houses in the Engine House;

(2)        Information was given concerning the previous permitted scheme at the site for the Soil Association which had expired;

(3)        Objections had been received from the SS Great Britain (the loss of sight lines and potential impact of this) and from Historic England (excessive scale, materials and articulation, cause harm to the character of the Conservation Area and to the views to and from Brandon Hill);

(4)        Space standards had been met. Town Scape views indicating the visual impact analysis had been included;

(5)        The development complies with the Site Allocation policy criteria for the site since it would use re-use the existing listed buildings on the site and bring them back into a sustainable use;

(6)        The development would improve the Harbourside Walkway;

(7)        The development would provide vehicular access from Lime Kiln Road;

(8)        The  development would preserve and enhance the character and appearance of the Conservation Area and is supported by Flood Risk Assessment;

(9)        The scheme mitigates its impact through Section 106 obligations and would provide a financial contribution towards affordable housing;

(10)      Whilst acknowledging the objection from Historic England, officers had applied the appropriate assessment and had concluded that the impacts on the heritage assets are acceptable when balanced with the interests of bringing the site and buildings back into use;

(11)      The scheme provides a policy compliant sustainability response and includes robust supporting information on protection of nearby residents’ amenity;

(12)      Transport conditions were acceptable and conditions would ensure that design details of the development were also acceptable;

(13)      The scheme will bring a long –term derelict site back into sustainable use.


In response to Councillors’ questions, officers made the following comments:


(1)        There is an electric charging point;

(2)        Highways officers had examined the concerns raised about the level of traffic that would occur during the construction phase and had deemed that it was acceptable;

(3)        Officers felt the land value in excess of £3 Million proposed by the applicant was too high given the significant level of abnormal costs associated with this site. Following advice from Property Services, officers considered that a land value of in the region of £2 Million is the minimum that a reasonable land owner would be prepared to dispose of the land for, given its highly desirable location. Consequently, a land value of £2 Million has been adopted by the Council;

 (4)       It was confirmed that any temporary or permanent works to the existing Listed Dock Wall would definitely require an additional listed building consent;

(5)        The future views from Cabot Tower had been indicated in the plans;

(6)        Public access around the site will be maintained as part of the Construction Management Plan and would also include access to Lime Kiln Road;

(7)        Housing Associations were generally reluctant to provide a small number of flats but were happy to agree to an off-site contribution. Whilst it might in theory be possible to deliver affordable housing ourselves, Bristol City Council had never previously taken on the provision of units in a private development. Officers were carrying out a separate piece of work with the Housing Delivery Team to investigate options for this – the Cabinet Member for Housing had requested investigation into possibilities for particular suburban locations;

(8)        If one of the storeys was removed from the building, it would make the scheme undeliverable as other costs would still need to be met;

(9)        Officers maintained flexibility for options for affordable housing. If they were to make a requirement that any expenditure needed to be made within a particular radius (ie 1 mile) and no development could be provided within the required time period, funding might need to be returned;

(10)      The development would be publicly accessible;

(11)      The Neighbourhood Partnership in question (Cabot Clifton Harbourside NP) had not yet made a decision to apply CIL to these types of schemes. Therefore, the option of using some CIL to improve the public realm and hence assist scheme viability, was not an option at this stage;

(12)      The provision of larger flats had been agreed to assist in providing housing for families. Smaller flats would be unlikely to provide more revenue and improve liability;

(13)      By working with a Housing Association, the Council obtained match funding for a particular scheme;

(14)      Officers confirmed that, despite the reduction in the enforcement team, a full reactive enforcement service remained in place and would address any complaints if a developer failed to meet the relevant conditions of any agreed development.


Councillors made the following comments:


(15)      It was important to re-use this site which was not inconsistent with buildings in the vicinity;

(16)      The comments from SS Great Britain were noted and were of concern. The building was too high and would cause significant damage to the character of the area;

(17)      The level of affordable housing is unacceptable;

(18)      The development could cause “reverse ghettoization” and mitigate against mixed communities;

(19)      The developer has done reasonably well in the pre-Application stage. Whilst it had an industrial look, this was in keeping with other buildings in the area but would require good quality materials;

(20)      It was very important that this site was developed;

(21)      The large block did seem too big;

(22)      The lack of sufficient affordable housing was disappointing but the reluctance of the Housing Association to take on the site without certain requirements being put in place was understandable;

(23)      Since the financial crash, there was an increasing amount of social housing in the wider Harbourside area as Housing Associations had brought units from the developer;

(24)      The scheme complimented the listed buildings without being a pastiche;

(25)      Whilst it seemed a severe design compared to the Listed Buildings, it would not cause harm particular harm to the conservation area;

(26)      The Equalities Impact of the scheme Assessment was bad due to the lack of affordable units in this central location;

(27)      Whilst this site needed to be developed, the proposed scheme was in the wrong location;

(28)      £34,000 from the scheme proposed for the bus stop improvement should be transferred towards the provision of affordable housing.


Councillor Olly Mead moved, seconded by Councillor Fabian Breckels that “the application be approved, together with the amendments set out in the Amendment Sheet”.


Councillor Stephen Clarke moved an amendment, seconded by Councillor Clive Stevens that “ £34,488 identified for bus stop improvements be re-allocated to affordable housing and to be provided within a 1.5 Mile radius of the scheme”. Upon being put to the vote, this amendment was LOST (Voting: 4 for, 8 against, 0 Abstentions).


Councillor Clive Stevens moved a further amendment, seconded by Councillor Stephen Clarke that “ £34,488 identified for bus stop improvements be re-allocated to affordable housing”. It was noted that the applicants agreed to this proposal. Upon being out to the vote, this amendment was CARRIED (Voting: 5 For, 3 Against, 2 Abstentions).


Upon being put to the vote, Councillor Mead’s motion (as amended by Councillor Stevens) was CARRIED (Voting: 7 for, 2 against, I abstention). It was, therefore,


Resolved:  that the recommendations contained in the report be approved, together with the amendments set out in the Amendment Sheet and with the Heads of terms of the required Section 106 agreement amended to re-allocate the £34,488 originally secured for bus stop improvements to the affordable housing contribution.

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