Agenda item - BH2019/01820, 19-24 Melbourne Street, Brighton -Full Planning

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Agenda item

BH2019/01820, 19-24 Melbourne Street, Brighton -Full Planning

RECOMMENDATION – MINDED TO GRANT

Ward Affected: Hanover & Elm Grove

Minutes:

A                 BH2019/01820, 19-24 Melbourne Street, Brighton -Full Planning

 

Demolition of existing auto servicing centre and joinery building and erection of a new development of 4 and 6 storeys, plus basement level, comprising 587 m2 of co-working business floor space (B1) including gym/community space (80m2) and ancillary café. Provision of 83no co-living residential units (Sui Generis) with ancillary storage, landscaped residents roof terrace and access, together with cycle storage, associated plant and electrical sub-stations and associated works. (Revisions to loading bay arrangements and cycle storage).

 

(1)              It was noted that an in-depth presentation had been provided by officers in advance of the meeting and was included on the council website detailing the scheme by reference to site plans, elevational drawings and photographs which showed the proposed scheme in the context of neighbouring development. The main considerations in determining the application were:

 

·     the principle of the proposed uses on this site and the site allocation in City Plan Part 1 for employment-led mixed use development with housing

·     the provision of affordable housing

·     the mix and quality of the accommodation and amenity of the occupiers

·     the impact on neighbours including daylighting and privacy

·     the quality of design and impact to the character and appearance of the locality including setting of conservation areas

·     the impact on the tree belt in Woodvale Crematorium

·     the impact on parking and servicing in the vicinity and promotion of sustainable modes of transport

·     sustainability and biodiversity

·     whether the demand for infrastructure is adequately addressed through S106/conditions

·      the council’s housing supply position.

 

(2)              Overall, the scheme was considered acceptable and was recommended minded to grant.

 

Public Speakers

 

(3)        Councillor Powell spoke in her capacity as a Local Ward Councillor setting out her objections to the proposed scheme and those of neighbouring objectors. The scheme was too high in this narrow street and would have a detrimental impact on the amenity of neighbouring properties, particularly Viaduct Lofts, where the bedrooms, kitchens and living spaces of a number of units would be directly overlooked. The high level of rent proposed believed to be around £1,000 pcm was likely to encourage short-term lets which would create a transitory population.

 

(4)        Mr Snow spoke on behalf of the applicants in support of their application. He explained that significant work had been undertaken to answer an identified need. Brundell’s had experience of delivering similar projects in other parts of the country. Councillor Shanks stated the proposed development was not centrally located, and in response it was explained that their experience in creating similar developments indicated that their tenants sought accommodation close to good transport/ public transport links rather than necessarily a central location.

 

(5)        Councillor Theobald enquired regarding the high rental levels and enquired regarding the apparent lack of on-site facilities. It was explained that rental levels were comparable with other housing units in that use type with?? a number of on-site facilities. and running costs including a gym/ community spaces and cafe were included within the monthly rental fee, whereas tenants living elsewhere would need to pay for these in addition to their rent. Additional amenity space would be provided at roof level.

 

(6)        Councillor Miller expressed similar concerns and sought clarification regarding the proposed mix which would be solely co-living units. It was explained that the proposed development represented a new model of housing development but did respond to a market need.

 

          Questions for Officers

 

(7)        Councillor Miller sought clarification regarding the level of s106 housing contribution being sought towards off-site affordable housing provision and in respect of the sui generis nature of provision. He considered that the level of contribution sought was very low considering that the opportunity to use a different rental model or for the Council to seek an uplift should be able to be factored in. Also, whether comparisons with other local authorities had been sought. The Planning Manager explained that each scheme needed to be considered on its merits, that rental levels were not a consideration as local authorities could have differing policies.

 

(8)        The Planning Officer, Henrietta Ashun explained that this was a new type of housing development for the city and detailed the rationale used when applying the sui-generis category in this instance. Reference was also made to the detailed comments received from the housing strategy team.

 

(9)        Councillor Shanks enquired whether the council would have allocation rights in terms of off-site provision.

 

(10)      Councillor Miller stated that he was very unhappy that the sum and discount being proposed equated to only one year’s affordable housing provision and sought advice regarding whether the s106 could be amended to include for a larger sum in light of operation of the scheme. The Legal Adviser to the Committee explained that this was not advised in the absence of policies to support it, also that if the scheme was refused and that refusal was not underpinned by existing policies that could be difficult to support in the event of an appeal.

 

(11)      Councillor Littman referred to the apparent divergence of opinion between highways and planning stating that he was concerned that the scheme would give rise to parking displacement and on- street parking in an area where the streets was narrow and the surrounding streets were already heavily trafficked. The Development and Transport Assessment Manager, David Farnham, explained that whilst some aspects of the proposals were considered to be less than ideal they were able to recommend conditions or obligations to resolve them. In addition to the other concerns cited in the report there were outstanding design concerns in relation to the loading bay on the southern side of Melbourne Street and further amendments to widen the footway on the northern side of Melbourne Street. These could be addressed through a Grampian Condition requiring a suitable scheme to agreed with highways prior to commencement of the development. Their other concerns remained.

 

(12)      The Planning Manager, Nicola Hurley, stated that it whilst the comments of the highways team had been taken into account, planning officers were of the view that suitably robust conditions could be put into place.

 

            Debate and Decision Making Process

 

(13)      Councillor Theobald stated that in her view the scheme would lead to overdevelopment of the site to the detriment of neighbouring residents, particularly occupiers of Viaduct Lofts. There was also insufficient on-site parking and cycle parking provision and she could not support the application

 

(14)      Councillor Henry considered that the scheme would provide good quality housing with on-site facilities of a type that was new to the city and on balance he supported it.

 

(15)      Councillor Shanks concurred with the views expressed by Councillor Henry and would be voting in favour of the application.

 

(16)      Councillor Fishleigh considered that further amendments could have been made to improve the scheme, but could however accept it as put forward.

 

(17)      Councillor Janio commented that he considered the scheme was imaginative and made good use of the site.

 

(18)      Councillor Littman felt that he could support the scheme if the issue of the parking and traffic flow during construction and in respect of the bay in Melbourne Street could be addressed by officers making amendments to the wording of Condition 4.

 

(19)      Councillor Miller stated that he would be unable to support the application unless a 40% contribution could be sought towards off-site affordable housing provision. The Planning Manager, Nicola Hurley, asked whether the Committee wished to defer consideration of the application, stating that the applicant’s might consider such a requirement to be unreasonable and might not agree to it. If the application was deferred further discussions could take place with the applicants and the housing team as it could give rise to viability issues. The legal adviser to the Committee re-iterated her earlier advice in relation to any subsequent appeal and potential financial risk to the council, stating that it might not be possible to require a 40% contribution in any event.

 

(20)      Councillor Miller formally proposed that the s106 require a 40% contribution towards off-site affordable housing provision which was seconded by Councillor Shanks but was lost.

 

(21)      The Chair, Councillor Hill stated that whilst she considered the scheme to be acceptable, also considering that it could be beneficial to revisit existing policies in future in reflect provision of this type of housing offer.

 

(22)      Councillor Littman requested that consideration be given to amending Condition 4 as suggested and that it be voted upon. Other Members of the Committee were in agreement.

 

(23)      A vote was taken and on the proposed amendments to Condition 4 which were agreed on a vote of 5 to 3. A further vote was taken with that included in the substantive recommendations and on a vote of 6 to 2 Minded to Grant planning approval was given.

 

17.1      RESOLVED – That the Committee has taken into consideration and agrees with the reasons for the recommendation set out in the report and resolves that it is MINDED TO GRANT planning permission, subject to a s106 Planning Obligation and the Conditions and Informatives also set out in the report, including amendments to Condition 4 SAVE THAT should the s106 Planning Obligation not be completed on or before 29 September 2020 the Head of Planning be hereby authorised to refuse planning permission for the reasons set out in the final section of the report.

 

Note: Having declared a prejudicial interest in the above application Councillor Yates left the meeting consideration of the above application and took no part in the decision making process.

Supporting documents:

 


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