Agenda item - BH2020/02289 - 5-8 London Road, Brighton
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BH2020/02289 - 5-8 London Road, Brighton
1. The Planning Manager introduced the report with updates from the case officer.
2. Adrian Hill spoke to the committee and commented that the air pollution levels at the development location were above legal levels in 2019. The site was the second most polluted site in Brighton with twice the normal pollution. The road is enclosed resulting in bad air dispersal. More vehicles will increase the issue with deliveries being made to the rear of the development. The speaker noted that it would take 11 years for the air quality to return to legal levels. The poor level of air will impact on the living accommodation of the occupants of the development.
Questions for speaker
3. Councillor Fishleigh was informed that the statistics were from the Brighton and Hove City Council annual review. The councillor was also informed that the speaker considered that the development would remove the current gap between buildings which would allow pollution to build. The councillor stated they were member of the Clean Air for Brighton group, as was the speaker. The councillor confirmed to the Chair that they remained of an open mind when considering the application.
4. Councillor Childs was informed that the speaker considered it would take 11 years for the air quality to be safe. The speaker also informed the councillor that they considered the infilling of the gap between buildings would increase air pollution, as would the increase in delivery vehicles, general traffic and buses.
5. Councillor Henry was informed that the speaker considered the new electric buses were actually hybrid and used engines along London Road, which increases pollution. It was noted that there were no cycle lanes on London Road. The speaker informed the councillor that they did not consider the future to be better.
6. Grant Leggett spoke to the committee as agent for the applicant and noted that none of the slides on air pollution presented by Mr Hill had been seen by the applicant. The agent informed the committee that an independent air quality expert was on hand to answer any questions the councillors may have.
7. Judi Lynn spoke to the committee as a supporter of the application and that they lived 1 minute from the application site. Concerned residents want improvements as the current situation is not good. The speaker was impressed with the proposals which included large doors and windows that may deter anti-social behaviour. The speaker asked the committee to support the application.
Questions for speaker
8. Councillor Childs was informed that Judi Lynn was a member of a steering group who were in talks with the council. The group were taking a holistic approach to the regeneration of the London Road area which formed a corridor from Preston Park to the North Laine. It was noted that the area included anti-social behaviour in apparent drug dealing and graffiti. Businesses were joining in to help the group. It was noted that student housing is needed in the city and this was a sensitive application with the enclosed congregating areas being closed at 9 or 10pm.
9. Councillor Theobald was informed by the agent that it was usual for commercial and accommodation to be together in modern developments and the deliveries to the shops should not disturb the students. A management plan would also be implemented to address delivery timings. The councillor was informed that the council figures showed a need for student housing.
10. Councillor Miller was informed by Frances Marshall, the air quality expert supplied by the agent, that a detailed air quality report had been submitted as part of the application. The air quality assessment, which included traffic impact using tools agreed by DEFRA, has been completed and agreed with the council air quality officer. The report addressed concerns. It was noted that nitrogen dioxide levels are descending, however it is not thought air quality would be down to a good level by the completion of the build.
Questions to officers
11. The Planning Manager informed the committee that the application was considered under BHCC Local Plan policy SU9 – Pollution and Nuisance Control, and the scheme was on balance considered to accord with the policy as this policy allows developments where there are mitigation provided.
12. Councillor Shanks was informed by the air quality officer (Senior Technical Officer - Transport) that London Road does exceed air quality levels and improvements are ongoing. Gas combustion is a future concern as pollution increases with the number of visitors. The development includes mitigation measures for reducing emissions. The footway on London Road is the second highest polluted area in the city. The area will be continually monitored.
13. Councillor Miller was informed by the case officer that no physical pre- app meetings are taking place in lockdown, however virtual meetings can take place should the councillors wish.
14. Councillor Fishleigh was informed by the air quality officer that the air pollution was above average. The emissions could be reduced once buses, cars and other vehicles made before 2015 are no longer running. Petrol and diesel cars are considered to be reducing whilst hybrid and electric are becoming more popular.
15. Councillor Janio was informed by the air quality officer that they had no objections to the development.
16. Councillor Miller considered the development an improvement with neighbour support. The scheme was not considered too high and the 156 units could lead to a reduction in houses of multiple occupancy (HMOs) The concierge is good for the building which is considered to be well designed, sustainable, with good transport links, and green infrastructure. The councillor supported the application.
17. Councillor Theobald considered the development to be well designed, improve the area with improvements to the current rear of the buildings, and had sprinklers. The councillor supported the application.
18. Councillor Childs considered the building could be attractive again. The councillor expressed some concerns regarding air quality. The retention of the commercial units was good and the councillor on balance supported the application.
19. Councillor Fishleigh expressed some sympathy with the residents and concerns regarding the air quality. The councillor was against the application.
20. Councillor Shanks noted the area needs improving and considered the future was uncertain for retail and students. The councillor abstained from the application.
21. Councillor Littman noted the concerns raised by the other councillors regarding air quality but noted that the air quality officer supported the scheme. The area is considered to be improving and the back of the buildings needs help. The councillor supported the application.
22. A vote was taken, and the committee voted by 8 to 1 that planning permission be granted with one abstention.
23. RESOLVED: That the Committee has taken into consideration and agrees with the reasons for the recommendation set out in the report and resolves to be MINDED TO GRANT planning permission subject to a s106 agreement on the Heads of Terms set out in the report and the Conditions and Informatives also as set out in the report, SAVE THAT should the s106 Planning Obligation not be completed on or before 5 May 2021 the Head of Planning is hereby authorised to refuse planning permission for the reasons set out in section 13 of the report.
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