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Agenda item

Armoury House, City Road, London, EC1Y 2BQ


Proposed erection of stables and tack room adjacent to the existing rugby pitch (for a temporary period of 2 years, 6 months), together with permanent internal alterations to the listed 'Specials' office within the mezzanine floor of the west wing of Armoury House.

(Planning application number: P2019/2369/FUL)

Discussion with this application was considered in conjunction with Item B7, although votes with regard to its recommendation was taken separately. In the discussion the following points were made:

·       The application site relates to the Grade II* Listed Armoury House (Finsbury Barracks) and large private playing field. Finsbury Barracks has a site area of approximately 2.6 hectares situated between City Road (directly east), Bunhill Row (directly west) and Chiswell Street (directly south).

·       Members were advised that the surrounding area is predominately office/commercial space within the Central Activity Zone and that the nearest residential properties are situated to the east along City Road with No’s , 12, 16 and 18 having apartments in the upper floors that project onto the site.

·       Meeting was advised that works to the main building would be located close to the frontage of the property at the ‘Specials’ office within the mezzanine floor of the west wing of Armoury House and that the proposed alterations would include the removal of a modern partition wall, and introduction of a new wall to rationalise the office accommodation and that the works are on a permanent basis.

·       Sports England was consulted and their comments regarding the restoration and relocation of the cricket net facility following the removal of the temporary facilities was agreed by the applicant. The applicant has agreed to provide temporary practice nets elsewhere on the margins of the cricket pitch which could be removed when not required.

·       A resident who lives in close proximity to the site was concerned about the smell and noise levels from the stable. In additions concerns with the number of restaurants in the vicinity of the proposal, public health of users had not been in to consideration and finally as she lives immediately above this proposal will impact the value of her property.

·       With regards to noise concerns, the Planning Officer informed the meeting that it is a well managed facility and applicant have offered details of a contact to the Council if any disturbance arises.

·       In a response to a question on the numbers of horses on the site, the agent acknowledged 6 horses in the 6 stables.

·       On the question of what type of insulation and ventilation was being proposed for the stable, the Planning Officer advised that stables will open during the day and be closed at night and an acoustic report submitted has no concerns that will arise from the activities there during use.

·       The agent advised Committee that the proposed stables area is considered necessary to facilitate the closure and decommissioning of Wood Street, the City of London Police’s Mounted Unit which requires alternative accommodation.

·       The agent in response highlighted the public benefit as it enables the Police to ensure effective response times and the ability to mobilise the Unit in close proximity to the City in response to operational needs and requirements for effective Services within the City of London (within 5 minutes). The operational risk of locating the Unit outside of the City is considered to be impractical and poses operational risks. The location also allows for deployment to other parts of London.

·       Meeting was advised that although the proposed stables area would be solely visible from private views within the offices/commercial and residential properties that surround the site on City Road, with limited visibility of the stables from the entrance along Finsbury Street when the temporary marquees to the southern boundary are not in place, this would not impact the wider conservation area given its temporary nature and its overall distance from the listed building.

·       The Planning Officer advised that although the site forms part of the Bunhill & Clerkenwell Conservation Area, and the application building is listed, the impact towards the character and setting of the conservation area and Listed Building has been considered.

·       On the issue of the impact on the conservation area, meeting was advised that  given the temporary nature and its positioning (set away from public views and away from the listed building), and acceptable timber clad design, the proposal would not have a detrimental impact on the setting of the listed building nor detract from the character and appearance of Bunhill & Clerkenwell Conservation Area subject to conditions.

·       Members were advised that the stables are not considered harmful to neighbouring amenity with regards to outlook when considering the surrounding high boundary walls some of which extend up to 3m, whilst the stables by virtue of their single storey height and timber clad design would not appear prominent structures, additionally the setback proposed is approximately 4m-5m.

·       In addition, the proposal has been assessed by Public Protection Officers in relation to noise and also with regards to the welfare of the animals on site. Officers do not consider the stabling of horses to be a noisy activity and any noise from corporate events and historic artillery practices upon the field are unlikely to cause issue given the training of the horses to deal with noisy environments when they do occur. There is no objection to the typical hours of use for the facility and the daily muck out of stables proposed that would mitigate adverse odours. The agent advised that a condition will be placed upon the permission to request that the contact details of the site manager are shared with the Local Authority prior to use of the stables to ensure contact can be made should issues arise from the proposed development in regards to noise, odour or the welfare of the horses.

·       During deliberation, members acknowledged the noise concerns raised by residents but were confident that the welfare of horses will be of paramount importance to the City of London Police. Members noted that the number of horses as stated by the agent would not cause any adverse disruption to the amenity of neighbouring residents.

·       On the insulation and ventilation concerns, a member proposed a condition requesting that the details for sound insulation be submitted. This was seconded and agreed. Wording of additional condition to be delegated to the Planning Officer.

·       A suggestion to amend condition 9 regarding the contact, to be residents instead of the Council’s Protection Team was noted

·       Members agreed that overall, the proposal would not have a detrimental impact on noise and disturbance, odour, outlook, privacy and overlooking and Daylight and Sunlight and would therefore be in compliance with policies DM2.1 of the Development Management Policies 2013.



Councillor Kay proposed a motion to grant planning permission subject to amending condition 9 to change the contact details and add a condition requiring details of noise insulation to be submitted (wording delegated to officers). This was seconded by Councillor Convery and carried.




That following consideration of the case officer’s report (the assessment and recommendations therein), the presentation to Committee, submitted representations and objections provided verbally at this meeting, planning permission be granted subject to the conditions and informatives set out in Appendix 1 of the officer.


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