Demolition of existing community centre building and MUGA and the erection of four blocks of between four and seven storeys (Buildings A, B & C - part six and part seven storeys and Building D - four storeys) to provide a total of 91 x Class C3 units (17 x studios, 25 x 1-bed, 21 x 2-bed, 25 x 3-bed & 3 x 4-bed), a community centre and estate office, estate-wide play space and landscaping. Alterations to vehicular, service and pedestrian access from North Road, York Way and Market Road, pedestrian footpaths and ramps, car and cycle parking and other associated works including landscaping; amenity space; and refuse storage.
(Planning application number: P2021/0969/FUL)
In the discussion the following points were made:
· The Planning Officer highlighted a correction within the report which incorrectly states that the site is within Caledonian ward instead of Holloway ward
· Meeting was advised of two updates, an additional condition is being recommended which will require further details of future proofing to connect to a DHP potential energy network connection and secondly on page 151 of the report, reference is made to a contribution of £60,000 towards transport and highway improvement, that a section 278 highway agreement has to be agreed prior to commencement.
· Site is an existing housing estate and consist of four residential blocks separated by relatively large areas of open grassland and hardstanding and the estate currently includes 275 dwellings with a range of unit sizes and tenures.
· Site is not within a conservation area and does not contain any designated heritage assets, however there is a grade II listed building (the old ‘Lion’ pub)
· Members were advised that in land use terms, the scheme involves the re-provision and improvements to community infrastructure and 91 new high quality affordable housing units, all of which will be made available for social rent which is policy compliant
· Although the scheme will result in the reduction of amenity grassland, members were advised that there will be an overall increase in green space including a well considered landscape proposal with high quality playspace provision.
· The Planning Officer advised that Blocks A & B will be built on existing green space with some landscaping interventions while blocks C will be around where the existing community centre is located and Block D will be on the site of the existing MUGA
· Members were advised that following consultation with residents and an audit of the surrounding areas, it was agreed that there is a generous provision of playspace in and around the area, including extensive football facilities.
· Meeting was advised that Block A which is a part 6/7 storey building will provide 22 new dwellings, Block B will provide 23 new dwellings and Block C with a larger footprint will provide 29 dwellings. In addition, provision for larger families and wheel chair accessibility which is block D which is 4 storey high will accommodate 17 new dwellings
· A new space is proposed on the podiums at the centre of the estate defined by play and fitness opportunities, meeting the social spaces and new planting and trees. The existing MUGA and play area would be replaced by two play areas on the eastern and western podium
· Members were advised that all new dwellings will be for social renting with Islington council having nomination rights for 45 units and the remaining units will be for City of London.
· In terms of design, conservation and heritage considerations, the Planning Officer informed the meeting that the well-designed buildings will mediate successfully between the architecture of the existing estate and the built form of the surrounding streetscape.
· 952 letters were sent to neighbouring occupiers of which 36 objections were received. At the initial stage of the proposed scheme an online petition was initiated.
· One of the issues raised by existing residents was the impact of the scheme on neighbouring amenity, however the daylight and sunlight report concludes that 96% of all rooms will meet BRE guidelines for daylight distribution and 92% of windows will meet the VSC test as detailed in the report. With regards to the height and massing of the three blocks of the scheme, the Planning Officer advised that it is broadly accepted in principle, that the irregular size and shape of the buildings are sculpted to the specific conditions of their locations so as to allow views into the estate from York Way and ensure that the large greens are still visible, maintaining the estate’s sense of openness and to avoid direct overlooking and reduce overshadowing of existing buildings. Members were advised that the shape of the buildings also allows for all new units to be dual aspect.
· The Planning Officer reiterated that special regard has been given to the desirability of preserving the setting of the listed building and surrounding heritage assets and it is considered that the proposal would conserve the significance of surrounding heritage assets by being sympathetic to the assets significance and appreciation within their surroundings
· In terms of noise and pollution concerns, members were advised that although no objections have been received from the Council’s protection team, conditions 11-14 has been recommended to mitigate any noise and pollution impact as a result of the scheme.
· In addition, the Planning Officer noted that as the development is car free except for the wheel chair accessible units, the impact on local highway network or increase in air pollution would be minimised.
· In terms of noise during construction works, members were advised that a Construction and Management Plan has been submitted and approved as recommended in condition 5
· Members were advised that there are no concerns about the overdevelopment of the site and that it is accepted that it is not a significant issue
· In terms of anti-social behaviour and security concerns, meeting was advised that the proposal will result in an improvement to pedestrian routes and increase to passive surveillance. In addition, the Council officer has made submission and recommended condition 31
· Meeting was informed of a contribution of £83,812 towards offsetting carbon reduction and £60,000 towards highway improvements
· In response to a question on the requirements for mechanical ventilation for some of the units, the Planning Officer noted that this would be for some of the units fronting the busy York way and the south facing windows, that an assessment was undertaken on the requirement and a condition has been recommended to address this issue
· In response to a question regarding the dwellings allocated to Islington residents, the Panning officer informed that meeting that for the 45 units, this will be 1 x 4bed, 13x 2 bed, 14 x 3 bed and 17 x 1 bed
· Play spaces on the eastern podium will be for younger children up to8 years while the western podium will be for all ages, that the indicative layout shows a combination of swings, table tennis, gym equipment and other further details will be conditioned.
· Members were advised that the hard standing in the south eastern side of the estate which is currently used for car parking will be turned into landscape community garden and the other one on the central part of the estate will be converted into a playspace for all ages with a lot of soft landscaping interventions including planting of trees and shrubs.
· In response to the net loss of existing car parking on the estate, meeting was advised that no car parking will be provided, that a condition has been recommended removing the eligibility of new residents from being able to obtain new parking permits on the estate and the surrounding streets
· The meeting was advised that the development maximises the amount of permeable surfaces as stated on page 105 of the report, that condition 7 has been recommended which requires the applicant to demonstrate what more can be done to increase the permeable surfaces.
· In response to an enquiry on whether officers had taken into consideration the need to improve the existing buildings and to integrate the proposal more successfully into the existing estate, the Planning officer advised that although the landscaping improvement provides a form of integration, officers have recommended condition 34 which require improvements to the existing building’s entrances with a view to improving them aesthetically and functionally.
· In addition to the above, meeting was informed that City of London will be making significant improvements to the scheme which has been delayed due to Covid, that these improvements are not highlighted in the report being considered
· A member pointed out that the existing MUGA is a basketball facility, which sport is far less well provided for in the area.
· In response to a question why applicants had not taken the opportunity of re providing the same games facilities in particular the basketball court or hoops, the agent acknowledged that this can be reviewed as part of the landscaping of the area. The chair proposed that the landscape condition be amended to include exploring the option to include a basketball hoop as part of the play facilities.
· On the question of the benefit of the scheme, the meeting was advised that funding of this application was for provision for new social housing, and in terms of the existing residents, this is provided in the improvements to the public realm. Further estate-wide improvements including refurbishments of the existing building are planned in the coming year, but are part of a separate budget, and are not covered by the current application.
· On future works being communicated to residents, the meeting was advised that timelines of work are communicated via Newsletter and with any updates when work commenced.
· A member enquired whether the provision of refurbishment works to the existing housing on the site could be tied by condition to the construction of the new blocks. legal advice was that this would not be technically possible from a legal perspective.
Councillor Klute proposed a motion to grant planning permission subject to including an additional condition. This was seconded by Councillor Poyser 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 report and the additional condition outlined above; and subject to the prior completion of a Deed of Planning Obligation made under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 securing the heads of terms as set out in Appendix 1 of the officer report as amended above, the wording of which was delegated to officers; and subject to any direction by the Mayor of London to refuse the application or for it to be called in for determination by the Mayor of London.