Refurbishment of existing buildings; partial demolition and infill extensions to the southern, northern courtyard and western elevations at ground, first, second, third and fourth floor level and one storey roof extensions to provide additional Class E(g)(i) Office floorspace at Times House; removal of plant room and entrance, alteration to the elevations and enlargement of existing windows to Laundry Building; further works include the provision of three flexible Food and Drink (Class E (b)) and/or Bar/Drinking Establishment (Sui Generis) units, and four Retail (Class E (a)) units at ground floor level; provision of outdoor terraces at first, fourth and fifth floor levels, basement cycle storage and associated facilities, green roofs, plant at basement and roof level; public realm works to Laundry Yard and infrastructure and related works, and new cycle parking on Caledonia Street.
(Planning application number: P2021/2269/FUL)
In the discussion the following points were made:
· The Planning Officer reminded the meeting that item was deferred from the meeting of 22 February 2022 that Members expressed similar concerns raised with the Jahn court application.
· Item was deferred in order for the applicant to review the massing of the building in order for betterments to the daylight and sunlight transgressions, to reduce perceived harm to neighbouring amenity and to reduce the heritage impacts.
· Meeting was advised that since report was published officers had received one further representations however officers were of the view that issues were not of material considerations and had already been covered in the report.
· The Planning Officer advised that if planning permission is granted by Committee, an Estate Management Plan to protect the amenity of neighbouring residential amenity is to be included, highlighting in particular the management arrangement for the ground floor commercial uses within Times House and Laundry Buildings
· Meeting was advised that the building massing has now been reduced by setting back the floors and floor uplift reduced by 164sqm. In addition members were advised that in light of the reductions and revisions to the scheme it is noticeable that there are few transgressions with regards to daylight and sunlight impacts. The revised scheme has also secured an improved affordable workspace with an extended lease from 10years to 20 years, an uplift of space by 15% on this site.
· With regards to residents objections to loss of informal cycle storage, the meeting was advised that scheme now provides 10 dedicated cycle spaces within the basement of Times House for the residents of Regents Quarter to be secured by condition.
· The Planning Officer advised that in light of the above revisions, officers have re assessed the planning balance of the scheme and have concluded that the adverse impacts of the development is now reduced, that the scheme will cause less than substantial harm to heritage assets, that a reduction in height will reduce neighbouring amenity impacts and is now closer to BRE compliance in terms of its impact on daylight received by windows and rooms. The Planning Officer reiterated some of the benefits of the scheme in particular an uplift in commercial floor space, flexible active use unit and greater activation of York Way and on-site Affordable workspace unit for a longer lease from 10years to 20 years
· Members were also reminded that in comparison with the previous scheme of February 22, the visibility from Caledonia Road and public realm is significantly reduced.
· Objector was concerned that the scheme still remains unsympathetic to neighbouring listed building, with no plans to mitigate noise and pollution concerns or a potential increase in the footfall. Objector was concerned that in light of the ongoing anti-social activities around the area, the scheme fails to sufficiently address it especially as licensing conditions attached to retail units and drinking establishments were not being enforced. In addition objector was disappointed with the lack of consultation with residents despite committee’s suggestion at the previous meeting. Objector noted that scheme fails to meet both the Council’s greening and emission targets for delivering a greener and cleaner community, requesting the committee to refuse granting planning permission.
· Another objector was concerned that precedence was being set if scheme is granted planning permission, noting that it is an overdeveloped site which will result in no benefit for both Jahn Court and Times House residents. Objector questioned the need for office space reminding members of post covid times and changes to working arrangements and nearby vacant office buildings as evidence of no justification for the scheme.
· Another resident representing a local resident group noted that the revised application before committee was not informed by any input provided from the 40 residents. The objector reiterated earlier objectors concerns of no demand for office space, that the scheme fails to address the concerns of businesses on Caledonia road as it introduces more competition in an area where most businesses are struggling and the loss of cycle spaces could not be viewed as beneficial to residents.
· In response the agent indicated that the team had taken on board resident’s and stakeholder’s concerns and had made changes as requested by the Committee. The agent reiterated the key amendments to the scheme, noting the reduction of height and massing, that in general there has been a reduction across the building of 0.5metres. The agent stated that in light of the reductions to the height and massing, there has been a significant improvement to daylight sunlight levels to the surrounding residential properties.
· On the issue of service charges raised by objectors regarding cycle storage, the agent acknowledged that in light of the revised scheme and the provision of cycle spaces, charging arrangements will be revisited going forward.
· During deliberation, the Chair reminded the meeting that the issues with this application are similar to Jahn Court, acknowledging that the reduction in height and massing has had a significant impact in terms of visual impact
· A Member welcomed the provision of affordable workspace and the extended lease, that the daylight and sunlight concerns had been addressed and that the few transgressions is to be welcomed.
· Member reiterated an earlier suggestion that the wording of the Estate Management plan be reworded to that similar to the Jahn Court application so as to protect the amenity of neighbouring residential occupiers.
Councillor Klute proposed a motion to grant planning permission. This was seconded by Councillor North 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.