Application for full planning
permission for the partial demolition of the existing building,
construction of two new floors, reconfiguration of floorspace and
renewal of the existing facades to provide new office floorspace
(Use Class E(g)), retail floorspace (Use Class E(a)&(b)), a
replacement public house (Sui Generis), alongside new access
arrangements, landscaping improvements, new public realm and other
(Planning application number:
The Chair informed Councillor McHugh that having left the room briefly while the item was being considered she could not participate in the deliberation and decision.
In the discussion the following points were made:
· The Planning Officer informed the meeting that since Committee papers were published objections were received from 5 local residents and also the Angel Association, the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society and Historic Building’s and Places, objecting on issues already addressed and outlined in the report, with the following additional points raised:
- That any impacts on the amenity of residents on Duncan Terrace should be considered within the context of the existing building at 391-393 City Road
- Additional impacts relating to noise and disturbance associated with the replacement public house and proposed plant equipment in particular air conditioning units would be unacceptable if not suitably controlled
- That the development should have more active frontages and should involve significant improvements to Torrens Street
- That a building that has been so recently constructed should not be demolished
· The Planning Officer informed the meeting of an amendment to condition 18, requesting a revised Fire Statement to address a number of minor issues regarding fire safety.
· Meeting was advised that the site is within London’s Central Activities Zone and is located within the Angel Town Centre and forms part of the Angel & Upper Street Special Policy Area.
· Members were informed that the proposal is not considered to cause harm to the character or appearance of surrounding heritage assets.
· In Land use terms, the Planning officer advised that the proposal would result in a 7,152sqm uplift of office floor space in London’s Central Activity Zone; a maximisation of commercial floor space in accordance with the NPPF, London Plan Policies and the adopted & emerging Local Plan; a 255sqm new retail unit with active frontages in the Angel Town Centre; the reprovision of the public house, 715sqm new affordable workspace fitted out to Cat A+ specification at peppercorn rent for 20 years and a substantial improvement to the public realm including improvements to Torrens Street and a route through to the High Street.
· Also on the site’s western elevation, at street level along Islington High Street, flexible retail uses (Class E (a) & (b)) are proposed which will introduce a new active frontage to the proposed development and the public house (Sui Generis) will be retained on the site’s south-eastern elevation, along Torrens Street.
· In addition to the above, the Planning Officer noted that the existing basement level would be retained and reconfigured providing space for on-site servicing, delivery and waste refuse vehicles. Cycle facilities are also proposed at lower ground level as well as the majority of the building’s plant machinery.
· Members were advised that on the upper ground levels, one through to six, the proposal will provide flexible office workspace (Class E (g) (i)) which is suitable for a range of tenants. On the lower and upper ground levels at the north-eastern side of the site, flexible affordable workspace is proposed.
· On the issue of the heritage matters, the Principal Urban Design Officer informed the meeting that although there have been request for the building to be classified as a non-designated heritage asset by Save Britain’s Heritage and the 20th C society, the application block is not considered to be an exemplar of postmodern architecture worthy of protection or retention. It is considered to fall well short of the qualities and characteristics that are evident in those that benefit from listing.
· Members were advised that Historic England, with responsibility for the consideration and listing of buildings of architectural historical and cultural merit over the last few years have listed 24 Postmodern buildings, the first being in 2016 with the most recent tranche in mid 2018, with such buildings being referred to as “bold, playful, and brightly coloured” that date from the late 1970s to the mid 1990s.
· The Officer highlighted 4 postmodern buildings to illustrate the standard of unique, bespoke, and joyous properties that contributed to their qualifying characteristics which resulted in the buildings being listed, and they include No 1 Poultry which like Angel Square is a large commercial building which occupies much of an urban block; The Circle, a large scale Mixed-use residential development with offices and commercial units; Isle of Dogs Pumping Station, 1988 and The Cambridge Judge Business School 1993, incorporating the former Addenbrooke’s Hospital.
· Members were advised that having analysed the qualities and characteristics of listed postmodern buildings, details which are highlighted in the report and those of the existing building, officers have found Angel Square wanting by comparison as it simply does not possess the extraordinary qualities of those postmodern buildings deemed eligible for listing by experts in the field.
· The Officer stated that the detailing of the existing building is in part clumsy, and clunky, particularly to parts of the roofscape, and the materials palette is somewhat ordinary with its predominantly yellow brickwork, pale stone, and render. In addition its fenestration is similarly very ordinary while its entrancing properties are particularly challenged.
· Members were advised that that the greatest failing of the existing building is its interface with the public realm which is particularly harsh as the pavement is tightly squeezed at what is an intensively used pedestrian route to and from transport nodes and to the commercial hearts of Angel and Upper Street, that Pedestrians jostle hard up to the heavily trafficked street edge with ensuing noise and air pollution.
· Other failings of the existing building highlighted are that the building edge to the High Street and its return to City Road is jagged with its varying setbacks and, protrusions, lightwells and vents, elements which are not conducive to pedestrian amenity, that there are very extensive runs of dead frontage; large scale, noisy and smelly extractors vent directly onto the pavement and therefore the pedestrian; that there is minimal entrancing and what there is, is of a poor standard of design; accessibility into the complex is challenged with a single, narrow ramp positioned to the side of the main high street entrance and the site is not permeable with the existing pedestrian route connecting Torrens Street with the High Street being narrow, circuitous, and closed to the public.
· The Officer reminded members that the Council’s emerging Local Plan which is nearing adoption and is a material consideration, that Site Allocation AUS 16 makes it clear that the Borough does not require the protection of the existing post-modern facade stating that ‘Development should seek improvements to the building facade and aim to achieve a more positive relationship with Islington High Street’.
· In summary, members were advised that for reasons stated above it is the view of officers that the existing building is not worthy of protection, including its classification as a non-designated heritage asset and that in line with emerging policy, Officers support its refurbishment, reconfiguration, extensions, and elevational simplification as proposed.
· Members were reminded that the proposed scheme will result in significant enhancements to the ground floor interface as demonstrated by an enlarged pavement to the high Street and City Road return creating a more attractive and useable pedestrian environment with a simplification of the building edge; new and additional entrances around the site all of which are fully accessible; multiple uses to the ground floor furthering animation; enhanced and publicly accessible pedestrian connection between Torrens Street and the High Street; a proposed pedestrian orientated treatment to the surface of Torrens Street and pavement.
· On height and massing concerns and in particular its impact on views, meeting was advised that the building is of a comparable storey height ambient to its neighbours and that given that it occupies a prominent position at the intersection of two primary routes, the relatively minor increase in height is considered appropriate relative to the scale and structure of the urban form.
· It was also noted that although the building lies within the St Paul’s Viewing corridor, the new roof profile is linear and does not compete with the animation or form of the dome and the towers of the cathedral, ensuring that its legibility remains readily appreciated.
Councillor Convery proposed a motion to grant planning permission subject to amendments to conditions noted above. This was seconded by Councillor Ibrahim 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 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;