Demolition of existing part 1, part 2 storey community use building; the construction of 72 new dwellings with associated private amenity space for affordable and private homes, provided in three blocks of 13 storeys, 8 storeys, and 2 to 6 storeys, improvements to the public realm, the provision of a Medical Centre and a library, associated bicycle parking, mobility scooter stores, refuse stores and improvements to the public realm.
(Planning application number: P2022/1221/FUL)
In the discussion the following points were made:
· On the matter of why the proposal for this site to deliver a new entrance and internal route though the Archway Centre complex had been discounted, the Planning Officer reported that, during the pre-application debate, discussion had taken place about whether the link could be designed through the development. Firstly, the quality of the link across the different levels of the Archway Complex had been questioned and secondly, the aspiration for a library and a medical centre together with a link was not feasible.
· On the matter of the medical centre garden, a question was asked as to responsiblity for its maintenance and whether residents would have access. It was noted that the Medical Centre (NHS) would have responsibility for the garden. Residents would not have access to this garden.
· A question was asked about the substantial deviation from policy to allow 49% 2-bed and 51% 1-bed properties for market rent at this development. The Planning Officer noted that the GLA Housing SPG referred to the fact that specific Town Centre Sites might deviate from the more general housing mix standards and, in a town centre with this high accessibility, family units were less preferred and 1-bed units were in greater demand and more suitable to that location.
· The wind impact of this building on Vorley Road meant that wind conditions would be the same in summer and windier in winter. However, all of the function of the street in those locations would be suitable for the activity in that area and the entrances would not be affected.
· A question was asked as to whether any action had been taken by the developer to mitigate the design and height of the plant room, which could be seen from Holloway Road. The plant room was set back from the parapet and it was not thought that it could readily be seen, though it might be visible from Junction Road. A condition had been added to make the design more ephemeral and to look less solid.
· A question was asked about how the reduction in car parking spaces at this site might impact on the surrounding area and whether there would be provision for blue badge spaces in the surrounding area and any spaces available on the site. The Planning Officer reported that there would be space for ambulance parking and various other bays could be accommodated in the transport statement. Two blue badge spaces would be available from the outset and, if there was demand, five further spaces would be available.
· On the question of how residents would access the children’s play space in Girdlestone Park, the Planning Officer reported that the children’s play space was not actually within the site. A financial contribution would be made to Islington Parks who would have to carry out their own consultation and design process to upgrade the play space and ball court. Public realm improvements would be made to enable pedestrian access and safety to the play space.
· All units were for social rent, rather than a mix of social rent and shared ownership. It was noted that the fit-out of the library was not fully funded as part of the scheme. Some elements of the fit out of the library, including kitchens, bathrooms and toilets would be included by the developer. The developer was in discussion with the Head of the Library Service about the potential use of further S106 monies for furniture and fittings and new books.
· On the matter of decisions being made about which parts of the buildings were to be for social and private rent, the Committee noted that Buildings A and C, the smaller buildings either side of the taller building B, would be for social rent. There would be one unit for social rent in building B at the lower level. This was because, when the developer had looked at their viability range for the possibility of providing an over 50% mix, they had provided more than they were required to do so and had chosen block B as the best location for this one unit.
· The Committee noted the applicant’s submissions on the benefits of the development. In response to points raised by objectors, the applicant stated that the wind micro-climate had been assessed and it was likely that there would be slightly more windy conditions created by the development, including on the clean air route, but most locations remained suitable for their intended pedestrian activity. Daylight/sunlight impacts would generally be small and fully compliant within BRE guidelines. However, an internal corner of Hill House would be impacted in terms of daylight/sunlight. Nos 32-34 Junction Road would experience notable loss of light in bedrooms. The massing of the building had been cut back to minimise impact. Transport impacts had been subject to detailed consideration by a transport consultant and there would be adequate parking for local residents within 200 metres of the development. Comprehensive consultation with residents had taken place, including letters to 1800 addresses, public meetings and questionnaires.
· On sale of the flats, there would be a long lead in period as they would not be available for another two to three years. The process had to be carefully managed to support the Council’s social housing scheme.
· It was thought that there was sufficient control in terms of existing planning regulations to obviate the need for an additional condition relating to the medical centre and library not having to move until the building was fully used
· On the matter of whether there were any future plans to maximise further social housing on the site, the applicant stated that the development was not GLA grant-funded, but funded via right to buy receipts and the surplus from any sales.
· On the matter of sales, it was confirmed that this development would provide better quality 1-bedroom properties. Building costs were increasing across the board. The viability of sales of the properties was being monitored at various stages and was being carefully managed by the Council
· There were no separate entrances to the shared social/private rent properties in blocks A and B. Block C had a separate entrance due to the medical centre being on the first floor. There would be no distinction between private rent/social housing in these buildings. In order to minimise service charges for social rent tenants, they would be situated on the lower floors
· On the matter of community engagement around the application, comments had been made about the tall building on the site, there had also been support for social rent homes and also the community uses proposed. Very few objections had been received to the Council’s consultation on the site allocation plan for a tall building.
· Referring to a point made by one of the objectors relating to the Archway Development Framework, the Planning Officer noted that the document dated back to 2007 and, since then, the Core Strategy had been adopted in 2011, which included a strategy for Archway itself and also the draft Local Plan and draft site allocation which had moderate to significant weight which included a specific strategy for Archway
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 Directors’ Letter between the council and all persons with an interest in the land (including mortgagees) securing the heads of terms as set out in Appendix 1 of the officer report; 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.