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Agenda item

Central Foundation School. 15 Cowper Street, London EC2A 4SH


Application to vary Conditions 2 (Approved drawings), 4 (Details and Samples), 13 (Energy Strategy - School Site), 14 (Energy Strategy - Commercial Site), 16 (PV Panels), and 19 (Cycle Parking) of planning application ref: P2022/1001/S73, dated 23/12/2022 (Application to vary condition 2 (Approved drawings) of planning application ref: P2019/3572/S73 dated 28 July 2020 for: (Demolition of existing Block B and erection of a replacement four storey building to provide science teaching facilities; alteration and refurbishment of the Tabernacle Building; development of a partially sunken sports hall within the school courtyard; improvements and alterations to existing school buildings including listed buildings; demolition of the existing former sixth form block on Tabernacle Street and erection of an eight storey office (Use Class B1a) building; landscaping and associated works.). The applicant seeks to vary these conditions to allow for revisions to the commercial element of the development, comprising new design, materiality and layouts as well as an updated energy strategy and amendments to the end of journey facilities.


(Planning application number: P2023/2279/S73)


In the discussion the following points were made:

  • The Planning Officer told the Committee that the application was for a material amendment (under section 73) to the previous planning permission, specifically to the consented commercial development located at the eastern end of the site, in addition to a revised design approach amending the façade design and slightly increasing the height and massing, introduction of a roof terrace for improved amenity offer, and improvements to end-of-journey facilities, cycle parking and sustainability.
  • The Planning Officer had also noted that there had been some amendments to wording of some conditions to make it clear what was the responsibility of the school and what was the responsibility of the developer, but no changes had been made to the scheme that was presented to members.
  • The Planning Officer informed the meeting that the site was located within the Bunhill Fields and Finsbury Square Conservation Area (CA22), an Archaeological Priority Area, the Central Activities Zone (CAZ) and the ‘Inner Core’ of the City Fringe Opportunity Area. Although there were listed buildings within the wider site, the subject building however, was not a listed building. Officers were satisfied that the roof access would not be visible from public level.
  • The Planning Officer also noted that the proposals were in keeping with the consented scheme, although there was an uplift in floor space on the consented scheme due to internal layouts and the proposed roof terrace.
  • The Planning Officer advised that whilst no amendments had been made in terms of additional storeys other than that to the lift overruns and the staircase, there was a slight increase in terms of the building’s height due to the roof terrace and additional plant equipment, but this would not result in a noticeably taller or more imposing building compared with the consented scheme. The Council’s Design & Conservation Officer had reviewed the proposal and was not of the view that it would adversely impact heritage assets.
  • The meeting was informed that the development was an enabling development that had allowed the school to carry out improvement works.
  • The proposed facade proportions were more in keeping with street frontage and proposed frontage to the street level and was an improvement on the consented scheme.
  • The proposed useable area of the roof terrace had been significantly recessed, would not be located in close proximity to neighbouring residential properties and therefore would not result in any material increases in overlooking to residential properties or the school. Additionally, an operation management plan had also been submitted, to manage the roof terrace.
  • The Planning Officer advised that although the urban greening factor was below policy, it was considered an improvement on consented scheme. Other proposed improvements included the use of air source heat pumps.
  • In response to questions from the Committee about whether it was appropriate for the space to overlook the school’s communal area, the meeting was informed that this was at the request of the school, and they had provided two letters in support.
  • In response to a question from the Committee seeking confirmation that the Design & Conservation Officer was fully satisfied with the amendments proposed, the Committee were advised that this was the case, and that the proposed amendments were more in keeping with the locality than the consented scheme.
  • In response to questions from the Committee about whether more Section 73 amendments could be expected, the applicant advised that they didn’t expect to make any further changes, and the reason for this amendment was because of their commitment to making sure the building was viable and as effective as it could be. The applicant also highlighted their close working relationship with the school on all aspects, including the design, and cited their letters of support as evidence of their satisfaction with the scheme. 


Councillor Poyser 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 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.

Supporting documents: