To receive and consider the attached report of the Chief Planning Officer regarding an application for the change of use of land and buildings from B2 to B8 with 48 storage containers (retrospective application)
The report of the Chief Planning Officer presented an application for the retrospective change of use of land and buildings from B2 to B8 with 48 storage containers at St Ann’s Mills, Commercial Road, Kirkstall, Leeds.
Members attended a site visit prior to the meeting and site plans and photographs were displayed and referred to throughout the discussion of the application.
Further issues highlighted in relation to the application included the following:
· Members were informed of further representations that had been received from a local Ward Member. These included a lack of public consultation, insufficient engagement with the Environment Agency, breach of local byelaws and the expiry period of the consultation period. It was reported that there had been limited response to the consultation. The expiry period of the consultation was yet to expire and should fresh objections be made then the application would be referred back to Panel. With regard to the Environment Agency, they had not objected in the first instance and they did have opportunity to make representations regarding the byelaw issue. This was not likely to prevent development.
· The recommendation in the report was to be amended to recommend that the application be deferred and delegated to the Chief Planning Officer for approval subject to expiry of the consultation period and no new significant material consideration raised either through that process or by the Environment Agency.
· The site was previously the home of a textile mill and was used by a number of small businesses. The applications site was privately owned and formerly occupied by a single storey building which was destroyed by fire. The application site now housed 48 blue shipping style containers.
· There were concerns regarding the electric gate and positioning of some of the containers which were visible from the embankment. Conditions would be made for screening of the containers. The roadside sign would also have to be replaced with something more appropriate.
A local Ward Member addressed the Panel with concerns and objections regarding the application. These included the following:
· This was an ugly retrospective application in an area which local residents had worked to improve.
· It was felt that plans had not been published in accordance with legislation.
· There were discrepancies between ordnance survey maps and the applicant’s plans and the distance between the site and the goitside needed to be consistent.
· There had not been sufficient time for the Environment Agency to be consulted.
· In response to questions from Members the following was discussed:
o Development of the Kirsktall Neighbourhood Plan.
o There was no obstruction to any public rights of way.
o The screening was inadequate. The proposals would be more acceptable if the containers were hidden from view.
The applicant addressed the Panel. The following was highlighted:
· The land had been purchased two years ago and was initially used for caravan storage. There had been a request and demand for use of container storage.
· Prior to purchase the site was in disrepair and suffered from vandalism and fly tipping.
· Since the site was used for container storage, fly tipping had stopped.
· Seventy five percent of the containers were used by small business owners.
· The containers would be screened and the backs painted green to blend in with the surroundings.
In response to Members comments and questions, the following was discussed:
· Conditions to the application would include appropriate planting to screen the containers.
· Concern regarding retrospective applications.
RESOLVED – That the application be deferred and delegated approval to the Chief Planning Officer subject to expiry of the consultation period and there being no new significant material consideration raised either through that process or by the Environment Agency. Officers also to investigate further land ownership issue raised by Councillor Illingworth.