To consider a report by the Chief Planning Officer which sets out details of an application which seeks the demolition of existing buildings and structures and redevelopment of the site for a mixed-use development comprising up to 263 residential units (Use Class C3) and flexible commercial floorspace (Use Class A1, A2 or B1a); together with associated vehicular access, car and cycle parking spaces, bin stores, plant, landscaping, amenity space and associated infrastructure and engineering works on land at Kirkstall Hill, Kirkstall, Leeds LS5 3BH.
The Chief Planning Officer submitted a report which sets out details of an application which sought the demolition of existing buildings and structures and redevelopment of the site for a mixed-use development comprising up to 263 residential units (Use class C3) and flexible commercial floor-space (Use class A1, A2 or B1a) together with associated vehicular access, car and cycle parking spaces, bin store, plant, landscaping, amenity space and associated infrastructure and engineering works on land at Kirkstall Hill, Kirkstall, Leeds, LS5 3BH.
Site photographs and plans were displayed and referred to throughout the discussion of the application.
Planning Officers addressed the Panel, speaking in detail about the proposal and highlighted the following:
· Site/ location/context
· Former Super Market site together with a number of vacant buildings in a state of disrepair
· Main access to the site is taken from Beecroft Street
· The proposal 263 dwellings with a mixture of house types: Apartments 183, Townhouses 80
· Residential blocks 3 storey’s in height
· Stepped design in response to the level changes across the site.
· Commercial units along Kirkstall Hill/Lane providing active frontage
· The landscaping plan proposes hedge planting, amenity grass, wildflower areas, allotment planters and rain gardens
· Undercroft parking and on-street parking 231 spaces
· Cycle parking 310 spaces
· Materials red brick with stone accents, roof materials grey slate, timber windows reflecting the heritage of the area
· Affordable housing provision 13.6%
· Viability issues
The Panel heard from Councillor J Illingworth (Ward Member) and Mr S Long, a local resident, both were objecting to the proposal.
Councillor Illingworth said that originally Kirkstall Ward Members were supportive of the scheme but engagement with Ward Members and the local community had ceased with a number of outstanding issues still to be addressed. Ward Members now suggested that Panel consider deferral of the application to allow further discussions with the applicant in respect of insufficient affordable housing provision, insufficient on-site greenspace provision and highway safety concerns.
Mr Long said the proposal included a large number of flats, the area did not need any more flats, more family housing was required and the development’s design also needed to be considered in more detail. Mr Long said traffic generation continued to be a concern and improvements were required at the junction of Kirkstall Lane and Kirkstall Road as traffic congestion would otherwise be increased. Further, Yorkshire Water have lodged an objection and it is the case that the existing sewerage provision will not be sufficient once the development is complete.
Questions to Councillor J Illingworth
There were no questions to Councillor J Illingworth
Questions to Mr S Long
· What was the view of local residents with regard to this application
· How was it felt that the development would impact on Kirkstall Abbey
In responding Mr S Long said;
· There was resentment in the local area to the application
· Images had not been provided by the developer which indicated how the proposals would ‘sit’ within the background of Kirkstall Abbey, but there was the potential for it to interfere with historic viewpoints
In response, the Panel heard from Mr C Wilding, applicant’s representative who was speaking in support of the proposal.
Mr Wilding said he welcomed the report recommendation which followed a 12 month consultation with the local community (both pre- and post-submission). He said two workshops had been held in the area to explain the proposals and address any concerns raised. He said the development site was challenging with changing levels across the site. The development would deliver some family housing but the proportion of flats was required to maintain a viable scheme and would include affordable housing provision at 13.6% (36 units) now that positive negotiations had taken place with a Housing Association. Technically the proposals met the quantum of Greenspace provision required by the Council’s policies although it was recognised that the space was fragmented across the site and in some cases had challenging levels. The parking levels were set to encourage use of more sustainable transport modes in this accessible location. He suggested this site provided an opportunity to create an attractive/innovative design, the developers would also seek to achieve high standards in energy reduction.
Questions to Mr Wilding;
· While the on-screen images provided were small, there appeared to be a lot of red brick, what will be the architectural treatment to avoid a bland appearance
· Could the contribution of £10,000 for off-site greenspace enhancement be increased
· The proposed undercroft parking, was there a potential pollution risk in terms of poor air quality
· Why are more commercial units/shops being proposed, nearby shops already exist
· The existing stone wall on site, could this be retained
· Why were so many flats being proposed
· In terms of viability, had any other models been considered
· Is it appropriate to locate all the affordable housing in two blocks
· Would the external spaces be fully accessible
· Can a bus lane be provided by widening Kirkstall Road
· Had realignment of the scheme been considered to complement the historic neighbouring properties
· The Courtyard and communal space, would these areas be managed and would there be a management fee.
· What discussions had taken place with Ward Councillors
· There would a canyon effect along Kirkstall Road with poor air quality when traffic builds up at the junction with Kirkstall Lane
· Would the pedestrian crossing be improved at nearby junctions
In responding Mr Wilding said:
· The materials would be subject to condition so there was an opportunity for further discussions/negotiations with officers. However it was considered that the detailed treatment of the elevations including the treatment of bays, window reveals and the stepped roofline along the rise of the hill would provide visual interest (with enlarged images shown in the Committee Room being referred to at this stage)
· Due to the viability position and the requirement for other contributions such as affordable housing and CIL it was not possible to increase the off-site greenspace contribution. However the developer was willing to work with the Council to lever in grants towards the enhancement of the adjacent council owned greenspace. The undercroft parking would include the infrastructure for 100% electric charging points and would also be mechanically ventilated
· Due to the levels across the site there was surplus undercroft areas where it was the intention to provide flexible working or commercial space
· Members were informed that it was unlikely the wall would be retained intact in situ due to the need to provide safe working conditions but the stone materials could be reused elsewhere on site
· Members were informed that the intention was to provide a good housing mix across the site but the challenging gradients meant it was more appropriate and viable to provide the majority of the units as flats.
· It was reported that a Build to Rent (BtR) model had been considered, but BtR was less viable in this case and would have resulted in less family accommodation
· The Housing Association that is going to take the affordable units will also be taking the commercial space beneath one of the blocks for their management function and they prefer to see all affordable units located in one place for more efficient management purposes
· The external gradients are challenging and therefore ramps and lifts will need to be provided to provide full accessibility
· An area of land would be provided along Kirkstall Road for road widening purposes which could be used as a bus lane close to the junction with Kirkstall Road if considered necessary
· Members were informed that providing accommodation on the historic alignment across the site had been considered but the view of the architect was that the resulting streets would have been too steep to meet current accessibility requirements
· The communal areas, landscaping and connectivity would be managed by a company that would be funded by a service charge on the accommodation.
· The Ward Councillors were fully consulted prior to submission of the formal application. There were several meetings with ward members, two public meetings and a public web site but there was a “step back” once the application was submitted. If approved the applicant would look to work with Ward Members to discuss greenspace improvements.
· The additional car movements from the development would be small. However, it was important to have robust travel plan measures to encourage people to travel more sustainably and to avoid a worsening of traffic conditions. The Council’s Environmental Health Officers had not objected to the proposals on air quality grounds.
· There were existing pedestrian crossings at all the nearby junctions and plans for further improvements for pedestrian connectivity as part of a major highway improvement scheme with the proposed development.
Questions to Officers
· Would there be additional traffic generation as a consequence of this development
· Poor air quality had been raised as a concern
· Were there any bus and cycle interventions proposed
In responding to the issues raised, Planning Officers/ the applicant’s representatives said:
· The LCC Highway Officer said this development would not have a significant impact on the highway network, with this being envisaged as less than that which would have been generated if any office or commercial use of the site had come forward
· Any Travel Plan put in place would be reviewed and monitored by Highways on an ongoing basis, which ensures it is robust and appropriately enforced to ensure a sustainable approach to transport is introduced and maintained
· Environmental Studies into air quality had raised no objections
· Members were informed that a wider footpath would ease problems at the bus stop
In offering comments Members raised the following matters:
· A number of Members expressed the view that the highway network within the area was already at full capacity and could the issue of highway infrastructure be looked at further.
Officers advised that the recommendation in the report could be amended to require officers to negotiate provision of enhanced green walls and planting along Beecroft Street and near block E, pursue reuse of the stone wall material and incorporate an overage clause in the Section 106 agreement pursuant to the requested delegated authority.
Following discussion and a vote, the majority of Members were supportive of the officer recommendation as amended above.
The Chair thanked the developers for their attendance and presentation, commenting that Members were supportive of the application but materials from the existing stone wall should be reused, more greenery and perimeter planting was required and that the inclusion of an overage clause was required in the Section 106 agreement.
(i) That the application be deferred and delegated to the Chief Planning Officer for approval subject to the conditions specified in the submitted report (and any others which he might consider appropriate) subject to materials from the existing stone wall being re-used, provision of more greenery and perimeter planting, and inclusion of an overage clause in the Section 106 agreement and following the completion of a Section 106 Agreement.
The Section 106 Agreement to include the following obligations (and any other if considered necessary and appropriate, including the provision noted above):
· Provision for 13.6% affordable housing
· Travel Plan Fund of £131,632 + Travel Plan Monitoring Fee £3978
· Car Club Space £7000
· Off-site Greenspace enhancement of £10,000
· Local employment and skills initiative
· Parking Control Zone
(ii) In the event of the Section 106 Agreement having not been completed within 3 months of the resolution to grant planning permission, the final determination of the application shall be delegated to the Chief Planning Officer.