Agenda item

Application No. 19/05833/FU - Retrospective permission for temporary use (5 years) as a car park and associated site works at site of the former White Stag Public House, Whitelock Street, Sheepscar, Leeds, LS7 1AL

To consider a report by the Chief Planning Officer which sets out details of an application which seeks full retrospective planning permission for temporary use (5 years) as a car park and associated site works at site of the former White Stag Public House, Whitelock Street, Sheepscar, Leeds, LS7 1AL



(Report attached)


The Chief Planning Officer submitted a report which set out details of an application which sought full retrospective planning permission for temporary use (5 years) as a car park and associated site works at site of the former White Stag Public House, Whitelock Street, Sheepscar, Leeds, LS7 1AL


Site photographs and plans were displayed and referred to throughout the discussion of the application.


The City Centre Team Leader addressed the Panel, speaking in detail about the proposal and highlighted the following:


·  Site / location / context

·  The site is approximately 900sqm and is unallocated within the Development Plan

·  The proposal is to regularise the current unauthorised use as car parking, hosting 21 car parking spaces with a further 6 car parking bays intended for car share use (The unauthorised car park use had been operating since December 2018)

·  The current operation provides staff car parking to near-by Northgate House, who consider this to be “Private Non Residential (PNR) parking provision

·  The office use associated with the users of the car parking is not considered unique

·  The car park site is located within the “Fringe Area” of the parking zones designated in the Leeds Parking SDP

·  Access to the site is from Sheepscar Grove

·  The main public car parks within the vicinity of the site have capacity for 4600 vehicles

·  The site is located to near-by public transport provision


The City Centre Team Leader explained that the report of the Chief Planning Officer recommended refusal of the application because the use of the car park would undermine the Councils objectives to restrict commuter car parking and private non-residential car parking in this central location and reduce reliance on the private car, minimise road congestion and promote more sustainable modes of transport contrary to Core Strategy Policies T1 and T2 and Leeds City Council’s Parking SPD


The Panel heard from Mr David Smith (Applicant’s Representative) and Councillor Abigail Marshall-Katung (Local Ward Councillor) who spoke in support of the proposal


Mr Smith said the officer’s report to Panel was a detailed and balanced assessment of the proposal and the applicant did understand the reasons why the report was being recommended for refusal, However, Park Lane Properties believe there is some flexibility in this instance. The flexible approach is consistence with Policy LPP3 which is permissive of a temporary car park in this fringe area. The Park Lane Group had been operating from their current office location since 2018 and it was acknowledged by the applicant that regularising the use of the land as a car park was an oversight. Due to the nature of the business above average car parking was required. Staff working across the individual brands under the Parklane umbrella need to visit other locations across the country, often at short notice and return with ease, without the need to forward plan such visits, leading to unpredictable staff movements.


Mr Smith said the use of the former White Stag site as a temporary car park for five years was key to the success of the Company’s operations. Currently

only 4 spaces were available to Park Lane Properties within Northgate House’s undercroft car park. Mr Smith expressed concern about crime within the area (both to person and vehicle) and said the proximity and management of the car park may assist in mitigating such issues.


The applicant also suggested that the temporary provision of a car park would allow time for the bedding in of a travel plan to run in tandem with the duration of the permission, seeking to reduce the business’s dependency on car travel.


Councillor A Marshall-Katung said the Little London and Woodhouse ward suffers from parking issues because of its close proximity to the city centre. She said we had already heard that the company had a number of offices around the country which necessitates travel to and from the Leeds based Head Office, having dedicated parking for the company would be a valued added benefit.


Members were informed there were high levels of crime in the area and it was a concern to the Park Lane Group. As the Ward Councillor for the area Councillor Marshall-Katung said she could understand why they want this dedicated parking area, which is not permanent parking but only a temporary solution, this land is already owned by the company and it is intended that this land would be developed in the future.


The covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on not just this company but also others in the area, granting this application would assist the company in recovering from the pandemic.


Questions to Mr D Smith (Applicant Representative) and Councillor A Marshall-Katung:


·  The application is recommended for refusal, why do the reasons you’ve put forward for granting the application i.e. the implications of Covid 19, outweigh the reasons of refusal

·  The application is seeking temporary permission for 5 years, would you consider a less period of time e.g. 3 years


In responding Mr D Smith and Councillor A Marshall-Katung said


·  As a consequence of the Coronavirus many people are worried about travelling on public transport and would prefer to use their own vehicles when travelling from one site to another

·  The applicant’s representative confirmed that it may be possible to reduce the proposed temporary 5 year period, an assessment of use would need to be undertaken


The Chair thanked Mr D Smith and Councillor A Marshall-Katung for their attendance and contributions.


Members raised the following questions to officers:


·  Had officers considered the implications of the covid pandemic

·  If the application was to be refused, as recommended, it could lead to parking elsewhere in the area, could officers work with the Developer to seek a reduction to the requested 5 year period to allow travel planning measures to be established


In responding to the issues raised, officers said:


·  Although the covid pandemic has seen a fall in the use of public transport in the short term the long term implications of the pandemic are unknown and  the City Council has a well established and long term Transport Strategy which seeks to restrict growth in the use of the private car in favour of promoting more sustainable modes of transport, improving air quality and minimising road congestion. If the application was to be granted it would undermine those long term principles.

·  Officers had noted the submission of a travel plan but it was difficult to achieve good travel habits and attain targets whilst employees have access to free car parking. Public car parking facilities were available in the area together with other, more sustainable public transport options. Therefore the proposal for a temporary consent whilst travel plan measures are established is not considered to outweigh the adverse impact on the council’s adopted transport strategy


In offering comments Members raised the following issues:


·  One Member was supportive of the Council’s objectives to restrict commuter parking, the concerns about travelling on public transport during a pandemic were insufficient

·  Although normally supportive of the Council’s objectives, other Members had concerns about using public transport during a pandemic

·  One Member suggested that Government advice was to avoid public transport

·  A number of Members expressed the view that the bus and train companies had provided a valuable Service in difficult times, suggesting that some people had no other options but to use public transport and it was the wrong message to deter people from using public transport 

·  The majority of Members were supportive of a suggestion to grant temporary planning permission for a 3 year period rather than 5 


It was moved and seconded that the application be granted for a temporary period of 3 years subject to the inclusion of a robust travel plan and monitoring fee.


Upon being put to the vote, the motion was passed 12 votes to 1


RESOLVED – That the application be granted for a temporary period of 3 years subject to the inclusion of a robust travel plan and monitoring fee.


Supporting documents: