To consider a report by the Chief Planning Officer which sets out details of an application which seeks permission for the construction of five buildings ranging from 13 storeys to 31 storeys and consisting of 678 apartments (C3), residential amenity areas, commercial units (A1, A2, A3, A4, B1 and / or D2) and associated car parking; public realm and landscaping; access and servicing arrangements; and other associated works at Bridge Street, Gower Street, New York Road and Regent Street, Leeds LS2 7QZ
Members considered a report by the Chief Planning Officer which set out details of an application which sought permission for the construction of five buildings ranging from 13 storeys to 31 storeys and consisting of 678 apartments (C3), residential amenity areas, commercial units (A1, A2, A3, A4, B1 and / or D2) and associated car parking; public realm and landscaping; access and servicing arrangements; and other associated works at Bridge Street, Gower Street, New York Road and Regent Street, Leeds LS2 7QZ
Site photographs and plans were displayed and referred to throughout the discussion of the application.
The Planning case officer addressed the Panel, speaking in detail about the proposal and highlighted the following:
· Site / location / context
· Site history
· The proposal - A residential-led development comprising 678 apartments in five buildings with commercial space at ground floor,
basement parking and new public realm running through the heart of the development providing a new pedestrian link between Bridge Street and Regent Street.
· Existing hotel phase
· Public realm/ street scene
· Landscaping, provision of green walls (Hotel)
· External communal space, provision of courtyard area
· Detailed highway proposals
· Car parking provision/ Service area
· Commercial use at ground floor level
· 678 residential apartments, all compliant with space standards
· Elevational details
· Materials – Glazing/ aluminium, grid pattern, use of grey brick
· Provision of electric car charging points (100%)
Members raised the following questions to officers:
· The provision of a green wall was welcomed, but how would it be maintained
· The commuted sum associated with the affordable housing provision, the cost per unit appeared to be on the low side
· By providing an off-site commuted sum there was no social value associated with this development
· Referring to the housing mix Policy H4, Members queried why this particular policy was not relevant for this application in terms of 3 bedroom apartments.
· Members queried the provision of trees and shrubs in planters suggesting that without adequate room for the roots to grow they may struggle to survive. Also trees located in the upper levels would require regular irrigation. What species of trees/ shrubs was proposed for the development.
· The proposed brickwork appeared to be quite dark, could it be lightened
· The pedestrian routes through the site, would they be open to all, not just residents
In responding to the issues raised, officers said:
· The Planning Case Officer said the maintenance of the green wall would be included within the Landscape Management Plan
· Members were informed that the commuted sum figure did not represent the total cost of a unit but the difference in value between the general market value of the unit and the value of the unit with its affordable housing restrictions (the difference being £3,101,783)
· The provision of an off-site commuted sum was an accepted policy position for Build to Rent developments and provided options for developers in terms of affordable housing provision (Developers do not need to justify their choice)
· The Planning Case Officer said Policy H4 was relevant and had been considered at the pre-application stage, the final application was supported by a Housing Needs Assessment and was consistent with what was already being delivered around the city.
· Members were informed that trees planted at ground level would be in the ground, tree in planters would be provided with adequate space. Public realm and landscaping would be conditioned by a maintenance & Management Plan which would also include an irrigation plan to achieve longevity. Trees /shrubs species to include: Maple, Paper Bark Maple, Fastigiate Beech, Sweet Gum, Holm Oak, Small Leaved Lime, Fastigiate Elm, Service Berry, Red Bud Forest Pansy, Flowering Dogwood and Olive.
· The Architect suggested there was some dark brickwork referenced to the hotel, but the significant amount of glazing on the building would create a light appearance. Further discussions would take place with Officers to ensure the appropriate brickwork was provided.
· The Planning Case Officer confirmed that all pedestrian routes would be open to the public
In offering comments Members raised the following issues:
· In general Members were supportive of the application suggesting this was a good design and would bring life to this location of the city
· Members welcomed the inclusion of green walls
· Members were supportive of the public realm and connectivity proposals
· Could further work be undertaken on the type/ colour of materials to be used (the viewing of sample panels would be useful)
· There was some disquiet about the affordable housing policy, a small number of Members calling for the policy to be reviewed. It was suggested that the Chair on behalf of the Panel be requested to write to the Executive Member responsible and Chair of Development Plans Panel requesting a review of the Affordable Housing Policy for Build to Rent development, Members were supportive of the suggestion.
In drawing the discussion to a conclusion, the Chair suggested there appeared to be a lot of support for this development.
It was moved and seconded that the application be approved in accordance with the report recommendation.
Upon being put to the vote, the motion was passed unanimously.
(i) That the application be deferred and delegated to the Chief Planning Officer for approval subject to the specified conditions set out in Appendix No. 2 of the submitted report (and any amendment to these and addition of others which he might consider appropriate) and the completion of a Section 106 agreement to include the following obligations:
· Provision of build to rent dwellings and a commuted sum of £3,101,783 to provide off-site affordable housing;
· Residential Travel Plan Fund contribution of £169,669.50 to encourage the use of sustainable travel modes by the residents of the apartments;
· Compliance with agreed Travel Plan measures and a travel plan review fee of £7,684
· Contribution of £259,000 towards off-site highway works at the junction of Regent Street and Mabgate;
· Revenue compensation for loss of Pay & Display bays £12,035 per bay;
· Contribution of £202,497.17 to provide off-site greenspace;
· Public access through the public realm;
· Local employment and training initiatives; and
· Section 106 monitoring fee £7,800.
(ii) In the event of the Section 106 Agreement not having 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.
(iii) That the Chair on behalf of the Panel be requested to write to the Executive Member responsible and Chair of Development Plans Panel requesting a review of the Affordable Housing Policy for Build to Rent development.