To consider a report by the Chief Planning Officer which sets out details of a Pre Application Presentation which seeks the demolition of the existing building and structures and the redevelopment of the site for residential dwellings (use class C3), flexible commercial space (use classes E and F1) and associated refuse and plant infrastructure, landscaping, new public realm and open space at the former Arla Foods site, 87 – 91 Kirkstall Road, Burley, Leeds, LS3 1HS.
The Chief Planning Officer submitted a report which set out details of a
pre-application presentation which sought the demolition of the existing building and structures and the redevelopment of the site for residential dwellings (use class C3), flexible commercial space (use classes E and F1) and associated refuse and plant infrastructure, landscaping, new public realm and open space at the former Arla Foods site, 87 – 91 Kirkstall Road, Burley, Leeds 3.
Site photographs and plans were displayed and referred to throughout the discussion of the application.
The applicant’s representatives addressed the Panel, speaking in detail about the proposal and highlighted the following:
· Site / location / context
· Former Arla Foods site on the south side of Kirkstall Road
· Commercial units on the northern side of Kirkstall Road, further commercial units are located to the south-east of the site
· To the south of the site is the Leeds-Liverpool Canal
· The “L” shaped site is 2.07 hectares (Vacant brown field site) located in a flood zone area
· Demolition of the existing building and structures
· The proposal – Development of five residential blocks ranging in height from 7 to 13 storeys (618 residential units)
· Build to rent apartments – 308 x 1 bed (50%), 248 x 2 bed (40%) and 62 x 3 bed (10%)
· Commercial units at ground floor level
· Materials – Principally constructed in brick with horizontal stone banding and a lighter brick base. A regular pattern of windows would feature across each building with deep reveals and a slender slash glazing design
· 230 car parking spaces, all spaces intended to be provided with electric vehicle charging points (30% provided initially)
· A single point of vehicular access/egress would be provided on Kirkstall Road with an “exit only” on Washington Street
· Landscaping/ planting strategy, in excess of 100 trees to be planted, public space, safe play areas all based around a central park
· Connectivity – Cycle routes/ Riverside walkway
Members raised the following questions to the developer’s representatives:
· From Kirkstall Road the massing of the buildings creates the impression that the site is enclosed, could consideration be given to “splitting” the first building to provide some riverside views
· As the development was being promoted as family friendly, it was queried why there are so many 1 bed apartments (50%) when there is a shortage of family accommodation in this area
· The car parking provision, was 230 spaces feasible for this size of development
· The demand for electric vehicles is predicted to increase significantly in the next 5 years; could consideration be given to providing more electric vehicle charging points, above the proposed initial 30%
· How large were the proposed balconies and could more be offered (given experiences with Covid-19 and restrictions to the use of Public Open Space during the Pandemic)
· How do people engage with each other in this type of development “playfulness”
· Was a nursery/ creche facility to be included within the development
· The proposed public open space provision, would it be accessible to everyone or for tenants use only.
· Councillor E Nash asked if she could be provided with a list of the proposed tree and hedge species
In responding to the issues raised the developer’s representatives said:
· The Architect said the intention was to provide a link through the site, creating a sequence which draws people through the site to the river which was approximately 150m away
· Members were informed that feedback suggested there was a demand for 1 bed apartments and a Housing Needs Assessment would be included within the application
· Members were informed that careful consideration had been given to the car parking provision, the vast majority of journeys being outward from the city centre for work purposes
· The applicant said the level of EV Charging Points was being dictated by demand. The aspiration to deliver 100% was correct, and the infrastructure would allow for this, but provision had to be on a sensible phased basis, allowing technological advances to be taken into account. In doing so they explained that their current portfolio developments are showing only a 0.2% take up of EV Charging Points
· The Architect said the dimensions of the balcony were 1.8m x 2.5m and with a wind assessment would be provided as part of the application, they would look at whether the number of balconies could be increased
· The Applicant said they had a number of years’ experience in delivering high-level community engagement (since 2014). It was suggested that it was important to ensure the tenants were engaged and did not feel isolated. The communal aspects of the development will be encouraged to be well utilised.
· The applicant confirmed that there was provision for flexible mixed-use space within the development and such facilities such as a creche / nursery may come forward at a later date
· The Applicant confirmed that the public open space would be accessible to everyone.
· The Applicant confirmed that the requested information on tree and hedge species would be supplied to Councillor E Nash
In offering comments, Members raised the following issues:
· The area of Kirkstall should be seen as a residential area, this location is not the City Centre, more family accommodation should be provided
· The majority of Members expressed concern about the lack of family accommodation and requested if further consideration could be given to the housing mix in respect of the preferred minimum suggested threshold targets of policy H4
· Could arrangements be made to review Core Strategy Policy H4 Housing Mix
· Could the applicant give further consideration to the provision of more electric vehicle charging points, the demand will be far higher within a short period of time (Also consider the use of universal plugs)
· Could more balconies be provided
· The proposed brickwork appears over several stories could become too bland, more character is required
In offering comments on the officers’ questions in the report:
· Members were supportive of the emerging outer layout and scale of the proposed development. The proposed housing mix was not supported. It was asked if one of the apartments blocks be considered for family accommodation only.
· Members generally welcomed the emerging elevational design and proposed material palette
· Members considered the proposed level of electric vehicle charge points to be unacceptable.
The Chair thanked the developers for their attendance and presentation suggesting that Members were generally supportive of the emerging design, but further consideration was required around the proposed housing mix and more consideration was required on the level of electric vehicle charging points
(i) To note the details contained in the pre-application presentation
(ii) That the developers be thanked for their attendance and presentation
(iii) That the Chief Planning Officer be requested to consider and review the application of Core Strategy Policy H4 (Housing Mix)