To receive and consider the attached report of the Chief Planning Officer regarding an application for the change of use of the former community centre (use class F2) to aparthotel (use class C1 ), including one storey extension over existing boiler room, roof replacement, reconfiguration and sub-division of service yard area, bin store and bike storage
The report of the Chief Planning Officer presented an application for the change of use of the former community centre (use class F2) to aparthotel (use class C1), including one storey extension over existing boiler room, roof replacement, reconfiguration and sub-division of service yard area, bin store and bike storage at Headingley Community Centre, North Lane, Headingley, LS6 3HW.
Members visited the site 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:
· The application had been brought to Panel at the request of Ward Members.
· There was no proposal for off street parking.
· There was a small service yard to the north side of the building.
· The site was within the Headingley Conservation Area.
· The building was currently vacant.
· There would be eight aparthotel rooms and a conference room within the building.
· The building directly abuts the highway.
· A key element of the proposals was the change in the roof. CGI images were displayed and comparisons made to previous picture of the building.
· Windows would be redesigned and sills would be lowered.
· Key planning issues included the change of use of the building which was considered to be acceptable and heritage impacts and the amenity of occupiers.
· The site was in a sensitive location and it was considered to be an important building in the conservation area. The new roof and fenestration would be harmful and out of keeping in the conservation area.
· Although there were benefits to the application and the re-use was welcomed it was felt that this was outweighed by the harm to the conservation area and amenity for occupiers. There would be ground floor rooms that had no buffer from the pavement and the pelican crossing.
· It was recommended that the application be refused.
The applicant’s representatives addressed the Panel. Issues highlighted included the following:
· The proposals would secure and economical and sustainable long term re-use of the building.
· The scheme had been heritage led and supported by a heritage consultant.
· The height of the proposed new roof had been lowered to match the existing height.
· The building had been vacant for over a decade.
· The applicant had engaged with the Council throughout the application stage and had made numerous changes.
· The use of triple glazing and mechanical ventilation would protect the amenity of occupiers.
· Refusal of the application would prevent a reasonable re-use of the building.
· Owners of adjacent business were supportive of the proposals.
· In response to questions from the Panel, the following was discussed:
o The proposed sill heights at first floor level would be lowered returning them to the original level.
o The height of the roof was not to be changed but there would be changes to the structure to allow the dormers.
o It was proposed to use an external contractor for picking up and dropping off at the building. There had not been any concerns from highways and the building had previously had a more intensive use in this regard.
o The service area had space for a vehicle to reverse into. Services use would be lower with the provision of on site laundry and bin exchange as opposed to refuse collection,
o There needed to be changes to the roof structure to make the scheme commercially viable. It had initially been proposed to add an extra storey.
o It would be possible to change the floorplans to have the conference room to the side of the building with the pelican crossing.
o There had not been any noise assessment to demonstrate the pelican crossing would cause a loss of amenity for residents.
o The sill heights at ground floor level could be retained.
In response to Members comments and questions, the following was discussed:
· From a conservation point of view the alterations to the roof were harmful to a positive heritage building in the conservation area due to the prominence of the building.
· The servicing arrangements were considered to be acceptable due to the minimal amount of servicing required.
· There was a definite need for the building to be brought back into use. The lack of use was not due to the appearance of the building and there had been approvals for other uses. It was recommended to work with the existing style of the building.
· There was no evidence to suggest the building couldn’t be used for other uses.
· Members had only viewed the external aspects of the building during the site visit as it was felt that the main consideration was the external impact of the proposals.
· There was concern that noise disturbance would not be mitigated by triple glazing.
· The primary reason for the proposed refusal was due to the impact of the proposals on the building itself. Concerns with regard to amenity were secondary.
· The applicant confirmed that they were willing to move the conference room and carry out a noise assessment.
· The applicant would be happy to change the style of the dormers and work further with the council regarding the proposals.
· There was a conflict of advice that the applicant had received from their heritage consultant and that of the conservation officer.
· Members indicated a desire to defer the application to allow further consideration of matters that had been discussed.
· Further issues raised included a request for clarity on ventilation; a request for a condition survey and views of Ward Members.
RESOLVED – That the application be deferred for the following: