To receive and consider the attached report of the Chief Planning Officer regarding an application for a multi-level residential development (Class C3) with associated hard and soft landscaping and rooftop amenity space at a site on Land Off Water Lane, Holbeck, Leeds.
The report of the Chief Planning Officer presented an application for a multi-level residential development (Class C3) with associated hard and soft landscaping and rooftop amenity space at a site on land off Water Lane, Holbeck Leeds.
Members attended the site prior to the meeting and site photographs and plans were displayed and referred to throughout the discussion of the application.
Further issues highlighted in relation to the application included the following:
· The proposals were for an entirely residential scheme with landscaping and amenity space.
· The site was previously used as a temporary car park.
· There would be 375 dwellings including 200 one bedroom apartments, 144 two bedroom and 36 three bedroom.
· There would be three internal communal amenity spaces. There would be external amenity space and car parking.
· A financial viability appraisal was detailed in the report which gave three options.
· The Fire Strategy had not been concluded and it was proposed to defer and delegate this for approval.
· The building would range from 2 storey to 26 storeys.
· There would be new tree planting on the site.
· CGI images of the proposals from various nearby locations were displayed.
· There were ongoing discussions regarding the wall between the site and the Midlands Mills site.
· There would be some undercroft parking and also drop-off points.
· There would be a total of 46 car parking spaces.
· All the apartments met minimum space standards.
· Materials and design would reflect that of buildings elsewhere in the area. Some levels on the development would have balconies.
· CGI images showing the entry point and landscaping scheme were displayed.
· The proposals were felt to be positive and brought a fallow site back into use. It was recommended that the application be approved.
The District Valuer updated the Panel on the viability appraisal. There had been a need to review the viability due to inflationary pressures on construction costs. The costs had been independently reviewed. The original report had said it was unviable to make any contributions and it would actually make a loss. It was demonstrated that this loss could be turned around and some contribution could be made to affordable housing, CIL and Section 106. Three options were outlined in the District Valuer’s report.
There was a preference for Option 3 as this would provide a contribution to the Sustainable Travel Fund.
In response to questions and comments from the Panel to officers and the applicant’s representatives, the following was discussed:
· Measures for the travel plan could include a car club, travel tickets, cycle vouchers and walking accessories.
· In terms of the viability position changing there were options including giving a shorter consent period following approval. This would need to be agreed with the applicant.
· The applicant confirmed that the viability was based on the current position and was keen to deliver the scheme as soon as possible. Costs were likely to continue to rise. The site had been a challenge with regards to viability.
· Car club membership was promoted to encourage people not to own their own cars.
· Following the original figures that demonstrated the scheme would make a loss, the applicant had been studying other ways of cost saving to make the scheme viable.
· There was a need to maximise density on the site due to land values rising.
· Without the viability issues, Section 106 contributions would be £250 per unit for the sustainable travel fund; £10k for traffic regulation orders and £250k for pedestrian and cycle connectivity. There would also be a public open space contribution of £450k.
· With concerns to the scheme not meeting policy requirements it was reported that the housing needs assessment met the demographic needs of the area based on market evidence. The reduced affordable housing contribution was acceptable under the viability appraisal. The applicant could be requested to provide electric vehicle charging points at the start of the scheme and not be phased. With regards to EN1 a standard assessment procedure had been used and there was a betterment and this was appropriate for this scheme.
· The reduction in cycle parking was appropriate with the provision of a cycle hire scheme. There were possibilities of other locations for cycle parking.
· The applicant was committed to the contribution for the traffic regulation order if required.
· A Traffic Regulation Order would be required for the loading bay outside the site and there would be a need for a 20 mph order.
· The £250k was not to be specifically used on a direct scheme but was the standard 10% request for contribution towards local cycling and walking schemes. There was a scheme proposed for Neville Street and other schemes proposed in the area.
· Option 3 was preferred as this would safeguard money to the sustainable travel fund.
· Concerns regarding safety for people walking from the city centre – it was reported that there would be security measures on site and as activity increased in the area there would be more natural surveillance.
· The travel fund contribution was specific to this site.
· There would not be an active frontage to the development as it was a buy to let scheme. The management of the scheme would involve a community focus and there would be safety initiatives including improved lighting. The developer would investigate any other ways in which safety for people walking from the city to the development could be improved. The scheme would bring significant improvement to the frontage on Water Lane and the reception area and communal spaces would provide natural surveillance. Work was ongoing with other developers to improve public access.
· If there was no access through the wall between the site and Midland Mills there would be potential for anti-social behaviour.
· The design was a reasoned resolution for apartment blocks.
· There needed to be further discussion on design and how it would fit with the Midlands Mill development.
· It would be preferable to see more of an affordable housing contribution and more of a focus on physical changes than behaviour change measures.
· The design was good and was in fitting with the area.
· There was a need for more affordable housing in the city centre.
· The scheme would swamp the Midlands Mill development and detract from the listed building on that site.
· The landscaping would not work without the removal of the wall between the Midlands Mill site.
· This area of the city was in need of more greenspace.
· There was a need to improve connectivity between the site and the city centre.
· The best way to improve the area would be for development to take place.
· There were a number of policy issues that were not being met and a motion was made that the Panel were minded to refuse the application as it was contrary to policy H4 relating to affordable housing, H5 housing mix, EN1 and EN8. Also the need for improved connectivity and the lack of greenspace contribution and the Section 106 contribution.
· It was suggested that the application be deferred to allow the developer to address the concerns raised. It was requested that should the application be deferred more plans of the surrounding area be provided.
RESOLVED – That the application be deferred.
(Councillors D Cohen and P Wadsworth left the meeting during the discussion on this item).