To receive and consider the attached report of the Chief Planning Officer regarding aa hybrid planning application for the demolition of Yorkshire Bank, Merrion Way and the construction of two student residential accommodation buildings and a multi-use events building on the site of Yorkshire Bank, Merrion Way and land fronting Leeds Arena, Clay Pit Lane, Leeds, LS2 8NZ
The report of the Chief Planning Officer presented a hybrid planning application for the demolition of Yorkshire Bank, Merrion Way and the construction of two student residential accommodation buildings and a multi-use events building on the site of the Yorkshire Bank, Merrion Way and land fronting Leeds Arena, Clay Pit Lane, Leeds.
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 sought the demolition of the existing Yorkshire Bank building, the construction of two multi storey student accommodation blocks and outline permission for a multi-purpose events building. Pre-application presentations had been received by the Panel in September and November 2021.
· The site fell within the city centre boundary and the proposals were appropriate for the area.
· The scale of the proposed buildings was appropriate for the area which was mentioned in the tall buildings design guide.
· Views of the site from surrounding areas were displayed.
· It was proposed to phase the development with the first two phases being the student accommodation blocks.
· There would be landscaping with additional tree planting.
· Floor plans of the proposed student accommodation buildings were shown. Room sizes met guidelines.
· CGI images of the proposed buildings were displayed and Members were shown samples of the proposed materials to be used.
· The proposed multi-purpose events building would be equivalent to seven storeys in height.
· The site was not in a flood risk area but there was a need to manage the drainage of surface water.
· A revised report was currently under consideration by the Nature Conservation officer.
· There was ongoing discussion with the Health and Safety Executive regarding fire safety.
· There had been objections to the application, primarily due to the provision of a multi-purpose events venue. These related to the impact of the multi-purpose events building on Harrogate. An assessment had been provided which indicated 1% of trade would be diverted away from Harrogate and 6% from Harrogate Convention Centre.
The Panel heard objections from a representative of the Harrogate Convention Centre. These related to the proposals for a multi-purpose events centre and included the following:
· There was no objection to the student accommodation blocks.
· The main objection was the absence of consultation between Leeds City Council with Harrogate Convention Centre and Harrogate Borough Council regarding the proposals. It was not believed that the impact on Harrogate had been assessed and that the economic assessment case was flawed, inaccurate and out of date.
· It was felt that the negative impact on Harrogate had been underestimated by 15%.
· There had been a strong relationship between the Convention Centre and Leeds City Council and it was surprising that there had not been any consultation.
· In response to questions, the following was discussed:
o Although there had not been a formal planning consultation with Harrogate Borough Council regarding the submitted application, prior to submission of the application, there had been contact between Leeds City Council Director of City Development and the Chief Executive of Harrogate Borough Council regarding the proposals which had invited engagement and Harrogate Convention Centre had been made aware of this.
o Harrogate Convention Centre stated that they had been made aware of the proposals prior to the submission of the application but the size of the multi-use event space had increased when the application was formally submitted. It was hoped that there could be a deferral to allow for consultation to take place.
The applicant’s representative addressed the Panel. The developer had been working on the scheme for two and a half years and was aware of the initial contact with Harrogate Borough Council. The scheme was compliant with policy and included an assessment of the impact in Harrogate. In response to questions from the Panel, the following was discussed:
· It was hoped to salvage some of the material from the Yorkshire Bank Building and there may be opportunity for re-use within the public realm works.
· The material for the second student accommodation building would be terracotta with a colour palette to work with the listed buildings opposite. There was some concern expressed regarding the use of dark grey colouring.
· It had not yet been decided whether the phases of building would overlap.
· Concern that there would be a visual impact on the view of the arena.
The legal officer advised the Panel that statutory duties had been satisfied in terms of consultation and that the Council had gone beyond that by making initial contact with Harrogate Borough Council so they were alerted to the application at concept stage.
In response to questions and comments from the Panel, the following was discussed:
· A city the size of Leeds should have a conference facility of the size proposed.
· An independent report had concluded that there would not be a significant adverse impact on Harrogate.
· Policy required an assessment for the provision of conference facilities and the assessment carried out was considered to be acceptable.
· The illustrative white block for the multi-purpose event centre was just to demonstrate the maximum parameters.
· There had not been an initial objection as it was thought that the size was smaller than the maximum size now proposed.
· The proposal for the multi-purpose events building was not just for conferences. There was opportunity through the planning process to control the kind of activity at the centre.
· The developer would commence works on the student accommodation as soon as possible should the application be approved.
A motion was made to defer the application for further consideration to be given to the objections that had been submitted. This was seconded and voted on.
RESOLVED – That the application be deferred