The report of the Chief Planning Officer requests consideration for a development comprising 58 apartments for affordable rent, including communal and ancillary spaces on land at Railway Street, Saxton Gardens, Leeds, LS9.
The report of the Chief Planning Officer presented an application for a development comprising 58 apartments for affordable rent, including communal and ancillary spaces on land at Railway Street, Saxton Gardens, Leeds, LS9. This application was previously considered as a Position Statement at the Panel meeting in June 2022.
Photographs and slides were shown throughout the officer presentation.
The Panel were provided with the following information:
· In terms of private amenity space this has been increased and 15.3% of the total gross floor area has now been provided. This is still under the 25% set out in Neighbourhoods for Living but in the context of this scheme it is considered that it offers a reasonable amount of amenity space.
· The Housing Mix was a concern for Panel Members originally and the applicant has confirmed the mix will not be altered. It was the opinion of the applicant that there is a strong demand for 1 and 2 bed flats in the locality. The applicant submitted data for the demand for the Richmond Hill area. Housing mix is still underprovided on 3-bed units, but it was to be noted that the policy in this regard is open to be applied flexibly and it was further noted that the minimum target for this development is 11 units. Balanced against this however, the proposal does include 100% affordable units which is considered a positive benefit for the area.
· The revised scheme also includes an extension of the footpath on the southside of Railway Street.
· Representations include a letter of support received from Leeds Civic Trust and 2 letters of objections received on behalf of residents regarding lack of community facilities and issues with highways. These have been addressed in the Officer Report. No local ward members have submitted an objection.
Mr Mackie, a local resident attended the meeting and informed the Panel of the following:
· Mr Mackie has consulted online with approximately 1750 residents regarding the proposals and there are concerns regarding the loss of community amenity space. There is instead a preference for the site to include options for a community club, gym, café, or community meeting room, making better use of the space for the community as a whole.
· The Council’s processes for involving members of the public on proposed developments are not adequate and exclude members of the public from commenting on such applications until a late stage.
· The financial amount of offset diversity loss does not reflect the true land value.
· The local pocket park would be better centrally managed, funded and formed as one, composite project.
In response to questions from Panel Members, Mr Jackson (Applicant) and Mr Corbett (Planning Consultant) provided the following information:
· The demand for 3-bed apartments in the area is low, and statistics show that there is a demand for 2-bed and 3-bed houses and maisonettes. Statistics relate solely to the Burmantofts ward. A member acknowledged that the proposed site is situated on the border of 3 wards, and data does not accurately reflect the demand in the area for 3 bed accommodation.
· To increase the number of 3-bed units will not make the scheme viable, particularly taking into account the constrained nature of the site – both in floorspace and height.
· The site is delineated for housing and therefore there are limited possibilities to deliver additional community facilities. Whilst there isn’t a requirement to provide community facilities on site, the proposal includes contributions to the play area East of the proposed site.
· There are 18 car parking spaces proposed, 2 motorcycle bays, 58 cycle spaces and 4 visitor cycle spaces.
In response to questions from Panel Members, officers confirmed the following information:
· Officers acknowledge the demand for 3-bed dwellings in the area and explained that the shortfall in 3 bed units needs to be balanced against the provision of 100%affordable housing. Further, it is understood that this will be affordable housing within the Social Rented category. The question was put to the applicant whether they could provide more 3-bed accommodation and they declined to do so.
· There is no policy requirement for the applicant to build the development any higher to provide more units. It is possible to build the development higher subject to further mitigation measures and a ventilation system. It was confirmed that density policy H3 has been exceeded, and the development is not underdeveloped.
· Several volume housebuilders provide affordable 3-bed dwellings in the local area.
· The site is not allocated in the Site Allocations Plan.
· The local planning authority do not have powers to add a condition to nominate people out of oversized properties in the locality and move them into the proposed development.
Panel Members commented on the need for 3-bed dwellings in this area as well as the applicant not taking further steps to provide these units. Panel Members discussed robustness of Council policies and questioned whether there is a particular need for policy review discussions at Development Plan Panel in the future.
RESOLVED – to unanimously defer and delegate approval of the application to the Chief Planning Officer, as outlined in the submitted report.