Greenwich Council

Agenda item

J MUIR & CO (Bookbinders) Ltd, 64-68 Blackheath Road, Greenwich, SE10 8DA (16/1010/F)

To consider the application as set out in the report.

Decision:

Noted that the application was subject to an appeal for non-determination.  That the case officer had since completed the assessment of the application and would have recommended it forward for approval; however due to the Council’s scheme of delegation, the determination of the application would have been required to be made by Members. 

 

Did note agreed that the Council’s position on the application, had it not been appealed for non-determination, would have been:

 

·       Demolition of the existing buildings and redevelopment of the site providing 117sqm of flexible commercial floor space (Use Classes B1/A1/A2) and 27 residential units (9x1-bed, 8x2-bed, 6x3-bed, 4xStudio).

 

Noted that, had the application been determined by the Council, the officer would have recommended it for approval subject to:

(i)    The satisfactory completion of a Section 106 (S106) Legal Agreement (obligations set out in Section 22); and

(ii)   Conditions set out in Appendix 2.

 

Agreed to recommend to the Planning Inspector that, should they be minded to allow the appeal, the following conditions be imposed;

1)    That a full affordable housing review be conducted in 18 months from the date of the permission, if development has not commenced.

2)    That a second, full valuation review also be undertaken at the point of 65% unit sales.

3)    That a comprehensive transport plan be submitted, clearly indicating that access to the site for construction and habitation be only via Blackheath Road, prior to commencement of development.

Minutes:

The Planning Board received an illustrative presentation on the proposal from the Senior Principal Planner who also drew Members attention to the addendum report and Appendix.

 

In response to Member questions the Senior Principal Planner confirmed that the appeal for non-determination was lodged by the applicant due to the length of time taken to receive the viability assessment commissioned by the Council from an independent assessor.  The applicants’ viability assessment indicated that providing affordable housing would make the development unviable, and this was confirmed by independent assessment and a review mechanism was proposed.

 

The Senior Principal Planner advised that a daylight and sunlight assessment had been conducted and the development would be within BREEM guidance and properties would continue to receive acceptable levels of light. He confirmed that 280 metres away from the development was located a 25 storey development as well as a number of properties greater in height than the proposed development to the west of the site.

 

The Planning Board accepted an address from a representative of the Management Company for Crosslet Vale who advised the Board of a dispute between the Management Company and the developer, concerning a strip of land which formed part of the proposal.  He stated that it would be improper for the developer to commence work until the dispute would be resolved and asked that the matter be deferred.  If this was not possible he requested that conditions be added that access to the site, for construction and residents access and egress be by Blackheath Road only and not Crosslet Vale.

 

The Chair advised that the Planning Board was not determining the application as this would now be decided by the Planning Inspector who would consider the comments of the Planning Board.

 

The Planning Board accepted an address from Councillor Khan, Ward Councillor, who advised that he was representing the three Ward Members whose consensus was that the Council propose refusal of the application on the basis that;

·       The application was on the edge of a Conservation area and adjacent to a Grade 2 Listed Buildings and was not in keeping with the area and the design was detrimental to the location;

·       Whilst to public transport there is no provision for residents or visitor parking and as people do use vehicles as well as e public transport there was a likelihood of increased parking on the A2 and Crosslet Vale private road;

·       There was no offer or provision for affordable housing and the applicants’ assessment and duty, in this area, was below that required by the Council;

·       Whilst the applicant held the freehold of the land they appear to have failed to serve the correct notice on the Crosslet Vale Management Company as leaseholders with an interest greater than 7 years and permission cannot be lawfully implemented should the Planning Inspector determine approval.

 

The Planning Board accepted an address from a resident of Crosslet Vale who felt that the developer should have measures in place to ensure that parking on Crosslet Vale did not take place.  In addition to the flats there were commercial premises which would exacerbate the situation and all and any access should be via Blackheath Road only and that an adequate Car Park Management Scheme must be submitted.

 

The Planning Board accepted an address from a resident with an interest in Block A, Crosslet Vale and was a Chartered Surveyor.  He advised that the Management Group had rights and obligations as leaseholders to the strip of land, included in the development, which it would be difficult to carry out and would have a detrimental effect on their value.  This piece of land was tree lined and was included in the original condition for the development of Crosslet Vale.

 

He continued that, as there was no onsite parking provided, there would be problems both during construction and habitation with a greater flow of street traffic onto the highway and a traffic survey should be conducted.  He contended that the mass of the property would adversely affect the resident right to light, both during and after construction and whilst not opposed to a new development felt that the proposal was out of proportion with the neighbouring properties and the location.

 

The Planning Board accepted an address from the applicants’ representative (Landsfort Homes) who advised that the proposal had been worked up in consultation with Council planning officers, through the pre-application and design process.   They had held local consultations and contacted Local Councillors, who had not responded.  That two independent assessors, engaged by the Council, had agreed with Landsfort Homes viability assessment of the development.

 

He continued that Landsfort Homes had acquired the freehold of the referred to strip of land before submitting the application and held freehold ownership for the entire site holding land ownership and certificate registration documents.  That the Councils Highways Department and TfL support the application with a zero parking scheme and green travel plan. He stated that there was a housing crisis and there was desire to deliver residential accommodation which they were frustrated could not commence.

 

In response to questions from the Planning Board members the applicants’ representative and agent stated that the correct certificate of land ownership had been issued with the application.  The Planning Officers addendum report confirmed that the issue of leasehold rights was not a planning issue. However, a meeting had taken place with the Chair of the Residents’ Association with another meeting arranged with a view to addressing ways of resolving the issue of leaseholders rights and landscaping concerns.  That the profit level was estimated at 17% and whilst no affordable housing was proposed the applicants’ representative noted that there was a need for housing to meet the needs of a growing population.

 

Members noted that the Independent Assessor could offer advice but it was not for them to make judgement. In respect of the housing crisis in London it was noted that the demand was for affordable housing, which was not supplied by this development.

 

At the request of the Chair the Principal Lawyer advised the Planning Board that as an appeal had been lodged, for non-determination, the power to determine the application had transferred to the Secretary of State and any procedural issues, including the validity of the certificates would now be a matter for the Planning Inspector. However, the Planning Board were being asked to pass a resolution as to what it would have decided if the application were within the power of the Council to determine.  The Planning Board could also make comment and recommended conditions to be considered by the Inspector.

 

In response to a question from Councillor Babatola, the Principal Lawyer advised Members that she could offer no legal advice on the land ownership dispute between the applicant and the leaseholders itself, as this was not a matter that Legal Services had been asked to investigate.   In response to a question from Councillor Walker, the Principal Lawyer confirmed that if the Planning Board were to resolve that it would have approved the application, in theory the applicant could then withdraw their appeal,  and the applicant would then need to submit a new planning application to the Council for consideration, by which time their legal dispute would hopefully have been settled .

 

In determining the matter before them a Member commented that it was an unfortunate situation, given that the Council were trying to confirm the viability of the scheme to ascertain if any affordability housing could be offered, that the Council was having to protect the use of Council Tax payer’s money against the Planning Inspectorate to determine an application with 0% affordable housing.  Further, if the Council questioned the viability assessment could be breach planning law. 

 

It was further felt that that comments that the development addressed the housing crisis were offensive given the time consuming efforts of the Planning Board to secure as much affordable housing as possible. 

 

Members considered that the proposed building was too high and it was unlikely that there would not be a reduction in daylight to properties.  The development was not on an underground or DLR route and residents would be likely to own cars and as such parking issues would become an issue.  There was concern at the bulk, scale, height and massing of the development and that it was not appropriate for the area.

 

Councillor Thorpe proposed and Councillor Babatola seconded that, if minded to agree the proposal that 3 conditions be recommended;

1)     That a full affordable housing review be conducted in 18 months from the date of the permission, if development has not commenced.

2)    That a second, full valuation review also be undertaken at the point of 65% unit sales.

3)    That a comprehensive transport plan be submitted, clearly indicating that access to the site for construction and habitation be only via Blackheath Road, prior to commencement of development.

 

The Principal Lawyer advised Members that, whether or not the Planning Board would be minded to have approved the application with the additional conditions, Members could still pass the resolution that the proposed conditions be put forward to the Planning Inspector, requesting that the conditions be included should the Inspector be minded to allow the appeal. 

 

The Chair asked the Planning Board to indicate if they were in favour of supporting the recommendation to the Planning Inspector to support the application with the additional of the three proposed additional conditions;

 

0 Members in favour of supporting the recommendations; 8 Members against and 0 members abstained. 

 

The Chair asked the Planning Board to indicate if they were in favour of recommending that the Planning Inspector consider the inclusion of the three proposed additional conditions, should the inspector be minded to allow the appeal;

 

8 Members voted for this recommendation; 0 member against and 0 members abstained. 

 

Councillor Clare did not take part in the vote as he had not been present for the entirety of the presentation and debate;

 

Resolved unanimously –

 

That it be noted that the application was subject to an appeal for non-determination.  That the case officer had since completed the assessment of the application and would have recommended it forward for approval; however due to the Council’s scheme of delegation, the determination of the application would have been required to be made by Members. 

 

That the Planning Board did not agreed that the Council’s position on the application, had it not been appealed for non-determination, would have been:

 

·       Demolition of the existing buildings and redevelopment of the site providing 117sqm of flexible commercial floor space (Use Classes B1/A1/A2) and 27 residential units (9x1-bed, 8x2-bed, 6x3-bed, 4xStudio).

 

That it be noted that, had the application been determined by the Council, the officer would have recommended it for approval subject to:

(i)    The satisfactory completion of a Section 106 (S106) Legal Agreement (obligations set out in Section 22); and

(ii)   Conditions set out in Appendix 2.

 

That it be agreed to recommend to the Planning Inspector that, should they be minded to allow the appeal, the following conditions be imposed;

1)    That a full affordable housing review be conducted in 18 months from the date of the permission, if development has not commenced.

2)    That a second, full valuation review also be undertaken at the point of 65% unit sales.

3)    That a comprehensive transport plan be submitted, clearly indicating that access to the site for construction and habitation be only via Blackheath Road, prior to commencement of development.

 

That the proposed development, be refused, by reason of;

 

·       Excessive scale, mass, height and bulk, the development would be an overly dominant addition in its location and would visually compete with the Blackheath Road street scene.  It would therefore be harmful to the character and appearance of the Ashburnham Conservation Area and would detract from the setting of the nearby Grade II Listed Buildings.  The application is therefore contrary to policies to the NPPF 2012, policies 7.4, 7.6 and 7.8 of the London Plan 2016, policies DH1, DH3, DH(h) and DH(i) of the Core Strategy 2014 and the guidance within Ashburnham Conservation Area Appraisal 2008.

 

·       Height and proximity to neighbouring properties, the development would result in loss of light, loss of outlook and overbearing impacts to the neighbouring properties, which would have a detrimental impact on their amenity and would constitute as an unneighbourly form of development.  For this reason, the proposed development fails to protect the amenity of neighbouring properties and therefore is contrary to policy 7.6 of the London Plan and policy DH(b) of the Core Strategy 2014.

 

·       Failure to provide sufficient on-site vehicle parking for future users and failure to adequately demonstrate that the proposal would not result in unacceptable impacts to parking in the area or the safe and convenient use of highways.  The proposal is therefore contrary to policies 6.3m and 6.13 of the London Plan 2016 and policies IM(a) and IM(c) and the Core Strategy 2014.


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