Case ref: 10/04147/FUL/SDI/38112
Recommendation: Grant permission subject to conditions and a Section 106 Agreement
In presenting the application to the Committee, officers drew attention to the addendum sheet. During the course of discussions the following observations were made:
· There was little mention of the impact on Christ Church, a Grade 1 listed building and this was disappointing given that other less important buildings which were not listed had been mentioned.
· It was felt that the Section 106 contribution for parks and open spaces should be used for a children’s play space within the boundaries of the estate and located close to the residential units.
· Further details were sought on the location and amount of cycle parking provision
· Where were the rooms that would be affected by loss of light located
The applicant addressed the meeting and reported that the scheme had been prepared in close consultation with Council officers. Land would be purchased from the Council with the intention of providing 100% social rented housing. All possible measures would be taken to protect the viability of the scheme. However, due to uncertainty over the availability of grant subsidy and other factors, the applicant could not commit to 100% social rented housing. A cascade mechanism was proposed whereby the tenure split could be altered to ensure viability of the scheme with a worst case scenario of 100% intermediate provision.
Councillor Jeremy Clyne addressed the meeting in his capacity as Ward Councillor. He made a request for the Section 106 contribution to be used for Hillside Gardens. He had concerns regarding the relation of Block B to Balcombe House and impact on residential amenity in terms of loss of light which would be exacerbated by the new development. It was disingenuous to suggest that the overhanging balconies at Balcombe House already reduced the amount of light and that the proposed development would have little impact.
In response to questions and comments, officers stated that Christ Church was not mentioned in the officer report because the proposed development was not considered to affect the setting of Christ Church as there were other buildings between the site and Christ Church. Site A was outside the public realm as it would not be visible beyond the site. A representative from Housing, Regeneration & Environment stated that the Parks & Open Spaces element of the Section 106 contribution would be used for a fully enclosed playspace for under 12s within the site of the proposed development. Planning officers suggested that any surpluses could be cascaded to other projects/ such as Hillside Gardens.
Officers stated that any assurances given by the Council in respect of the previous scheme could not be taken into account as financial commitments were not a material planning consideration. Similarly the allocation of capital receipts was not a planning consideration. The new scheme would have a similar relationship to neighbouring buildings and any impact would be minimal. The Coach House currently overlooked the derelict garages but there would be no loss of amenity arising from the development given the distance to the Coach House. Officers suggested that a condition be added requiring the provision of detailed plans for cycle space provision to be signed off by the Local Planning Authority (LPA). There were 7 rooms in Balcombe House which would suffer light loss, and 3 of these rooms were habitable rooms. However although outside BRE guidelines, it was felt that the light loss was within reasonable tolerance levels and was therefore acceptable.
In response the applicant stated that in order to proceed with the land purchase, planning permission was required. Notwithstanding the Housing Corporation’s withdrawal of £4m grant funding, the developer was still willing to proceed with the scheme even though the final decision on grant funding would not be known until after the land purchase had been signed off. Detailed plans on the location cycle parking provision could be provided
On balance it was felt that the proposed scheme was an improvement on the previous scheme. There were reservations about alterations to the dwelling mix and that the larger units which may not meet the affordability criteria. However the need for compliance with the Core Strategy was emphasised. It was also felt that the Section 106 contribution for Libraries should be prioritised for Streatham Library.
Concerns were expressed that the obligations as recommended could result in there being no social rented housing on site: the proposal was considered acceptable only on the basis that social rented (as well as shared ownership) housing should be provided in accordance with adopted planning policy.
MOVED by Councillor Diana Morris and SECONDED by Councillor Ruth Ling
That the application be approved subject to the Section 106 Agreement recommended in the report as varied below (with authority delegated to the Divisional Director of Planning to finalise the agreement in liaison with the Chair), and the conditions set out in the report as varied below
1) a viability assessment taking into consideration the availability of grant be carried out prior to implementation
2) as a result of that assessment the percent of affordable housing may be reduced to no less than 40% of the total number of units, subject to viability
3) regardless of the number of affordable housing units provided no less than 70% of those affordable housing units shall be social rented units
For – 4
Against - 1
That the application be approved subject to the Section 106 Agreement recommended in the report as varied below(with authority delegated to the Divisional Director of Planning to finalise the agreement in liaison with the Chair) , and the conditions set out in the report as varied below
1. a viability assessment taking into consideration the availability of grant be carried out prior to implementation
2. as a result of that assessment the percent of affordable housing may be reduced to no less than 40% of the total number of units, subject to viability
3. regardless of the number of affordable housing units provided no less than 70% of those affordable housing units shall be social rented units