Agenda item

West Norwood Fire Station, 445 Norwood Road, SE27 9DG (Thurlow Park) 14/04865/FUL

Recommendation:

 

PERMISSION subject to a Section 106 Agreement

Minutes:

Case No 14/04865/FUL (agenda item five, page 63 of the agenda and page 15 of the published addendum).

 

The planning officer gave a presentation which included a summary of the addendum that had been published on Friday 27 March. The key issues for consideration included the change of use to a nursery (Use Class D1) and residential (Use Class C3), the protection of a Grade II listed building, the construction of a four storey residential building to the rear, the provision of affordable housing units as well as further design and travel considerations. It was noted that whilst most of the external work would involve renovation of the existing listed building and that English Heritage had reviewed and supported the proposed development. Structural and architectural aspects of the proposed buildings were explained and it was noted that the new building did not provide any wheelchair adaptable units because the doorways within the existing listed building were too narrow. They would need to be widened to accommodate wheelchairs and such modifications would not be supported by conservation officers. No lift was proposed for the new building; the provision of a lift was not a Lifetime Homes requirement. The proposed development would include 30 cycle parking spaces for residents, eight for the nursery and four for visitors. There would be no official buggy parking space within the nursery but storage could be facilitated.

 

Following the officer’s presentation, the objector raised the following points:

 

  • With regard to the change of use of the ground floor of the existing listed building to Nursery (Class D1 Use), a stronger condition was required to prevent any other form of D1 use from being operated on the premises. Condition Three should be amended to state that any future applications for alternative D1 usage of the premises should have to be heard by the Committee and should not be determined under delegated authority.
  • The nursery contained provision for just two WCs and would have no hot food preparation areas at all.

 

In response to points raised by the objector, the applicant informed the Committee that terms had already been agreed with a prospective operator of the day-care nursery and that Condition Three already restricted the use of the unit to nursery usage.

 

Following questions from Members, a representative from BNPP raised the following points with regards to the viability of the development:

 

  • The affordable housing provision for the development equated to 10 per cent of the total dwelling units. BNPP had completed an independent viability assessment of the application and tested all profit assumptions. The benchmark land value had been calculated by assessing the use value for the vacated fire station. As there had been no demand for a vacant fire station the applicant had submitted an alternative residential scheme which generated a benchmark against which to assess the residual land value generated by the proposed scheme before the committee. The viability assessment had concluded that there would only be sufficient land value above the benchmark land value to support two affordable housing units.
  • The ground floor of the existing building had been valued as D1 space as presented in the application.
  • The Grade II listed building was in a poor state of repair and would require a lot of renovation. This work would carry a significant cost.
  • The applicant had submitted a construction cost plan for the listed building which had been assessed as reasonable and independently verified.
  • The proposed new building would cross-subsidise the cost of the work on the existing listed building.
  • High density buildings, such as the proposed new building at the rear of the site, were often more expensive to construct.

 

In response, Members stated that the low existing use value of the listed building had allowed the developer to secure a very viable development. They suggested that the application should have supported more than two affordable housing units.

 

Officers then advised the Committee that higher levels of affordable housing had been sought however, following on from an independent review by BNPP of the applicant’s viability assessment, it was accepted that the scheme could not viably provide more.  In arriving at this position, the Council were guided by Government and GLA guidance and historical appeals to take account of alternative use value within the viability assessment. They also noted that English Heritage did not advise on construction cost and that Council conservation officers had worked directly with the applicant to outline the standard of work that would be required on the existing listed building.

 

Following questions from Members, the applicant made the following points:

 

  • The operator of the nursery space had a number of similar operational nurseries elsewhere and had confirmed that hot food preparation facilities would not be required.
  • It was not clear why the rent levels detailed in the report now excluded, rather than included, service charges. 

 

Following questions from Members, officers raised the following points:

 

  • Permitted development rights did not apply in the same way to listed buildings.
  • If the operators of the nursery required hot food preparation facilities in the future, the applicant would need Listed Building Consent and Planning Permission for any associated extraction equipment.
  • The Council Conservation Officer had requested the maintenance of the area of hardstanding at the front of the building in order to preserve the uncluttered open space. Elements of soft landscaping would be secured by condition.
  • Condition 18 had been amended in the addendum to refer to ‘and from within the proposed building’. This condition was imposed by regulatory services (noise) to ensure that noise levels generated by residents above the requirements set out in the condition could be subject to future enforcement action. Building Regulations sets out the requirements for soundproofing new buildings. .
  • There were no planning policies which required a set amount of WCs within the nursery space. The proposed provision was however sufficient for the number of children permitted to attend the nursery. The applicants had been encouraged to retain as much of the existing floor plan as possible; this had restricted the amount of WCs. 
  • The traditional bi-folding doors at the front of the existing building were protected by a condition. The original doors had windows built into them that could be opened to allow improved ventilation in the nursery.
  • The Committee could not impose a cap on the number of cars per residential unit.
  • One of the proposed residential units in the existing building had irregularly sized rooms because the existing floor plan had to be maintained.
  • The legal adviser set out for Committee the point that had been made by the objector about the potential for the premises to be put into a different D1 use.  The legal advisor summarised the limitations in the national Planning Practice Guidance on the use of conditions restricting the operation of permitted development rights and future changes of use, and outlined the legal effect of the proposed condition in this case.

 

Members finally commented that:

 

·         An additional informative was needed to advise the applicant that if the operator of the nursery space intended to prepare hot food in the future, there would need to be an extraction system fitted which would require separate Listed Building Consent and Planning Permission.

·         An additional informative was required to state that the nursery operator should provide a designated buggy parking area within the nursery area. If any additional works to the floor plan or fabric of the listed building were required to facilitate the buggy parking area, the operator should contact the Council's Conservation team for advice.

  • Conditions 10 and 11 were not sufficiently pro-active in their encouragement of soft-landscaping. An additional informative was necessary to promote the incorporation of soft landscaping  within the front forecourt to soften the street frontage, deter car parking and provide a screen to refuse and recycling stores. Soft landscaping should also minimise the opportunity for flytipping.
  • The refuse and recycling storage facilities should be designed to minimise the risk of flytipping.
  • Any further requirement for WC provision would be an issue for the nursery operator.
  • For future reference, it would be helpful for the Committee to be further informed about the ability of the Committee to restrict the amount of cars per residential unit.
  • It was positive to see the inclusion of three-bed family units with gardens within the development.
  • Condition Three, which referred to the change of use of the ground floor of the existing listed building to Nursery (Class D1 Use), was robust and did not require further amendment. Any future application for change of use would require Planning Permission and could be called in to the Committee if desired and justified. It was noted the nursery would serve an important community function and that Condition Three therefore carried significant weight in the decision making.
  • The design of the replacement doors should allow for ventilation without full opening of the doors.  This should inform the discharge of the relevant condition (4).

 

It was MOVED by Councillor Morris, SECONDED by Councillor Hill and

 

RESOLVED unanimously:

 

To grant Listed Building Consent and Planning Permission subject to the completion of a signed Section 106 Agreement and the conditions as outlined in the report and published addendum and subject to:

 

  1. An additional informative advising the applicant that if the nursery operator intended to prepare hot food in the future, there would need to be an extraction system fitted which would require separate Listed Building Consent and Planning Permission.
  2. An additional informative advising the nursery operator to provide a designated buggy parking area within the nursery area. If any additional works to the floor plan or fabric of the listed building were required to facilitate the buggy parking area, the operator should contact the Council's Conservation team for advice.
  3. An additional informative linked to Conditions 10 and 11 which promoted the incorporation of soft landscaping within the front forecourt to soften the street frontage, deter car parking and provide a screen to refuse and recycling stores. Soft landscaping would also minimise the opportunity for flytipping.
  4. Condition 20 to be deleted as a duplicate.

 


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