Agenda item

Hero of Switzerland 142 Loughborough Road (Coldharbour) 19/01481/FUL

1.      Resolve to grant conditional planning permission subject to the completion of an agreement under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended) containing the planning obligations listed in this report and any direction as may be received following further referral to the Mayor of London.

 

2.      Agree to delegate authority to the Assistant Director of Planning, Transport and Development to:

 

a.   Finalise the recommended conditions as set out in this report, addendums and/or PAC minutes; and

b.   Negotiate, agree and finalise the planning obligations as set out in this report, addendums and/or PAC minutes pursuant to Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended).

 

3.      In the event that the committee resolves to refuse planning permission and there is a subsequent appeal, delegated authority is given to the Assistant Director of Planning, Transport and Development, having regard to the heads of terms set out in this report, addendums and/or PAC minutes, to negotiate and complete a document containing obligations pursuant to Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended) in order to meet the requirement of the Planning Inspector.

 

4.      In the event that the Section 106 Agreement is not completed within six months of committee, delegated authority is given to the Assistant Director of Planning, Transport and Development to refuse planning permission for failure to enter into a section 106 agreement for the mitigating contributions identified in this report, addendums and/or the PAC minutes.

 

 

Minutes:

Case No. 19/01481/FUL (agenda item two, page one of the agenda pack, page one of the addendum and page one of the second addendum).

 

The Planning Officer gave a presentation which included a summary of the report and subsequent addenda that had been published on Friday 20 September and the day of the meeting. Members were advised of the key material planning issues for consideration which included the demolition of the existing public house and the erection of a 13 storey building to provide 35 homes and a replacement public house, public realm improvements to Hero Square, the provision of disabled parking spaces and waste and cycle storage.  The Greater London Authority had withdrawn its objection to the application as a result of an additional affordable unit being provided.  The replacement pub use would be slightly larger than the existing pub, and would reprovide features such as ancillary staff accommodation which would be secured by the S106 Agreement, beer garden, kitchen and cellarage.  All residential units would exceed space standards, with good levels of natural light, would have private amenity space, and all units would be accessible.  All residents, regardless of tenure type, would have access to the communal amenity space.  Playspace would be provided on site for younger children, and a financial contribution for playspace for older children would be made to a playground to the rear of the site.  The amenity impact on neighbouring buildings had been tested, with one property being materially affected to a kitchen, bedroom and bathroom.  Concrete fins would be used in the south elevation of the proposal to minimise overlooking onto 1-9 Featley Road.  Members were shown images of the site, its context, proposed materials and design, and existing and proposed views.

 

Following the officer’s presentation, the objectors raised the following concerns:

·         The application was an overdevelopment of the site and would be a visual intrusion on the area.  Insufficient affordable housing would be provided and the public realm improvements would be of poor quality.

·         The proposal was a higher density than the London Plan suggested in an urban context.

·         The affordable housing offer was below the 40% policy requirement.

·         The playspace provision was not sufficient and the payment in lieu did not compensate for it.

·         There would be a conflict between the pub and residential units, and the successful operation of the pub would require residents to keep windows closed.

 

The applicants and agent then provided the following information in support of the application:

·         The application was the result of extensive consultation with the current pub landlord, residents’ groups, officers and the GLA.

·         Tall buildings were part of the established local character, and the height of the proposal was considered acceptable by both officers and the GLA.  The slender shape of the building would limit the amenity impact, and the building would be set back in line with existing building lines.

·         Public realm improvements would provide a more welcoming environment in Hero Square and greater connectivity.  The Loughborough Estate Management Board had been consulted on the public realm improvements and were supportive of the proposals.

·         Pubs were closing across London and this application would reprovide the pub use.  Facilities, such as the two-bedroom ancillary accommodation, kitchen and cellarage would ensure the pub’s future viability.  A management plan would be required in order to ensure the protection of residents.

·         The affordable housing offer had been increased following viability assessments.  All residents would have the same access to amenity space and all units would be indistinguishable, regardless of tenure.

·         The residential units exceeded space standards, had private amenity space and all units would be dual or triple aspect.

 

Councillor Scarlett O’Hara then spoke as Ward Councillor for Coldharbour, stating the following:

·         Residents had raised concerns on height and massing, the impact on the local area, and the level of affordable housing.

·         The proposal would be taller than neighbouring blocks and was not sympathetic to the Loughborough Estate.

·         There were concerns that the replacement pub would not be affordable and would therefore not be used by residents.

·         The application site was in one of the most deprived areas in the borough, and insufficient affordable housing would be provided.  The viability should be reassessed.

 

Members then viewed models of the application and proposed materials.

 

Officers and the Council’s viability consultant then provided the following information in response to questions from Members:

·         The modelling on trip generation had been carried out using the standard methodology.  The Transport Officer did not consider the trip generation figures to be abnormally low.

·         The additional affordable home would be shared ownership.  The affordable units would be located on the same floors, as it was easier to secure a registered provider with such a configuration.  The S106 Agreement included a review mechanism and a cascade mechanism.

·         The small footprint of the site, the proposed height and the need to dig a basement would increase the projected construction costs.  The review mechanism would ensure that more affordable housing would be provided if the construction costs were lower than anticipated.

·         Reprovision of the pub was a policy requirement so had been considered in the viability assessments.  Ancillary features of the pub would be reprovided, as required in policy, and it was hoped that by providing these features, particularly the accommodation, a more traditional pub operator would be found.

·         The difference in the findings of the viability assessments were due to changing sales values, changes in construction costs, as well as further evidence provided throughout the process.  The viability had been tested by both the Council and the GLA, and it was considered that the current affordable housing offer was the maximum that could be supported.

·         London Affordable Rent (LAR) was equivalent to social rent, and was controlled in the same manner as social rent.  The largest affordable units would be at LAR, and smaller units would be shared ownership.  The cost of shared ownership units were linked to local household income.

·         The applicant had agreed a planning brief with officers on what would be provided in the public realm improvements to Hero Square, including planting, lighting and resurfacing.  The conditions attached to the S106 Agreement for this application would have to be considered if an application for Hero Square was brought in the future.

·         The playspace to be provided on site would be for younger children, due to the low numbers of older children expected to live in the development.  The off-site contribution would be directed to playspace 10 metres from the site.  Final details of the equipment to be provided on site would be secured via condition.

·         Access to the communal amenity area would be open to all residents and would be controlled by fobs.  The rooftop opening hours had been limited to 07.00-22.00 following an objection from a Ward Councillor.

·         Planting on the roof terrace would be selected based on species’ abilities to withstand high winds, with final details to be provided at a later stage.

·         It would be unreasonable to restrict the possibility of short-term letting beyond the existing provision of 90 days per year.  Year-round use of residential units for short-term let would require an application for change of use and could be subject to enforcement action.

·         There was a 15 metre, of five storey, difference in the height of the proposal and existing nearby blocks.

 

The Committee considered points raised by speakers and information provided by officers in conjunction with the report before making the following observations:

·         Members considered the proposed use acceptable, particularly given the reprovision of the pub.  The height of the proposal was acceptable given the local context.

·         Some Members requested an amendment to the terms of any S106 Agreement to include review of the need for the ancillary accommodation after a period of six months and if the accommodation was not needed for the operation of the pub, it would be used as affordable housing.

·         Some Members stated that their initial concerns at the level of affordable housing provision had been addressed by the information provided on the interrogation of viability assessments, particularly given the GLA’s withdrawal of its objection.

·         The mural and vertical sign should be retained.

·         The applicant should be encouraged to work with the community and any other future developers, particularly on issues such as off-site playspace contributions.  The management plan for the pub should be developed in conjunction with the local community.

·         Conditions relating to the hours of operation of the roof terrace should be relaxed to allow access at all times, with amplified noise to be controlled instead.

·         Some Members queried why the applicant had not been requested to have a lower profit margin in order to provide more affordable housing.

 

The Assistant Director, Planning Transport and Development, advised Members that:

·         As the application did not meet the 40% affordable housing threshold, it had gone through the viability process, as required by policy.  Officers and the GLA considered that the current proposal was the maximum possible provision of affordable housing.

·         There was a strong presumption in policy in favour of retaining pubs due to the trend of pub closures in Lambeth and the rest of London.  The provision of ancillary features, particularly the accommodation, would make the pub more attractive to a potential operator.  The accommodation would have the class use of a pub.  If the ancillary flat proved to be unnecessary, a change of use application should be made, with that application and any viability impacts to be considered at that point.  An informative requesting that a change of use be explored if the ancillary flat was not be used to its full potential, could be added.

 

It was MOVED by Councillor Wilcox, SECONDED by Councillor Windle, and

 

RESOLVED, by five votes for to one against

 

1.    To GRANT planning permission subject to a Section 106 Agreement and the conditions as outlined in the officer’s report and published addenda, any direction as may be received following further referral to the Mayor of London and the following:

i.      An amendment to Condition 34 to remove the restrictions on access hours of the roof terrace and to restrict amplified noise, with final wording to be agreed by Assistant Director of Planning, Transport and Development in consultation with the Chair.

ii.     An informative requesting that should the ancillary housing attached the public house use prove to be unnecessary, and an application be made for a change of use to residential, that affordable housing is prioritised and considered as part of the affordable housing offer of the development.

 

2.    To delegate authority to the Assistant Director of Planning, Transport and Development to:

a.    Finalise the recommended conditions as set out in the report, addendums and/or PAC minutes; and

b.    Negotiate, agree and finalise the planning obligations as set out in the report, addendums and/or PAC minutes pursuant to Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended).

 

3.    In the event that the Section 106 Agreement is not completed within six months of committee, to delegate authority to the Assistant Director of Planning, Transport and Development to refuse planning permission for failure to enter into a section 106 agreement for the mitigating contributions identified in the report, addendums and/or the PAC minutes.

 

Supporting documents: