Agenda item

Elizabeth House, 39 York Road (Bishops) 19/01477/EIAFUL

Officer’s recommendations:

 

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 obligations identified in this report, addendums and/or the PAC minutes.

 

Minutes:

Case No. 19/01477/EIAFUL (agenda item three, page 17 of the agenda pack, page 1 of the addendum and page 1 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 11 October 2019 and the day of the meeting. Members were advised of the key material planning issues for consideration which included the demolition of the existing buildings and footbridge, the construction of a new building from 12 to 31 storeys to provide office and flexible commercial floorspace, the provision of public realm improvements including new pedestrian routes, landscaping, waste and cycle storage, and associated servicing works.  The site was in the Central Activities Zone (CAZ) and the Waterloo Opportunity Area, which prioritised commercial development.  There was a consented scheme which included an element of residential use.  While this had technically been implemented, no housing had yet been provided and the application would therefore not result in a loss of housing. 

 

The public benefits of the application included low-cost office space, including subsidised office space, the provision of 11,000 jobs, the creation of step-free routes out of Waterloo station and the contribution towards a lift shaft to provide step-free access to the Northern Line. Members were shown images of the sites and its context, proposed floorplans and elevations, and views of the existing building, the consented scheme and the application.

 

Members then viewed the proposed materials and models with the Planning Officer and the Head of Conservation and Design.

 

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

·         The application had not sufficiently considered the local importance of the footbridge.  77 people had signed a petition objecting to the demolition of the bridge.

·         No figures for usage of the bridge were included in the report.

·         No statutory notice of the application was fixed to the bridge.

·         A previous application for a neighbouring site had required the developer to refurbish the bridge and provide lift access, which was now in place.

 

The applicant, agent and architect then provided the following information in support of the application:

·         Multiple proposals for the development of this site had not been implemented.

·         This application would provide a new, more sustainable building, with increased workspace, including a bespoke affordable workspace package.

·         Usage of Waterloo station was increasing, resulting in bottlenecks, particularly near Victory Arch which would worsen.  This application would provide new routes to the station as part of the public realm improvements.

·         The application would deliver 11,000 new jobs and provide public benefits of more than £100 million.

·         Garden space would be provided on roof levels, and four new public spaces would be provided as part of the application.

·         The provision of retail units on the ground floor would help to establish Waterloo as a shopping destination.

·         The South Bank Partnership and South Bank BID were supportive of the application and its public benefits.

·         The application would provide sustainable growth in line with the Council’s ambitions, and would enable other development ambitions to come forward.

 

Officers then provided the following information in response to questions from Members:

·         Councillor Kevin Craig had sent a representation on the day of the meeting, requesting a larger contribution towards Jubilee Gardens to mitigate the impact of increased use of the Gardens as a result of the application, as had been done in applications for neighbouring sites.

·         The emerging London Plan, due to be adopted in early 2020, prioritised commercial development in the Waterloo Opportunity Area of the CAZ, whereas the adopted London Plan sought some residential element in office developments.  Officers had given the emerging London Plan greater weight considering the stage it was at in its adoption and the direction of policy.

·         The consented scheme required the provision of affordable housing at 10 Leake Street.  While this had been technically implemented, no housing had been built, so there would be no loss of housing. The Council would be able to meet its housing targets without the consented scheme, as housing projections had excluded the site.

·         The quantum of retail space on the ground floor was large but considered viable given the location of the site and its proposed use.  A future change of use, if the retail use proved unviable, would have to be subject to a separate planning application.

·         The allocation of £2.7m of CIL funding towards the Northern Line, if agreed, would come from Lambeth CIL, as Mayoral CIL could not be used.  This funding would cover the creation of the lift shaft, and the provision of the lift would come from TfL. Once spent this sum could not be recouped if the lift was not provided.

·         Projected pedestrian flows showed an increase in the number of pedestrians using York Road, although the level of pedestrian comfort would be higher.

·         Leake Street currently had a low level of pedestrian flow, which was projected to increase as a result of the application.  The footway was narrow and could not be widened due to the constraints of the street. 

·         The servicing strategy prevented servicing during the morning and evening peak hours, and capped servicing from 12.00 to 14.00.  This application would generate fewer servicing trips compared to the consented scheme.

·         There would be multiple exits from Waterloo station which could be used by cyclists.  There would be a steep slope on the Curve element of public space, which would require the inclusion of steps.  If Members wished, a ramp to wheel bikes up these steps could be added.

·         Members were shown images of the route cyclists would have to take to reach the basement cycle storage.  Although the route to access the lifts to the cycle parking would be open to pedestrians and cyclists, pedestrians would be unlikely to use it as it would only provide access to the cycle storage.

·         Wayfinding signage, to be funded by s106 contributions, would direct people towards St Thomas’ Hospital through Waterloo Square to York Road, crossing the road either at Chicheley Road or further south.

·         The second addendum included a condition introducing a monitoring mechanism for the number of lorries arriving on site over a given period of time.  If the number of deliveries proved to be higher than expected, the applicant would be expected to address this or potentially pay a financial penalty.

·         The proposed fuel cells to power the development were currently undergoing testing in Germany and if successful and feasible would be used. The results were expected within a year.

·         End-use proposals were general at this stage, and any facilities such as a crèche would be ancillary to the office use and would be a decision for the applicant.  Unlike residential developments such as the adjacent Southbank Place, commercial developments did not have to provide certain levels of amenity space.  This application would provide amenity space for building users at rooftop level, as well as the public realm improvements at Waterloo Square, Victory Arch, and the Curve; which would likely limit any increase in use of Jubilee Gardens as a result of the application.

·         The stairs and lift had been installed on the western end of the footbridge as a result of the timing of the Shell Centre development.  It had been anticipated that the footbridge would have been demolished by the time that development was built, but the s106 Agreement for the Shell Centre included provision for footbridge access in the event that the consented scheme for Elizabeth House did not proceed.  The stairs and lift were owned by the owner of the Shell Centre, and required the landowner’s consent to remove them.  A separate planning application to remove the footbridge was currently live.

·         The garden promenade would be designed to allow sunlight to reach the plants, with planting to be agreed with arboricultural officers to ensure plants flourished.

·         The promenade would be a privately owned space.  The Promenade Management Plan included in the second addendum would require the promenade to be open as much as possible, without increasing the risk of danger for users or anti-social behaviour. 

·         A programme of 18 months of enabling works would be necessary before the 15 month demolition phase could begin.  The Structural Management Plan would include methods of minimising the impact of demolition, including dust.

·         Conservation officers considered that there would be less than substantial harm to Roupell Street based on there being an existing neighbouring building as part of the Shell Centre development, as well as the bulk and mass of this application being similar to the consented scheme.  The design of this application would be calm and recessive, and there would be a clear difference between historic and modern buildings.

·         The provision of subsidised workspace had been set at 15 years as it was considered the maximum period of time that would be viable.  If at the end of the 15 years the building owner did not want to continue the arrangement, the Council would work with tenants to find an alternative site.

 

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

·         The design of the application and the creation of new public space, particularly around Victory Arch, was welcome.

·         Members considered the 15 year period to provide subsidised rented workspace to businesses reasonable.

·         Although some Members expressed disappointment at the lack of residential provision, the application complied with policy.

·         The ‘less than substantial’ harm to heritage assets would be outweighed by the benefits of the development.

·         Although there was local objection to the removal of the footbridge, it was council policy to encourage road crossings at ground level and the consented scheme included the demolition of the footbridge.

·         St Thomas’ Hospital should be consulted on the wayfinding details.

·         A rail to allow cyclists to wheel their bicycles up the stairs on the Curve should be added.

·         Some Members expressed concern at the increase in pedestrian flow on Leake Street, and the potential conflict between pedestrians, cyclists and drivers.

·         Some Members considered that the level of funding allocated to Jubilee Gardens should potentially be increased, due to the possibility that use of Jubilee Gardens would be increased if an on-site crèche was provided.

 

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

·         It would be difficult to identify an increase in the use of Jubilee Gardens as a result of this development, and therefore to calculate a suitable level of contribution.

·         There would be amenity space on the rooftop, which could be designed to be suitable for children, through the Landscaping Plan.  The applicant confirmed that they would be willing to consider this in order to future-proof the development.

·         The S106 Agreement required consultation with St Thomas’ Hospital, and this could be amended to specify that consultation be required on wayfinding.

 

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

 

RESOLVED, unanimously

 

1.    To GRANT planning permission subject to a Section 106 Agreement, 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 informative to Condition 29 to require consultation with St Thomas’ Hospital on wayfinding proposals, with wording to be agreed with the Chair and Assistant Director, Planning, Transport and Development.

ii.     An amendment to Condition 34 iv to require the inclusion of a cycle rail on the stairs at the Curve and to include an element of child-friendly space.

iii.    An informative to pay particular regard to the potential conflict between cultural uses and pedestrian flow on Leake Street

 

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, 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 obligations identified in the report, addendums and/or the PAC minutes.

 

Supporting documents: