Land Rear Of Cooper Building, London, SW4 9DX (Clapham Common) 19/02523/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.
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.
Case No. 19/02523/FUL (agenda item three, page seven of the agenda report pack, page one of the first 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 28 February 2020 and the day of the meeting. Members were advised of the key material planning issues for consideration and it was noted that the scheme proposed to construct a part one, part two, part three, part four storey building accommodating 36 residential units (of which 35% would be affordable housing meeting the requirements of the Mayor’s Fast Track Route), cycle parking, four blue badge parking spaces, refuse storage, communal amenity space and private amenity areas. The site was currently being used as a car park, with some vegetation and trees along the site boundaries. The proposed scheme was within the Clapham Conservation Area and no harm was identified to it nor any other heritage assets. The car park reduction from 98 to 50 spaces was granted permission in November 2019. Access to the site would be through Maud Chadburn Place, which was a private road. The site did not fall within the definition of a backland site and therefore Policy Q14 of the Lambeth Local Plan was not applicable. It was the rear part of a larger site. To the north were 2-3 storey Victorian buildings; to the south was Minnie Kidd House (a 2-storey building providing NHS specialist care for the elderly); and to the west was the Cooper Building, a 5-storey building that housed a Tesco Superstore and residential flats. A communal play area would be provided on site for younger children aged 0-11 and a financial contribution paid for equipment at Clapham Common for older children. The proposed scheme was a car free development which would restrict future occupiers from obtaining car parking permits within the Controlled Parking Zone. Occupants would be provided with 3 years car club membership to be secured through the S106 agreement. The submitted swept path analysis for emergency vehicles was considered acceptable and construction management access would be from Hazelbourne Road. Members were shown images of the site, its context, proposed materials and design, and the existing and proposed views.
Following the officer’s presentation, the objectors raised the following concerns:
· Residents supported the principle of additional housing in line with Local Plan Policy H1 which seeks to maximise the supply of additional homes in the borough, but were concerned about the impact of the proposed development on local amenity.
· The scheme was too high and too close to housing, causing significant loss of light. This would cause an impact on residents’ health and wellbeing.
· The report used the five storey Cooper Building as a comparison, whereas most of the surrounding buildings were two storeys.
· Many windows in adjoining residential properties did not meet BRE guidance and assessments did not test room layouts, which contravened Policy Q2 of the Lambeth Local Plan.
· Paragraph 4.3 of the report was misleading as the reduction in height only relates to the northeast corner of the site, incorrectly suggesting that the developer had significantly reduced the overall mass and height.
· The development should be scaled down to two to three storeys.
· Residents from Englewood Road instructed two planning consultants, who both reached the conclusion that the proposal would not comply with Policies Q2, Q14 and H1 of Lambeth’s Local Plan.
· The proposed development would rise to 13m in places. One consultant described it was resulting in an oppressive and dominating relationship with existing adjoining properties and commented that 9m of separation was required.
· It has an unacceptable impact on daylight and sunlight.
· The Council’s original pre application response in 2018 stated that the development would have an unacceptable impact on the daylight, sunlight and amenity of nearby residential buildings. This was contrary to officers’ current recommendations.
· There was no smooth transition between Englewood Road and the new development.
The agent and architect then provided the following information in support of the application:
· The proposed would development provide 36 residential units of which 35% were affordable units.
· Due to the changes to consumer habits the full extent of the Tesco car park was no longer needed. A planning application to reduce the number of car parking spaces on this site had been approved, which would leave the site vacant and redundant.
· The proposed development responded well to its setting and had excellent public transport accessibility.
· The applicant had worked closely with the planning department and stakeholders and was pleased to receive the letter of support from Minnie Kidd House (NHS facility), which would benefit from a new disabled lift and minor refurbishment.
· The applicant had agreed with the NHS and Tesco to provide a dedicated access route to enable construction and minimise the impact on local residents.
· The applicant had organised one to one meetings with residents, briefings with the Clapham Society and Ward Councillors, and a wider public consultation event. The applicant acknowledged that residents had raised concerns but the scheme was compatible with the residential character of the area and was designed in accordance with the local context.
· The impact on sunlight and daylight had been independently reviewed by the Chancery Group. The scheme had changed significantly since officers’ pre-application advice had been given.
· The design had been informed by pre-application meetings and preserved the character and appearance of the conservation area. The development would be largely unnoticeable when walking along neighbouring streets. The scheme would have social, economic and environmental benefits, including the provision of 36 high quality homes. As a responsible developer, the applicant recognised the climate change emergency and would implement additional measures to improve the development.
· The scheme had not received any objections from statutory consultees.
Councillor Tim Briggs then spoke as Ward Councillor for Clapham Common, stating the following:
· The key issue was the 4 storey development. It was not appropriate to set the development height in accordance with the Cooper Building. It should be set against the residential two storey buildings closest to the development.
· The scheme would put Englewood Drive residents into darkness for 6 months of the year which would affect residents’ mental health.
· He requested a scheme that was two to three storeys in height.
Officers then provided the following information in response to questions from Members:
· The Cooper Building was built as a hospital in the early 20th century and the footprint today was roughly the footprint of the hospital, with parking to the rear and a garden.
· Policy Q14 was drafted to apply to difficult to access backland sites including small stable buildings and garages. These sites were often difficult to develop. Policy Q14(e) was not intended to apply to application sites which formed part of larger sites. Officers did not consider that the development would have an adverse impact in accordance with Policy Q14(e)(ii).
· Although the application submitted by Tesco to reduce the number of car parking spaces within their car park had been approved, it had not yet been implemented.
· The greatest height of the development was at the western end and the scheme had been designed to taper as it moved eastwards. The height of the Englewood Road properties was three storeys.
· The neighbouring properties had living and dining rooms on the ground floor and bedroom on the first and second floors facing the application site.
· The BRE first stage assessment had been conducted at neighbouring properties and had been higher than the 25-degree angle, therefore second stage testing needed to be completed. The properties on Englewood Road did not pass the Vertical Sky Component (VSC) test having values lower than 27%. A daylight and sunlight study had been submitted in support of the application. The Average Daylight Factor (ADF) was reserved for the assessment of light levels received within proposed buildings and not for the neighbouring properties.
· The overshadowing assessment met the BRE standard and the properties on Englewood Road would not be in shadow for six months of the year.
· The conservation area had been designated in 1969 and had been subject to further revisions. The officer opined that it included the development site because it was best practice to wrap the boundary around the whole of a site.
· The Cooper Building was built after the adjoining residential housing and had a closer relationship than the proposed building to the residential properties. The setback differences shown for Englewood Road, Hazelbourne Road and Cavendish Road were contextual, and were less than the distance between the proposed building and the surrounding residential properties.
· When officers gave advice in respect of the 2018 pre-application scheme they did not have the daylight/sunlight information and the site context plan (which informed the setbacks from neighbouring properties). It was only at the application stage that these assessments were provided. Since the pre-application, there had been a shift in the London Plan policies to maximise site capacity, which was of relevance to the assessment of the current scheme.
· The Council’s waste collection service would not be able to access the site due to the overhang of 1 Maud Chadburn Place. Therefore, the applicant would need to hire a private contractor to collect waste, which would be paid by the occupants of the properties. The Mayor’s Affordable Rent scheme was exclusive of service charges, but the Registered Provider that would be identified through the S106 agreement would negotiate the best price.
· Maud Chadburn Place was a private road, which was not a material consideration, and only needed to provide safe and adequate access.
The Committee considered points raised by speakers and information provided by officers in conjunction with the report before making the following observations:
· Members thanked the objectors for their helpful objections, which assisted Members to scrutinise the application.
· Some Members accepted that Policy Q14 would not apply to this application. Other Members considered that even if Policy Q14 was relevant, the impact on the amenity of neighbouring properties was not sufficient to justify the refusal of the application.
· Members believed that the removal of the car park was a benefit to the neighbourhood and welcomed the reduction in hard landscaping, the introduction of soft landscaping, biodiversity and ecological benefits, a reduction in flood risk and the increased homes that would be delivered.
It was MOVED by Councillor Wilcox, SECONDED by Councillor Simpson, and
1. To GRANT planning permission subject to a Section 106 Agreement and the conditions as outlined in the officer’s report and published addenda.
2. To delegate authority to the Assistant Director of Planning, Transport and Development to:
i. Finalise the recommended conditions as set out in the report, addendums and/or PAC minutes; and
ii. 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 contributions identified in the report, addendums and/or the PAC minutes.