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Meeting Commenced at 19:40. The minutes of the meeting Planning Committee (C) held on the 2nd August were approved.
Councillor Ogunbadwa (CO) welcomed all attendees, and announced that the order of Items as set out in the agenda would be amended.
Councillor Ogunbadwa (Chair) (CO) reminded members that they had previously deferred this item, and that the main issues to be considered are the air quality within the proposed flats, and the viability report and subsequent lack of affordable housing proposed.
The presenting officer outlined the additional information that had been received since the previous deferral, including an elevational alteration to the entrance which removed a ‘pinch point’ in the pavement, and an alteration to the proposed ventilation system which would draw air from the ‘cleaner’ side of the building.
He also introduced James Mercer (JM), the Planning Departments viability consultant from Urban Delivery, who would be able to answer more specific questions on the viability report assessment. It was iterated that no amendments had been made to the viability report, and that JM was present only to answer member’s queries.
Members were then invited to ask questions of the presenting officer. CS asked whether the air quality in the application area was any worse than the rest of the trunk road network in Lewisham.
RM replied that the application site’s air pollution readings were towards the higher end of all readings in the borough, but that there had been readings as bad or worse at other locations.
Councillor Gibbons (CG) stated that initially officers had disagreed with the viability report, but eventually came to the conclusion that it was acceptable, and asked what this initial objection was.
JM stated that the disagreement regarded the developer’s calculation of the benchmark land value, residual land value, and initial construction costs, which were £250,000 lower than the Council’s estimation. However, based on the 17.5% profit margin for the developer it was concluded that the site would be unviable if the proposal included affordable housing.
The applicants were then invited to speak in support of the proposal. Present were the applicant, their agent and specialist consultants.
They stated that the proposal would regenerate the site, included 3 bedroom family homes, a £350,000 financial contribution to the borough, and had received 32 letters of support.
They stated that a mechanical ventilation system would be installed to alleviate the air quality concerns, future residents would therefore be afforded better air quality than those in the existing buildings, and that the CIL contributions could be utilised by the Council to improve air quality in the borough.
They also stated that without minimum levels of return for developers then the housing crisis would only be exacerbated.
Finally the stated that the pinch point in the pavement found in the previous revision of the plans had been amended.
CO then invited members to ask questions of the applicants.
CS stated that he had previously met with the developers, in order to see the design of the proposal, and asked them what market testing had been done, and what measures would be utilised to ensure the ground floor units were let commercially, acknowledging recent trends in retail, which may make the units difficult to let.
The applicant stated that the ... view the full minutes text for item 3.
The presenting officer (RM) outlined the facts of the case for the retrospective application for planning permission and advertisement consent for a free-standing solar-powered Smart Bench with advertisement panels on the Pavement at Intersection of Sydenham Road & Queensthorpe Road, SE26. They noted that the applicant had been given advice that the bench was permitted development, however, it was later discovered that planning permission was required.
The applicants were invited to speak in support of the application. The founder of Strawberry Energy, and their agent introduced themselves and gave a brief overview of the smart benches and their functionality, and stated that 8 of 10 applications in the borough had already been approved.
No questions from members followed, and the objector was invited to speak against the proposal.
Annabel McClaren, the chair of the Sydenham Society argued that the bench was harmful to the conservation area, and that the TfL bench that has been replaced by the smart bench was of a better quality and more inclusive of those with disabilities – as it had a back and arm rest. It was also claimed that local residents had not been adequately consulted. Before and after photos were tabled for Councillors.
Councillor Smith (CS) expressed sympathy for the objectors cocnerns, particularly with regard to the unsuitability of the smart bench for those with disabilities, however, he stated that there were other available, more standard, benches within close proximity. He stated that some of the existing shop fronts and adverts, and even parked vehicles were more of an eyesore than the bench, and did not think the harm to the conservation area would be sufficient to warrant refusal.
CS motioned to accept the officer’s recommendation and was seconded by Councillor Brown (CB).
Members voted as follows:
FOR: Councillors Ogunbadwa (Chair), Gibbons, Brown, Smith.
RESOLVED: Unanimous vote to accept officer’s recommendation to grant planning permission and advertisement consent for DC/18/105750 and DC/18/105751
The presenting officer outlined the details of the case, as very similar to the previous item (item 3), but in a different location. The applicant is the same, and the nature of objections similar.
The applicant stated that adequate consultations had been carried out with highways and local residents, and that he considered the benches to be a public benefit.
No objectors spoke against the scheme.
CS made similar comments as he did during the previous item, around the fact that adverts on shop fronts in the immediate vicinity were more harmful than the advertisement on the benches.
He acknowledged that some objectors were against the specifics of what the benches were advertising and that this could not be materially considered, especially considering that is likely to change.
CS motioned to accept the officer’s recommendation, which was seconded by Councillor Gibbons (CG).
Members voted as follows:
For: Councillors Brown, Ogunbadwa (Chair), Smith and Gibbons.
RESOLVED: Unanimous vote to accept officer’s recommendation to grant planning permission and advertisement consent for DC/18/105689 and DC/18/105720
The presenting officer outlined that this item was an information update for members to note regarding refused application for planning permission (DC/17/100680), which has subsequently been appealed by the applicant.
It was stated that the Council have sought Counsel on defending the refusal reasons put forward by this committee, and it has been agreed that only reason 1 and 2 will be defended. Reasons 3 and 4 are considered to be indefensible as the evidence for them cannot be substantiated, for the reasons outlined in the report in the agenda.
A statement of case in effect of this has been sent to the Inspectorate, and an inquiry is due to be held in 2019.
Councillors noted the update.
RESOLVED: Noted by councillors
At 20:08 Councillor Sheikh (CSh) arrived and took a seat at the member’s table, shortly followed by Councillor Mallory (CM).
The meeting ended at 22.20, 11th September 2018.