The presenting officer outlined the details of the case the demolition of the existing structures at 1 White Post Street SE15 and redevelopment to provide a mixed use development comprising the construction of two buildings ranging from 3-7 storeys and refurbishment of the 6 railway arches (No's 62 - 67), providing 975 sqm of flexible commercial floorspace (A1/A2/B1/D1) and 25 residential units; together with the provision of associated plant, amenity space, 3 accessible car parking spaces and 56 cycle spaces.
The presenting officer clarified that 3 car parking spaces would be provided, that 6 arches would be refurbished and that proposal is a more intensive and mixed use of the site. The presenting officer also highlighted that proposal is without on-site affordable housing provision and that a permission would be subject to a review mechanism.
The presenting officer outlined that 5 objections had been received and that the objections were in regards to overdevelopment of the site, addition of traffic and noise, overlooking and invasion of privacy, loss of sunlight into gardens, the construction impact, site security issues, loss of existing buildings and displacement of tenants and devaluation in house prices.
Councillor Krupski asked for clarification in regards to refuse collection as paragraph 4.12 states that there is limited room for refuse collection. The presenting officer clarified that servicing management would conditioned.
Councillor Sheikh asked for clarification on the issues raised in regards to the displacement of existing tenants. The presenting officer clarified it cannot be taken into account in terms of existing and new tenants as it is looked at in terms of the quantum and the range of uses lost and gained. The presenting officer also highlighted that impact on house prices is not a material planning consideration. Councillor Sheikh asked whether the existing businesses will be removed from the arches. The presenting officer clarified that the employment policy does not allow for the protection of existing users and the planning decision does not take into account the terms of the lease.
Councillor Penfold asked for clarification in terms of the further perceived gaps in the viability reports and whether the surplus has been looked into. The presenting officer highlighted that he is wary of commenting on individual paragraphs in the various report without taking them all in their proper context, and that a financial contribution may not equate to a whole affordable housing unit offsite contribution. The highlighted inconsistencies were later addressed by identifying the other parts of the report which explained that the gaps identified were not in fact gaps.
The difficulty in securing single units within development schemes was also highlighted, as registered provider will often seek instead to take on units accessed form access cores serving only that tenure.
Councillor Gallagher asked if why the figures between the two reports are so different in terms of viability, why is the application recommended for approval. The presenting officer clarified that there is an off-site affordable housing contribution of £107,000 and that in most instances there are differences in viability between the applicant’s initial reports, and the conclusions of the Council’s advisors, and that this is not a reason for refusal.
The committee received verbal representation from Jane Richardson and Jonathan Colefax on behalf of the applicants. Jane Richardson detailed the matters that have been addressed, these included obscure glazing being secured by condition, worked alongside designing out crime officers, and additional disabled parking has been provided and proposed street works. Jane Richardson also detailed that condition would be attached to a permission in regards to opening hours of commercial units to address noise concerns.
Jane Richardson addressed points raised by members in terms of displacement and stated that 1 arch is vacant, 1 is used for storage and that the others are relocating. Jane Richardson also outlined that the applicant has agreed to early and late stage review in terms of viability.
Councillor Krupski asked who would run/own the commercial units. Jane Richardson stated they would be open on the market and that the arches are jointly owned with Network Rail.
Councillor Gallagher asked for clarification in regards to the affordable housing contribution, is the recommendation subject to a condition and what the target profit is. The presenting officer states that government guidance talks about a range in terms of profit. Councillor Gallagher asked if members have the power to adjust the profit to 17.5% and model the viability output from this. The presenting officer outlines that there are different profit levels on different schemes depending on what is appropriate for that site, including its characteristics or the risks arising.
Councillor Krupski asked in terms of the Local Plan, how much demand is there for B class uses as no retail is proposed and how risk vs demand is calculated. The presenting officer stated he could not comment on risk vs demand but did state that the Council’s Economic Development team were consulted and they stated that a B use is appropriate. Jane Richardson stated that the proposed use has been proposed due to location and footfall.
No representations were received in objection of the application.
Councillor Mallory outlines his view that this proposal is a more substantial proposal but there have been two applications at this committee that have proposed no on site affordable housing. Councillor Mallory raised concern in regards to viability and that it would be helpful if the authors of the viability reports are present at meetings, all members agreed with this point.
Councillor Krupski moved a motion to accept the officer’s recommendation and this was seconded by Councillor Gibbons.
Members voted as follows:
FOR: Councillors Krupski, Gibbons, Ogunbadwa (Chair), Brown, Mallory and Moore.
Abstained: Councillors Penfold (Vice-Chair), Gallagher and Sheikh.
RESOLVED: That application DC/17/104772 be approved.
The meeting ended at 23.20
2nd August 2018