To consider the report of the Liveable Exeter Programme Director and Interim City Development Lead.
The Principal Project Manager (Development) (PJ) presented the outline planning application to build student accommodation and ancillary amenity facilities (up to a maximum of 49,821 sq. metres) and external alterations and refurbishment of Birks Grange Village Blocks A-E; with associated infrastructure, demolition of existing buildings and landscaping (All Matters Reserved).
The following key issues were referred to:-
· the principle of development;
· impact on wider landscape and residential amenity;
· scale, design, impact on character and appearance
· access and impact on local highways;
· ecological issues,
· Sustainable Construction and Energy Conservation;
· Economic benefits and CIL.
The Principal Project Manager (Development) set out a detailed description of the site and surrounding area, including site photographs, photos of views towards the site and the relationship with the surrounding residential properties particularly Glenthorne Road, Clydesdale Road, Elmbridge Gardens, Streatham Drive, Lodge Hill, Dunvegan Close and Highcroft as well as Holland Hall and Mardon Hall. The site comprised an area of land to the western side of the Streatham campus comprising existing student residential halls of Clydesdale and Nash Grove, Birks Grange Halls and associated refectory and the existing Estates Service Centre within a site area of 6.37 hectares.
The Principal Project Manager provided the following additional detail, explaining in each of the four cases below the overall impact of the new scheme on nearby residential properties and this part of the campus and the changes made by the applicant following consultation, in particular on heights and window alignment in relation to adjacent residences:-
· the areas to be demolished were:-
· existing two and three storey buildings at Clydesdale and Nash Halls to be replaced with new student accommodation ranging in height from three to eight storeys;
· existing service centre to be replaced with student accommodation buildings varying in height from three to four;
· the existing Birks Grange refectory building to be replaced with a new six storey student accommodation building; and
· refurbishment of existing accommodation blocks A-E of the Birks Grange. The refectory demolition would remove catered halls with kitchens to be provided within each flat reducing the overall number of units as a consequence.
· there would be a net increase of between 1,200 to 1,250 new student bed spaces, although the precise number of units was not for determination at this stage but the illustrative/supporting information provided an indication of these numbers. The total new build would result in approximately 1,500 new bedspaces (against a net reduction of 287 spaces). The scheme’s design was based on all the new buildings being constructed to Passivhaus standards;
· the submitted outline planning application sought approval for a maximum permitted floor area rather than a specific number of units, an approach used for the development of the East Park development;
· in addition, solar panels were proposed above the existing car parking to the east of Holland Park and south of Grafton Road. The type and design would be determined at the reserved matters stage. The application proposed no change to the overall number of car parking spaces within the campus;
· a new footway was proposed along the eastern side of Streatham Drive to improve access to and from these sites which would be constructed on an existing grassed area;
· a new internal road was proposed in the area of existing estate service centre to connect the main campus to Birks Grange. The applicant had indicated that this road would only be used by the estates team to remove the need to access this part of the campus via the public highway; and
· the application was accompanied by a significant number of reports and plans including indicative images of how the buildings may ultimately be designed. The application was for outline planning permission with all matters reserved and were not approved drawings, unless forming part of the parameter plans, which intended to direct the extent and height of the development.
Responding to Members’ queries, the Principal Project Manager (Development) also advised that:-
· the re-orientation of windows reduced the impact on neighbouring properties but also ensured future student occupiers would benefit from acceptable outlooks;
· other than East Park, where some blocks were similar in scale, there were no accommodation structures on the campus of eight storeys; and
· improvements were not proposed for the Birks driveway/B3183 junction.
The Principal Project Manager (Development) also advised that:-
· 41 objections had been received;
· the impact of the new buildings, particularly in terms of height, were considered acceptable within the site’s wider context especially given the sloping nature of the site and as there were taller buildings elsewhere on the campus;
· the proposal was not considered to cause significant harm to residential amenity of nearby residential properties; and
· the location was considered to be sustainable and the proposal was acceptable in its design and general visual impact.
Mr Hopwood spoke against the application. He raised the following points:-
· speaking on behalf of Elmbridge Gardens Residents’ Association with regards to the proposals to increase student accommodation in Birks Grange Village;
· support additional first year students on campus but overcapacity is counter- productive, both to an introduction to university life and resident wellbeing;
· accommodating high student numbers in high-rise buildings will increase noise disturbance on neighbouring residents;
· a six storey block and modifications to other blocks will result in a greater impact from further students with most of the disturbing noise being in the late evening and early hours of the morning with noise levels often intolerable at week-ends, Freshers’ Weeks etc.;
· noise during anti-social hours is unacceptable to local residents and noise mitigation measures need to be considered in the planning stages;
· residents prefer the four storey buildings, not six storeys, with the social and amenities centre located as far as possible from the boundary with local housing;
· the location of B Block on Birks Bank will cause the loss of privacy in the homes and gardens of local residents. It is currently the site for the Estates Services Centre, consisting of single storey buildings and greenhouses well concealed and protected behind fencing and bushes to blend in with the landscape;
· these blocks will not blend in with the landscape and will overlook many private residences including Elmbridge Gardens and Dunvegan Close at the base of the slope. Homes and gardens will lose their privacy and light from windows and external lighting will be invasive; and
· although the height of accommodation blocks has been reduced, they still overlook private properties. Blocks of accommodation are unsuitable for this site. The bank should be left to act as a buffer zone and remain a natural wildlife corridor on this environmentally-friendly campus.
Responding to a Member, he stated that Elbridge residents, in seeking to report early morning incidents, had been frustrated by a short staffed estate patrol service.
Mr McCann spoke in support of the application. He raised the following points:-
· the proposals respond to the University Adopted Masterplan that identifies this part of the campus for re-development and accords with adopted policy which support provision of Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) on or near the campuses;
· policies require a minimum of 75% of PBSA student growth;
· the provision of PBSA would rise to 83%, going above the minimum 75% provision. If all schemes approved were built out, the spilt for PBSA provision since 2007 would be 52% in the City and 48% on campus;
· it will accommodate growth, particularly first year and international guarantee places on campus
· campus accommodation is very popular with students providing a good level of pastoral care and provides a short walk to the campus;
· on campus accommodation eases the pressure on Houses in Multiple Occupation conversions in the City in accordance with Policy CP5;
· the proposals have been reduced in height at the boundaries and measures taken to minimise windows from facing boundaries;
· the proposals have evolved over several months following public consultation and scrutiny by the Design Review Panel;
· proposal would be built to Passivhaus standard; and
· the Streatham campus is a sustainable location for student accommodation.
Responding to Members’ queries he advised that:-
· the growth in student numbers of 8,000 over a four year period, as opposed to the earlier anticipated figure of 3,000, was a response to changing national policy and increased demand;
· the re-development comprises cluster flats to cater for a mix of students;
· the student management plan included requirement for a robust estate service patrol and it is the intention to increase the frequency of night patrols;
· improvements will be made to the Streatham Road/Prince Charles Road junction but not the Birks/B3183 junction; and
· on line and in person consultation was conducted with residents over a two week period and comments taken on board including height reductions and re-orientation of windows.
Councillor K. Mitchell, having given notice under Standing Order No. 44, spoke on the item. He raised the following points:-
· developers often expect that, following negotiations, their initial scale, massing proposals etc. will be reduced to a level which would have been ultimately acceptable to them when they first put forward their applications;
· the development will have a major adverse impact on the visual setting of Duryard and St James and irrevocably change the character of the area;
· Blocks D1 and E, in particular, will have a detrimental impact on neighbouring properties;
· local residents also concerned about light pollution;
· scale and massing is significantly larger than the existing buildings;
· the University should take concerns about noise and disturbance seriously and a student management plan is necessary prior to development to minimise the impact of additional student numbers and to ensure robust sanctions and a clear 24 hour reporting system; and
· CIL receipts should be focussed on communities directly affected by developments, Duryard and St James having born a disproportinate impact from increasing student numbers.
Members made the following comments:-
· concerns about density and scale of development with a significant increase in floor space and an inner city style of development which is inappropriate for an area characterised by green spaces;
· disturbances caused by students remain an issue including along New North Road and a robust student management plan is a requirement;
· light pollution from the halls as well as noise should be addressed;
· development is to the benefit of the University not residents;
· the development takes place on an already developed area of the campus;
· University commitment to increasing patrols and wardens is welcome;
· welcome Passivhaus approach;
· importance of liaising with the community as part of the student management plan; and
· light pollution, particularly from stairwells, should be addressed and a light management plan would be beneficial.
Members requested an amendment to condition 11 to include reference to the impact of internal as well as external lighting.
The recommendation was for approval, subject to the conditions as set out in the report.
The recommendation was moved, seconded and agreed as amended.
RESOLVED that, subject to the completion of a Section 106 Agreement under the Town and Country planning Act 1990 securing a Student Management Plan and a financial contribution towards Streatham Drive/New North Road junction of £25,000 and Traffic Regulation Order contribution, outline planning permission to build student accommodation and ancillary amenity facilities (up to a maximum of 49,821 sq. metres) and external alterations and refurbishment of Birks Grange Village Blocks A-E; with associated infrastructure, demolition of existing buildings and landscaping (All Matters Reserved) be APPROVED, subject also to the following conditions:-
1) Approval of the details of the layout, scale, appearance of the buildings, the means of access thereto and the landscaping of the site (hereinafter called "the reserved matters") shall be obtained from the Local Planning Authority in writing before any development is commenced.
Reason: To safeguard the rights of control by the Local Planning Authority in respect of the reserved matters.
2) Application for the approval of the reserved matters shall be made to the Local Planning Authority before the expiration of five years from the date of the permission and the development hereby permitted shall be begun before the expiration of five years from the date of the permission, or before the expiration of two years from the date of the approval of the last of the reserved matters to be approved whichever is the later.
Reason: To ensure compliance with section 91 - 93 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.
3) The development hereby permitted shall not be carried out otherwise than in accordance with the Site Location Plan 010002 Rev P2, Demolition Plan (dwg no. 010003 Rev P2); Land Use Parameters Plan (dwg no. 010010 Rev P2); Movement and Access Parameter Plan (dwg no. 010011 Rev P2); Heights Parameter Plan (dwg no. 010012 Rev P2) & Landscape and Biodiversity Parameter Plan (Figure 1, dated 16th April 2020) as modified by other conditions of this consent.
Reason: In order to ensure compliance with the approved drawings.
4) Before works commence on any individual building(s) details of the finished floor levels and overall roof heights of the building(s) in relation to a fixed point or O.S datum (not to exceed the AOD specified in the Building Heights Parameter Plan dwg no 010012 rev P2) have been submitted to, and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority.
Reason: In the interest of visual amenity and the appropriate development of the site.
5) No development shall take place until an Outline Landscape and Ecology Management Plan, to include recommendations, has been submitted to and approved by the Local Planning Authority. The Management Plan shall indicate
a) how the existing biodiversity of the site will be protected, in accordance with all relevant legislation;
b) how the proposed development and associated works will enhance wildlife in the area and
c) how the landscaped area is to be managed to include an ecological clerk of works
and shall be submitted to the Local Planning Authority for review on a 24 month basis unless otherwise agreed in writing;
Reason: In the interests of nature conservation.
6) No development shall take place until a Detailed Arboricultural Method Statement in association with the Tree Protection Plan for the demolition and construction phase of the development has been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. The Tree Protection Plan shall also consider how trees adjacent to the site, including the Pinetum, are to be protected. The final method statement shall incorporate a provisional programme of works; supervision and monitoring details by an Arboricultural Consultant shall proceed in accordance with the measures described in the Arboricultural Method Statement throughout the duration of the works.
Reason - To ensure the continued wellbeing of the trees in the interests of the amenity and environmental quality of the locality.
7) No development (including ground works) or vegetation clearance works shall take place until a Construction Environmental Method Statement has been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. The Statement shall provide for:
a) The parking of vehicles of site operatives and visitors.
b) Loading and unloading of plant and materials.
c) Storage of plant and materials used in constructing the development.
d) The erection and maintenance of securing hoarding, if appropriate, which shall be kept clear of graffiti and fly-posting.
e) Wheel washing facilities.
f) Measures to control the emission of dust and dirt during construction.
g) A scheme for recycling/disposing of waste resulting from construction works, with priority given to reuse of building materials on site wherever practicable.
h) No burning on site during construction or site preparation works
i) Measures to minimise noise nuisance to neighbours from plant and machinery.
j) Construction working hours and deliveries from 8:00 to 18:00 Monday to Friday, 8:00 to 13:00 on Saturdays and at no time on Sundays or Bank Holidays.
The approved Statement shall be adhered to throughout the construction period of the development.
Reason: In the interest of residential amenity.
8) No development shall take place, including any works of demolition, until a Construction Traffic Management Plan has been submitted to, and approved in writing by, the Local Planning Authority. The statement should include details of route of construction traffic vehicles, access arrangements, timings and management of arrivals and departures of vehicles. The approved Statement shall be adhered to throughout the construction period unless otherwise agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority.
Reason: In the interests of highway safety and public amenity
9) No development shall take place on site until a full investigation of the site has taken place to determine the extent of, and risk posed by, any contamination of the land and the results, together with any remedial works necessary, have been agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority. The building(s) shall not be occupied until the approved remedial works have been implemented and a remediation statement submitted to the Local Planning Authority detailing what contamination has been found and how it has been dealt with together with confirmation that no unacceptable risks remain.
Reason: In the interests of residential amenity
10) The applicant shall undertake a noise impact assessment for this application, which shall be submitted and approved in writing prior to commencement of the development. This report shall consider the impact of noise from the development on local receptors and shall include noise from plant and equipment as well as noise from deliveries, communal areas, residents and events.
If, following the above assessment, the LPA concludes that noise mitigation measures are required, the applicant shall then submit a scheme of works to ensure that the development does not have a significant negative impact on local amenity. These measures shall be agreed in writing by the LPA and shall be implemented prior to and throughout the occupation of the development.
Reason: In the interests of residential amenity.
11) Prior to the commencement of the development an assessment of the impact of all internal and external lighting associated with the development shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. The assessment should address the impact of the lights (including hours of use) on the nearest receptors. Thereafter the lighting shall be installed and maintained in accordance with the specifications within the assessment.
Reason: In the interests of residential amenity.
12) No part of the development hereby approved shall be brought into its intended use until secure cycle parking facilities have been provided and maintained in accordance with details that shall have been submitted to, and approved in writing by, the Local Planning Authority and retained for that purpose at all times
Reason: To ensure that adequate facilities are available for the traffic attracted to the site.
13) No development related works shall take place within the site until a written scheme of archaeological work has been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. This scheme shall include on-site work, and off-site work such as the analysis, publication, and archiving of the results, together with a timetable for completion of each element. All works shall be carried out and completed in accordance with the approved scheme, unless otherwise agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority.
Reason: To ensure the appropriate identification, recording and publication of archaeological and historic remains affected by the development.
14) This consent does not imply the approval of the details of access, siting, layout or design shown on the illustrative masterplan, which must be the subject of a further application for approval of reserved matters.
Reason: To safeguard the rights of control by the Local Planning Authority in respect of the reserved matters.
15) The development hereby permitted shall be limited to a total gross internal floor area of 49,821 sq metres.
Reason: To ensure that the environmental and residential amenity considerations are safeguarded.
16) The development hereby approved shall achieve Secured By Design 'Gold' Standard which shall be submitted to and approved by the Local Planning Authority unless otherwise agreed in writing.
Reason: To ensure that both the physical and environmental crime prevention measures are taken into account throughout the design and construction of the scheme.
17) No part of the development hereby approved shall be occupied until the proposed new pedestrian footway adjacent to Streatham Drive (as indicated on the Movement and Access Parameter Plan (dwg no. 010011 Rev P2) has been provided in accordance with details that shall previously have been submitted to, agreed and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority.
Reason: To provide adequate facilities to promote the use of sustainable modes, in accordance with paragraphs 29 and 32 of the National Planning Policy Framework.
18) The development shall be designed in accordance with Passivhaus Principles. Prior to occupation, or as soon as practicable after occupation, evidence of Passivhaus certification shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority.
Reason: To ensure that the proposal is in accordance with the aims of Policy CP15 of Council's Adopted Core Strategy and in the interests of delivering sustainable development.
19) No development shall take place on site until an investigation has taken place to determine the risk posed by unexploded ordinances and results, together with any further works necessary, have been agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority. The approved works shall be implemented in full and a completion report shall be submitted to the Local Planning Authority for approval in writing prior to the commencement of development.
Reason: In the interests of public safety.
20) Pre-commencement condition: Prior to the commencement of the development hereby permitted, a Waste Audit Statement shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. This statement shall include all information outlined in the waste audit template provided in Devon County Council's Waste Management and Infrastructure Supplementary Planning Document. The development shall be carried out in accordance with the approved statement.
Reason: To minimise the amount of waste produced and promote sustainable methods of waste management in accordance with Policy W4 of the Devon Waste Plan and the Waste Management and Infrastructure Supplementary Planning Document. These details are required pre-commencement as specified to ensure that building operations are carried out in a sustainable manner.
21) No part of the development hereby approved shall be brought into its intended use until the proposed improvements on Streatham Drive as indicated on Drawing No. 2012758-02, have been provided in accordance with details that shall previously have been submitted to, agreed and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority, in consultation with the Local Highway Authority.
Reason: To provide a safe and suitable access for pedestrian and cyclists, in accordance with Paragraphs 108 and 110 of the NPPF.
22) No part of the development hereby approved shall be brought into its intended use until the private highway works, as indicated on Drawing No 103259-SK06, have been provided in accordance with details that shall previously have been submitted to, agreed and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority.
Reason: To provide a safe and suitable access for vehicles, pedestrian and cyclists, in accordance with Paragraphs 108 and 110 of the NPPF.
23) Prior to occupation of the development, details shall be submitted to the Local Planning Authority of cycle parking provision for the development. Development shall not be occupied until such details have been agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority and Local Highway Authority, and prior to occupation the cycle parking shall be provided in accordance with the submitted details.
Reason: To ensure that the development promotes all travel modes to reduce reliance on the private car, in accordance with paragraph 110 of the NPPF.
24) No development shall take place, including any works of demolition, until adequate areas shall have been made available within the site, or other areas as agreed in writing by the local planning authority, to accommodate operatives' vehicles, construction plant and materials and a Construction Method Statement has been submitted to, and approved in writing by, the local planning authority. The statement should include details of access arrangements, measures to minimise the impact on adjacent footpaths and timings of the proposed works. The approved Statement shall be adhered to throughout the construction period.
Reason: In the interests of highway safety and public amenity
1) The Local Planning Authority considers that this development will be CIL (Community Infrastructure Levy) liable. Payment will become due following commencement of development. A Liability Notice is attached to this permission. It is also drawn to your attention that where a chargeable development is commenced before the Local Authority has received a valid commencement notice (i.e. where pre-commencement conditions have not been discharged) the Local Authority may impose a surcharge, and the ability to claim any form of relief from the payment of the Levy will be foregone. You must apply for any relief and receive confirmation from the Council before commencing development. For further information please see www.exeter.gov.uk/cil.; and
2) A Section 106 Agreement is attached to this development.