Agenda and minutes

Agenda and minutes

Venue: Town Hall

Contact: Ishbel Morren  Email: legalanddemocratic@watford.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

48.

Apologies for absence/Committee membership

49.

Disclosure of interests (if any)

    Minutes:

    There were three disclosures of interest on item 6 – 17/01413/FULM and 17/01414/LBC from Councillors Barks, Bashir and S Johnson.  All three confirmed that they had not expressed any opinions publicly on this item and had come to the meeting with an open mind.

     

50.

Minutes

51.

17/01367/FULM 16-18, St Albans Road and former Kingham Memorial Hall car park, St John's Road pdf icon PDF 142 KB

    Redevelopment of existing garage and surface parking areas for 90 one and two bedroom apartments in one 8 storey building and one 10 storey building

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The committee received the report of the Head of Development Management, including the relevant planning history of the site and details of the responses to the application. 

     

    The Development Management Team Leader (PB) introduced the report explaining that the application proposed the redevelopment of existing garage and surface parking areas for 90 one and two bedroom apartments in one eight storey building and one 10 storey building with associated hard and soft landscaping areas.

     

    Attention was drawn to the update sheet which included some comments from Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) as the Lead Local Flood Authority.  HCC had removed its earlier objection subject to the imposition of three additional conditions.

     

    The Chair invited Trevor North, a local resident, to speak against the application.  Speaking on behalf of residents from both Central and Nascot wards, Mr North commented that local people from the area surrounding the site were not against redevelopment in principle.  However there were concerns that the current proposal was an overdevelopment of the site and did not create an effective, sustainable solution for the lifetime of the development, would be harmful to the health of existing residents and would contribute to a loss of character or privacy of the area.

     

    Mr North had submitted a lengthy document, containing detailed evidence to back-up these assertions.  This had been sent to the committee members ahead of the meeting.

     

    Responding to a series of queries from the Chair about the issues raised by Mr North, the Development Management Team Leader confirmed that the air quality management area on St Albans Road did not extend to this site.  In addition, a microclimate report had not been considered necessary.  The street canyon effect was less relevant to the current application, since the street was not characterised by tall buildings extending along the length of the street.  Indeed, St John’s Road was on the boundary of two character areas, with taller buildings at either end (on St Albans Road and Clarendon Road) and lower residential buildings in between.

     

    It was confirmed that whilst car ownership by residents in car-free developments could not be stopped, the use of controlled parking zones, possibly using extended hours, would provide considerable discouragement.

     

    The Chair invited Douglas Bond from Woolf Bond Planning, to speak to the committee.  Speaking on behalf of the applicant, Mr Bond explained that considerable consultation had been undertaken with the council, housing representatives, local residents and ward councillors to come up with a workable solution for the site.  The resultant policy compliant scheme would redevelop a brownfield site to provide high quality accommodation (33% affordable).   The development would complete the gap in this stretch of St Albans Road, stepping down in height to complement adjacent houses on surrounding roads.

     

    The change of use of the site would reduce traffic to and from the garage and free up on-street parking space for local residents with the decrease in the number of cross over points.  Although car free, the development was 400 metres from a car share  ...  view the full minutes text for item 51.

52.

17/01436/FUL 25 Cassiobury Park Avenue pdf icon PDF 109 KB

    Erection of part single storey and part two storey rear extension and the conversion of the enlarged dwelling to two apartments

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The committee received the report of the Head of Development Management, including the relevant planning history of the site and details of the responses to the application. 

     

    The Development Management Team Leader (HN) introduced the report.  He explained that the application proposed the erection of a part single storey and part two storey rear extension and the conversion of the enlarged dwelling into two apartments (one of 4 bedrooms and one of 2 bedrooms) with a covered porch and alterations to the front driveway.

     

    The Chair invited Raj Garg, Treasurer of the Cassiobury Triangle Residents’ Association, to speak to the committee.  Mr Garg explained that he was speaking on behalf of the immediate neighbours to the development as well as for the local residents’ association. 

     

    Local residents were concerned about three key impacts.  First, parking pressures as a result of new road markings coupled with the proposed additional dropped kerb to enable access to the development.  Second, the extent of overdevelopment of the site.  Third the detrimental effect of the development on the character of the surrounding area – residents were concerned that this development would set a precedent, enabling the wider building of flats in the area in contravention of the local covenant.

     

    In a clarification by the Chair, it was confirmed that restrictive covenants were a civil matter and could not be taken into account by the committee.

     

    The Chair invited Stephen Melvin of Artelier Architecture and Design to speak for the application.   Mr Melvin confirmed that planning permission had already been received to develop the current property and that today’s application sought permission to split the accommodation into two flats.  This was in line with the council’s own policy and recognised that large houses with few residents were not a sustainable model at a time of growing housing need.  The resultant family sized accommodation would be fully policy compliant.

     

    Addressing parking concerns, Mr Melvin advised that the street was characterised by a range of different front garden arrangements, which included extended crossovers and hardstanding for a number of parked cars.  The proposed parking arrangements for the development would not therefore be out of keeping with the surrounding area.

     

    The Chair thanked the speakers and invited comments from the committee.

     

    Committee members considered that the proposed development was fully policy compliant and would allow two good sized family properties on the current single plot. 

     

    Acknowledging local residents’ concerns about the potential for the street to become characterised by flatted developments, the committee noted that council policy would prevent no more than 10% of surrounding properties being similarly converted in order to protect the character of the area from being changed detrimentally over time.

     

    The Chair moved the officer’s recommendation.

     

    RESOLVED –

     

    That planning permission be granted subject to the following conditions:

     

    1.         The development to which this permission relates shall be begun within a period of three years commencing on the date of this permission.

               

    2.         All the external surfaces shall be finished in materials to match the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 52.

53.

17/01413/FULM and 17/01414/LBC 147a, 149a, 149b and land to the rear of 149 St Albans Road pdf icon PDF 253 KB

    Planning consent for the redevelopment of the site to provide a mixed use scheme comprising 150 residential units, flexible commercial units and use of the Old Station building as an artisan tap room and/or community space

     

    Listed building consent (at 147a only) for alterations to the Old Station building 

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The committee received the report of the Head of Development Management, including the relevant planning history of the site and details of the responses to the application. 

     

    The Principal Planning Officer introduced the report, explaining that the application sought planning consent for the redevelopment of the site to provide a mixed use scheme comprising 150 residential units, a flexible commercial unit and use of the Old Station building as an artisan tap room and/or community space, alterations to the listed building, associated cycle parking, car parking, play-space and landscaping and associated works.  In addition, listed building consent was sought for alterations to the Old Station building associated with its conversion to an artisan tap-room and/or community space. 

     

    Attention was drawn to the update sheet which included some additional comments and corrections to the officer’s report following new information from the applicant.

     

    The Chair invited Kevin Ambrose of the Nascot Residents’ Association (NRA) to speak against the application.  Mr Ambrose advised that local residents were supportive of the council’s objective to regenerate the Watford Junction area, as outlined in a presentation to the residents association some 15 months previously.  The NRA was particularly supportive of the need to redevelop the railway station itself which was unable to meet the current demands placed on it.

     

    However, the NRA considered the current application failed to conform to the council’s plans for this area.  The piecemeal approach would damage the prospect of a comprehensive development of this triangle of land and would not contribute to the redevelopment of Watford Junction station.  In addition, residents were opposed to the excessive building bulk represented by two tower blocks of 13 and 11 storeys.  These were considered to be in excess of the council’s published policy for this area.

     

    In response to Mr Ambrose’s comments, officers clarified that the 2016 masterplan was a draft consultation document and did not represent formal council policy.  Although the development did not include all sites in the area, considerable thought had been given to the positioning of the windows and the orientation of the buildings so as not to prejudice the subsequent development of adjacent sites. 

     

    Responding to questions about the redevelopment of Watford Junction station, officers advised that the special policy area (SPA2 Watford Junction), which included the proposed development, did not attract CIL charges.  However, under a section 106 agreement, a financial contribution had been secured towards improved lighting in the subway leading to the railway station from Church Road under St Albans Road.

     

    The Chair invited Sam Hine from DP9 to speak for the applicant.  Mr Hine stated that this was a good location for housing.  The masterplan design approach discussed above would allow other sites to come forward over time to further enhance and improve the area.  The current scheme was car light and would provide much needed housing, including a commuted sum totalling the equivalent of 35% affordable, in a sustainable location.

     

    In devising the current scheme, the applicant had consulted widely amongst local residents and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 53.

54.

17/00779/FULM Wetherspoon House, Reeds Crescent pdf icon PDF 107 KB

    Mixed used development in a 3 storey building over existing basement car park, comprising 40 hotel rooms, conference rooms, kitchen and dining facilities and 8 residential units

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The committee received the report of the Head of Development Management, including the relevant planning history of the site and details of the responses to the application.

     

    The Development Management Team Leader (PB) introduced the report.  He explained that the application was for a mixed use development in a three storey building over an existing basement car park comprising 40 hotel rooms (80 beds), conference rooms, kitchen and dining facilities, 8 residential units within the roof space, additional recycling areas, bicycle racks, refuse areas and storage areas.

     

    In the absence of any public speakers, the Chair invited Tudor Ward Councillor Joe Fahmy to speak to the committee.  Whilst welcoming the investment by Wetherspoons in the town, Councillor Fahmy asked the committee to consider whether the development was appropriate in this area.  The surrounding roads to the site were heavily congested with parked cars, and local residents were concerned that this development would exacerbate the problem further. 

     

    Before inviting comments from the committee, the Chair advised that he considered the scale and design of the proposed development to be appropriate.  It would conceal parked cars beneath the building and bring benefit to a significant local employer.

     

    Members of the committee reflected that acute parking concerns were experienced at various points around the town.  Although councillors acknowledged the considerable frustration of local residents about the high levels of parking in the area, largely from users of the railway station, this did not provide grounds for refusal.  It was noted that there were no parking restrictions on surrounding public roads.

     

    The Development Management Team Leader explained that the applicant intended to make primary use of the new hotel.  Currently Wetherspoons received some 500 visitors a month who used conference facilities and overnight accommodation at other locations around the town.  This development would consolidate activity to a single location.

     

    Due to the close proximity to Watford Junction station, committee members considered that visitors to the company’s facilities might be encouraged to travel by train rather than car.

     

    The Chair moved the officer’s recommendation.

     

    RESOLVED –

     

    That planning permission be granted subject to the conditions listed below:

     

    1.         The development to which this permission relates shall be begun within a period of three years commencing on the date of this permission.

               

    2.         The development hereby permitted shall be carried out in accordance with the following approved drawings:-

               

                15002/202A, 203A, 204E, 206E, 208A

               

    3.         No development (excluding demolition works) shall commence until the specification of a mechanical air supply/extract system for each of the residential dwellings with windows facing St Albans Road has been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. The system must be capable of providing background and rapid ventilation for cooling with the windows of the respective dwelling remaining closed. The system must not compromise the sound insulation of the façades. Details of the siting of any air intake; extraction units; generators and other mechanical equipment serving this system that are likely to give rise to noise should  ...  view the full minutes text for item 54.

 

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