Agenda and minutes

Agenda and minutes

Venue: Town Hall

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

Items
No. Item

55.

Apologies for absence/Committee membership

56.

Disclosure of interests (if any)

    Minutes:

    Councillor Turmaine advised that his wife worked for TJX, the current occupant of the site at 50 Clarendon Road.  Councillor Bell advised that he had spoken to one of the speakers for application 17/01399/FUL Oxhey Park North, but had not expressed any opinion on the proposals.

57.

Minutes

58.

17/01686/FUL 4-6, Lower Paddock Road pdf icon PDF 3 MB

    Erection of 3 dwellings with access, parking, landscaping and associated works

    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 erection of 3 dwellings with access, parking, landscaping and associated works.

     

    Attention was drawn to the update sheet which included details of some additional representations and a local petition which had been submitted after publication of the officer’s report. 

     

    It was noted that an appeal date had been received by Watford Borough Council for the previous scheme on this site, which had been refused by the committee on 6 September 2017.

     

    The Chair invited Stephen Clarke, a local resident, to speak against the application.  Mr Clarke commented that the current scheme did not overcome the objections of local residents.  They were not against development per se, but considered this application would do little to alleviate housing need and would have a harmful impact on the Oxhey conservation area.

     

    Local residents were concerned about the visual dominance and impact on the street scene of the proposed properties, despite alterations in the design to, inter alia, the roof height and the brickwork.  In addition, the distances between the proposed properties and existing houses in Lower Paddock Road were too close and had been misrepresented in the developer’s CGIs.

     

    Local residents considered that granting planning permission would set an unwelcome precedent, exacerbating existing demands from developers for land to progress further inappropriate schemes in the conservation area.  They also questioned the logic of refusing some external small scale home improvements by local residents against the significant development represented by the current application.

     

    The Chair invited Charlotte Hutchison from Iceni projects to speak to the committee.  Speaking on behalf of the applicant, Ms Hutchison advised that the developer had responded positively to the committee’s reasons for refusal on the previous application for this site in September 2017.  As a consequence, there had been a reduction in the ridge and eaves height and in the number of storeys.  The houses had also been redesigned to maintain a contemporary feel whilst adopting a more traditional appearance, in keeping with the views of local people.

     

    Ms Hutchison acknowledged the strength of local opinion, but reminded the committee that no objections had been received from the statutory and technical consultees.

     

    The committee agreed that Oxhey Ward Councillor Peter Taylor could address the meeting.  Councillor Taylor commented that the overwhelming majority of responses to the application had objected to the proposed scheme.  Citing the saved Policies U18 and U19 of the Watford District Plan 2000, Councillor Taylor suggested that the development would have an unacceptably harmful effect on the Oxhey conservation area.  Objections to the cramped development included its design, closeness to adjacent dwellings on Lower Paddock Road and the lack of private amenity space in non-compliant gardens.

     

    Picking up the theme of the council’s refusal to permit some external small scale improvements to properties in the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 58.

59.

17/01399/FUL Oxhey Park North pdf icon PDF 129 KB

    The demolition of the club-house and provision of a play, skating and cycling park, including the erection of a café and community facilities together with the improvement of walking and cycling routes through the park

    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 Head of Development Management introduced the report.  He explained that the application was for the provision of a play, skate and cycling park, including a new café and community facilities, and improved walking and cycling routes through the park.

     

    Attention was drawn to the update sheet which included details of two petitions, one in objection and one in support of the scheme, which had been received after publication of the officer’s report.

     

    The Chair invited Sue Sleeman, a local resident, to speak to the committee in opposition to the application.  Ms Sleeman explained that, in a few short hours of consultation over the previous week, a large number of local residents had expressed concerns about the relocation of the skate park.  It was noticeable that those closest to the development had expressed greatest concern and arguable that the views of these residents should attract more weight.

     

    Local residents wished to preserve the opportunity for quiet enjoyment in the park and were concerned that the skate park would create noise and disturbance to other park users.  There were also fears of anti-social behaviour.  Residents questioned the viability of the café and what uses it would be put to if unsuccessful as a business.  It was requested that more consultation be undertaken to take into account the views of local residents.

     

    The Chair invited Amy Carr, a local resident, to speak for the application.  Ms Carr explained that skateboarders were wrongly typecast by members of the public who mostly rarely came into contact with them.  The proposed skate park would house a range of activities for all abilities which would benefit young people who, in her experience, were broadly supportive and encouraging of one another.

     

    Interest in skateboarding as a sport was growing and it would be included as an Olympic sport in Tokyo in 2020.  Indeed, trials for the UK skateboarding team would be held in Hemel Hempstead and it was suggested that the provision of facilities in Oxhey Park could help to promote local talent.  Watford Borough Council’s continued investment in its parks was welcomed.

     

    However, Ms Carr argued that the total regeneration of the area would provide leisure opportunities for the entire community; as well as wheeled sports activities, the enhancement of the park would benefit walkers, young children, bike riders and those seeking a venue to meet friends and share time over refreshments.

     

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

     

    Committee members welcomed the investment in wheeled sports activities in the town and the focus which was being given to facilities for young people.  Although some members suggested that an alternative location should have been considered, it was pointed out that the proposed site would be more accessible to local transport options. 

     

    Members of the committee acknowledged that the regeneration of the park would lessen the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 59.

60.

17/01433/FULM 50 Clarendon Road pdf icon PDF 173 KB

    Redevelopment of the site to provide a mixed use scheme including 100 residential units, circa 5,945sq.m office floorspace and ancillary flexible use unit at ground floor level

    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 (AR) introduced the report, explaining that the application was for the redevelopment of the site to provide a mixed use scheme including 100 residential units, circa 5,945m2 office floor space and an ancillary flexible use unit at ground floor level, with associated cycle parking, car parking and landscaping.

     

    Attention was drawn to the update sheet which included some corrections to the officer’s report and changes to the conditions.

     

    The Chair invited Deborah Harvey, a local resident, to speak to the committee.  Mrs Harvey explained that the proposed application would detrimentally impact her house in Estcourt Road.  The scheme’s size and bulk were out of proportion and context with the Estcourt conservation area which it bordered.  Whilst residents accepted that parts of Clarendon Road would be characterised by tall buildings, more modest buildings of 8-10 storeys should be located closer to residential areas.

     

    Mrs Harvey continued that due to its height and bulk, day and sunlight would be restricted to her property and she would be overlooked.  This effect would be exacerbated by the siting of the flats to the rear of the development, 10 metres closer than the existing buildings.

     

    In addition, Mrs Harvey highlighted the concerns of residents about the impact on local facilities, such as GP surgeries and schools.  There were also questions about parking and congestion in the area with few off-street parking opportunities and the likelihood of car ownership amongst future residents of the car-free development.  This would be particularly acute outside the CPZ hours of operation.

     

    The Chair invited Peter Jeffery, JLL, to speak for the application.  Mr Jeffery explained that this was an ambitious mixed use development which would provide a number of benefits: increased and higher quality office floor space in a designated employment area; 100 new dwellings in a highly accessible and sustainable location; and 33% affordable housing of mainly two and three bed units which were in greatest demand.   In addition, the developer would make a financial contribution towards environmental improvements on Clarendon Road.

     

    Countering the suggestion that a tall building was inappropriate in this location, Mr Jeffery explained that it would be in keeping with other developments which had been approved recently by the committee, including the TJX site and Gresham House.  Although there would be an impact on local residents, the development included landscaping proposals which should make the relationship more acceptable.

     

    The Chair invited County Councillor for Central Watford and Oxhey Stephen Giles-Medhurst to speak to the committee.  County Councillor Giles-Medhurst stated that the development would have undue harm on the Estcourt conservation area.  The height and massing of the buildings would be exaggerated by the local topography and the design would allow overlooking on residential houses in neighbouring streets.

     

    County Councillor Giles-Medhurst continued that the main tower would be the tallest structure on  ...  view the full minutes text for item 60.

61.

17/01555/OUTM 1, Neston Road pdf icon PDF 133 KB

    Outline application for the demolition of the existing dwelling and adjacent garages and erection of a block of 10 flats with access, parking and amenity space

    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 an outline application for the demolition of the existing dwelling and adjacent garages and erection of a block of 10 flats with access, parking and amenity space (with only landscaping as a reserved matter).

     

    The Chair invited Mary Stynes, a local resident, to speak against the application.  Ms Stynes expressed her dismay at the proposed application which would significantly impact on local residents, particularly the quiet use of their gardens, the loss of privacy, light and sunlight levels, and parking.

     

    Ms Stynes commented that she had lived in the area a long time.  It was a beautiful neighbourhood characterised by Victorian houses.  The current proposal was poorly designed and would detract from the area.

     

    The Chair invited comments from the committee.

     

    Members of the committee expressed consternation at the application, which was not policy compliant.  Its design was considered sub-standard and out of keeping with the character and appearance of the surrounding area.  In addition, members were particularly concerned about the lack of affordable housing provision included in the scheme.

     

    The Chair moved the officer’s recommendation.

     

    RESOLVED –

     

    that outline planning permission be refused for the following reasons:

     

    1.         The proposal is considered to be of poor design quality, having a poor relationship to the street frontage, a dominant and cramped parking area and incorporating inappropriate design features that fails to respect or enhance the locality. As such, the proposal is out of keeping with the character and appearance of the area, contrary to paragraph 58 of the NPPF and Policy UD1 of the Watford Local Plan Core Strategy 2006-31.

     

    2.         The proposed 2 bedroom units all fail to meet the nationally described space standard and will therefore provide an inadequate standard of accommodation. As such, the proposal is contrary to paragraph 17 of the NPPF, Policy UD1 of the Watford Local Plan Core Strategy 2006-31 and the Watford Residential Design Guide 2016. 

     

    3.         The proposal fails to provide affordable housing units to meet urgent housing needs within the Borough, contrary to paragraph 50 of the NPPF and Policy HS3 of the Watford Local Plan Core Strategy 2006-31.   

     

    4.         The proposal will result in significant overlooking and a loss of privacy to the properties adjoining the site in Bushey Mill Lane. This will be harmful to the occupiers of these properties, contrary to paragraph 17 of the NPPF and the Watford Residential Design Guide 2016.

     

    5.         No sustainable surface water drainage scheme has been incorporated into the proposal to reduce the risk of flooding both in the present and in the future, contrary to paragraphs 99 and 103 of the NPPF and Policy SD2 of the Watford Local Plan Core Strategy 2006-31.

62.

17/01516/FULM 765, St Albans Road pdf icon PDF 125 KB

63.

17/01413/FULM 147a, 149a, 149b and land to the rear of 149 St Albans Road pdf icon PDF 256 KB

    Planning consent for the redevelopment of the site to provide a mixed use scheme comprising 144 residential units, flexible commercial units and use of the Old Station building as an artisan beer tap room and/or community space

    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 (MS) introduced the report explaining that the application proposed the redevelopment of the site to provide a mixed use scheme comprising 144 residential units, a flexible commercial unit and use of the Old Station building as an artisan beer tap room and/or community space, alterations to the listed building, associated cycle parking, car parking, play-space and landscaping and associated works.

     

    The application had been deferred from the previous meeting on 3 January 2018 because members had been concerned about the height of Building B.  This height had since been reduced from 13 to 11 storeys by the applicant.

     

    The Chair invited Kevin Ambrose from the Nascot Residents Association to speak against the application.  Speaking on behalf of local residents, Mr Ambrose stated that local people remained concerned about the height of the buildings within the development site.  The revised scheme would include two 11 storey buildings on the north side of St Albans Road, an area characterised by two storey buildings.  Mr Ambrose suggested that buildings in the Watford Junction special policy area should be stepped down towards the adjacent residential areas.

     

    Residents were concerned that if planning permission were granted it would set a dangerous precedent.  The inadequate design proposed would be incongruous with the Nascot conservation area and provided a piecemeal approach to the redevelopment of the special policy area.  It was suggested that a better approach might be to consider the compulsory purchase of other buildings in this part of the conservation area to deliver a high density, low rise development.

     

    The Chair invited Sam Hine from DP9 to speak for the applicant.  Speaking on behalf of the applicant, Mr Hine highlighted the quality of design and the changes which had been made to the height of Building B in order to respond to the committee’s concerns.  The applicant considered that the site remained a suitable location for a tall building and, even with its reduced height, would make a significant contribution to the council’s affordable housing need.  A low rise development would not prove viable.

     

    Mr Hine explained that the current scheme had been devised following widespread consultation.  It would bring a listed building back into use, contribute to improvements in the local area and provide a catalyst for further regeneration of the area in the future.

     

    The committee agreed that Nascot Ward Councillor Jane Johnson could address the meeting.  Councillor J Johnson questioned the real difference the design revisions had made to the development.  The height, bulk and design of this landmark building continued to be out of keeping with the surrounding area, characterised by traditional two and three storey shops and houses.  Councillor J Johnson argued that the proposed development with its tall buildings would have a harmful impact on the Nascot conservation area.

     

    The Chair thanked the speakers and before inviting comments  ...  view the full minutes text for item 63.

 

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