17/00470/FULM - 37-39 Clarendon Road
Decision Maker: Development Management Committee
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
Variation of Section 106 agreement of planning
permission 17/00470/FULM for the proposed mixed use development
comprising up to 11,180 sqm of Class B1(a) office space on 8
floors, 154 residential units on 23 floors, up to 496 sqm of Class
A3 café/restaurant space on the ground and 9th floors, 1st
floor gym, basement car and cycle parking, access, landscaped
rooftop amenity space and associated works.
The Chair introduced the item to the committee and invited the Interim Head of Planning and Building Control to present his report.
The Chair then invited Mr Douglas Bond to address the Committee.
Mr Bond pointed out that this was a Section 106 variation on an already approved application and represented a significant redevelopment in the area. It would improve the stock of office space within the town, as well as providing good-quality housing.
He explained that since that approval had been granted, the applicant had been working towards implementation of the project. However, the mechanism for the affordable housing contribution had created a too much uncertainty around the cost of the scheme. This had hindered the investment funding required to progress the scheme.
Following viability reports, including one from the council’s own viability consultants, it had been determined that a fixed one-off payment of £1.65 million, was the maximum amount, would be paid. This would be in addition to the other obligations and also represented an increase from £1.4 million to £1.65 million, upon practical completion of the development and would therefore be received much sooner than the previous 106 agreement. The viability reports stated that there was no realistic possibility of more funds, so this should be seen as acceptable and compliant with planning policy.
The Chair thanked Mr Bond and passed over to the committee for comments.
Councillor Johnson asked for clarification on the definition of “practical completion”.
The Interim Head of Planning and Building Control stated that this was a frequently used and well understood definition within the world of development. He defined the phrase as meaning that the development has been completed and signed off, with the certificates issued by building control.
Councillor Bell asked if the payment was essentially £1.65 million or nothing.
The Interim Head of Planning and Building Control replied that it was the applicant’s stated position and if it was not accepted the scheme would be less likely to be delivered.
Councillor Smith commented that the review mechanism was in place and he was reluctant to move away from that, despite the short-term gains.
The Chair noted that there had been a number of viability studies, the council’s viability consultants had concurred that the theoretical long-term gains from the original agreement were not there.
The Interim Head of Planning and Building Control added that the current permissions had been in place for two years and stressed that multiple viability consultants had all agreed that the maximum payable would be £1.65 million.
Councillor Watkin commented that the proposed revision offered the earliest possible payment option. He asked if, with the current Covid crisis and the potential for reduction in the need for office space, there was a future risk of the development being changed to residential space.
The Interim Head of Planning and Building Control reassured the councillor that permitted development rights for office to residential conversion, only applied to existing buildings. Planning permission would be required to effect any such changes.
The Principal Planning Officer commented that Clarendon Road was subject to an Article 4 direction which also meant that planning permission would be required for a change of use.
The Chair then proposed a vote, that the request to vary the Section 106 agreement of planning permission 17/00740/FULM be approved and the agreement be varied as contained in Section 7 of the officer’s report.
In accordance with Standing Committee Procedure Rules, paragraph 4.2, Councillor Jeffree requested that it be recorded in the minutes how members cast their votes.
Those members voting for the motion:
Councillors Collett, Johnson, Pattinson, Watkin and Smith.
Those members voting against the motion:
Councillors Bell, Mills and Smith.
Those members abstaining from the vote:
The motion was declared to be CARRIED by five votes to three with one abstention.
That the request to vary the Section 106 agreement of planning permission 17/00740/FULM be approved and the agreement be varied as follows:
i) Clauses 3.6 and 3.8-3.13, which refer to the requirement for a viability review, be deleted.
ii) Clause 3.7, which refers to a minimum affordable housing contribution of £1,400,000 to be paid following a viability review be varied to refer to a single payment to the Council of £1,650,000 (index-linked), to be paid on practical completion of the development.
iii) All other associated clauses and definitions be varied accordingly.
Report author: Paul Baxter
Publication date: 06/08/2020
Date of decision: 29/07/2020
Decided at meeting: 29/07/2020 - Development Management Committee