Agenda and minutes

Agenda and minutes

Venue: Town Hall

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

Items
No. Item

40.

Apologies for absence/Committee membership

    Minutes:

    There were no apologies.

41.

Disclosure of interests (if any)

    Minutes:

    Councillor Stephen Johnson stated that Councillor Jane Johnson, his wife, would be speaking against one of the applications on the agenda, but that he had not made any predetermination and would remain open to the outcome of the debate.

42.

Minutes

    The minutes of the meeting held on 1 November 2017 to be submitted and signed.

    Minutes:

    The minutes of the meeting held on 1 November 2017 were submitted and signed.

43.

17/01218/FUL 29 Tunnel Wood Close pdf icon PDF 183 KB

    Erection of two new five bedroom detached houses

    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 proposed the demolition of the existing bungalow and the erection of two detached houses.  Tunnel Wood Close was accessed from Tunnel Wood Road. The officer explained that No29 was a triangular plot with a detached bungalow built circa 1958.  The houses would have accommodation over three floors with an excavated front garden.  House B would be a mirror image of house A.  The development would not create a loss of light or outlook which would be harmful or create an overbearing impact.  The design was contemporary and a character assessment was included within the report.  Within the character assessment, out of 13 points this design met 10.  The plot width would be halved but remained at more than 8m which was recognised as a character of the area.  The key differences were the roof form, materials used and the windows.  It was explained that schemes could respect character but be architecturally different in style.  Planning should not stifle innovation; all sites were different and had their own considerations.  In conclusion it was a more efficient use of the site to create family sized dwellings.

     

    Attention was drawn to the update sheet which included some additional information and a further condition.

     

    The Chair invited Irun Khan-Williams from IT Planning Consultants to speak against the application.  Speaking on behalf of local residents, Ms Khan-Williams stated that the proposed scheme would cause harm to the character of the area and create parking problems.  The road had a distinct character and any subsequent enlargements of the other properties had been carried out sympathetically.  It was pointed out that the height of the proposed development would be three storeys which was out of character as there were no other examples of three storey buildings in this area.  With regard to the urban grain, the density was low but the cramped and contrived layout of the proposal did not reflect this.  Whilst the application was described as detached it shared a party wall at lower ground level.  The subdivision of the plot meant that the plot width was materially narrower and the gaps to neighbouring properties were not generous.  Ms Khan-Williams considered that the development would not comply with 8 of 13 features of the character of the area.  The increase in height, mass and bulk would result in a cramped development which would not comply with policy UD1. 

     

    The Chair invited Mrs Nicki Pinder, the applicant, to speak for the application.

    Mrs Pinder explained that they were not developers but a family of 5, and the purpose of the application was to build a modern family home.  They had purchased the home in 2013 and loved the safe, quiet close.  However, they knew the bungalow required significant work.  They had received approaches from developers keen  ...  view the full minutes text for item 43.

44.

17/00654/FULM Land to rear of Ye Corner pdf icon PDF 241 KB

    Demolition of existing buildings and redevelopment of site to create 15 residential units with 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 Principal Planning Officer (SH) introduced the report.  He explained that the application proposed the demolition of existing buildings and redevelopment of the site to create 15 residential units with associated works.  The site was an irregular shaped parcel of land.  It was a challenging site to bring forward for development.  However, careful design had innovatively responded to the site.  The car free proposal was suitable due to the sustainable location. 

     

    The Chair invited Mr Alun Evans, the agent, to speak for the application.   Mr Evans stated that the site was unique as it was almost invisible from the highway.  The existing buildings had reached the end of their life and there was no economic benefit in their continued use.  The character of the area was becoming more established as residential.  The proposal had been submitted in early June and had been reviewed in detail by planning officers.  The scheme was car free which was of material benefit to highway safety.  The scheme was designed to account for considerable level changes across the site and minimise impact on the locally listed buildings.  With regards to affordable housing, the scheme had been reviewed by an independent advisor who had concluded that due to the build costs in the scheme it was unviable to provide any financial contribution at this stage.  The developer was taking on a risk to bring forward the scheme and it would take 18 months to construct the buildings. 

     

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

     

    Committee members considered that it was an attractive modern scheme, however, the extensive use of unprotected timber had not weathered well in other developments in the town due to the level of pollution.  The developer was encouraged to steer away from using timber and replace it with something that would weather well.

     

    With regards to being a car free development the committee commented that although the development was close to Bushey station it was often difficult to get onto the crowded trains and there were already parking problems in Oxhey Village.  There was also disappointment at the lack of affordable housing as there was a need for this in Watford; members expressed a wish to view the viability report.

     

    The Chair moved the officer’s recommendation.

     

    RESOLVED –

     

    that, pursuant to a planning obligation under s.106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 having been completed to secure the following Heads of Terms, planning permission be granted subject to the conditions listed below:

     

    Section 106 Heads of Terms

     

    i)          To secure a review mechanism of the viability of the scheme for a contribution up to a maximum total contribution of £600,916 towards the provision of affordable housing in the Borough of Watford, subject to the review demonstrating the improved viability of the development.

     

    Conditions

     

    1.         The development to which  ...  view the full minutes text for item 44.

45.

17/00685/FULM 1a, 9-13 Aldenham Road pdf icon PDF 146 KB

    Demolition of existing industrial/commercial building and erection of a single building comprising 15 residential units together with amenity space and cycle parking

    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 introduced the report, explaining that the application was for the demolition of the existing industrial/commercial building and erection of a single building comprising 15 residential units.  The development was close to the junction with Pinner Road and adjoined the Railway Arms public house.  It was in the Oxhey conservation area.  The design was contemporary and incorporated a flat roof and buff brick in common with materials in the conservation area.  The application had been subjected to a viability review and the applicants had agreed a commuted sum which equated to a 19% provision of affordable housing.  It was a car free development due to it being a highly accessible and sustainable location, close to Bushey station and multiple bus routes, local facilities and a small convenience food store. The location was also within easy walking distance of Lower High Street and the town centre.  

     

    Attention was drawn to the update sheet, which included a correction and an amended condition. 

     

    The Chair invited Ms Stephanie O’Callaghan from Laguna Properties Ltd, to speak for the application.   Ms O’Callaghan explained that, during consultation issues were raised which suggested that scale, design and parking were concerns. With regards to car parking, the surrounding residential roads experienced high levels of parking.  However the proposed development would have less intensive vehicle use than present.  The site was highly accessible.  In terms of scale the new building was only one storey higher than the existing structure.  In the design of the development understated colours had been used.  The current building detracted from the locally listed building.  The scheme would deliver new homes and develop brownfield land.  There would also be a substantial financial contribution to affordable housing in the borough. 

     

    The Chair invited comments from the committee.

     

    Members of the committee complimented the design and commented that it would be replacing something currently unattractive. However, there was apprehension about a car free development.  The issue of viability was raised and officers were asked for clarification.

     

    Officers explained that there had been extensive discussion on the existing use value of the site as it was now vacant and derelict.  The applicant had agreed to make a payment of an amount recommended by the council’s consultants.

     

    The Chair moved the officer’s recommendation subject to the additional condition on the update sheet.

     

    RESOLVED –

     

    that, pursuant to a planning obligation under s.106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 having been completed to secure the following Heads of Terms, planning permission be granted subject to the conditions listed below:

     

    Section 106 Heads of Terms

     

    i)          To secure a financial payment of £322,292 towards the provision of               affordable housing in the Borough of Watford.

     

    Conditions

     

    1.         The development to which this permission relates shall be begun within a period of three years commencing on the date  ...  view the full minutes text for item 45.

46.

17/00593/FULM and 17/00594/LBC Former Gas Holder Site and Frogmore House, Lower High Street pdf icon PDF 243 KB

    17/00593/FULM - Redevelopment of the former gas works, involving the renovation and the use of Frogmore House for offices, the construction of a food store and a residential building comprising 92 apartments

     

    17/00594/LBC - Listed Building Consent for demolition of single storey rear extension, internal and external alterations, refurbishment and restoration works to enable the conversion of Frogmore House into offices

    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 Chair explained that as there were two applications covered in the report then a speaker had been allowed per application.

     

    The Development Management Team Leader introduced the report.

     

    17/00593/FULM - The application was for the redevelopment of the former gas works, involving the renovation and the use of Frogmore House for offices and associated external alterations, the construction of a food store with 92 car parking spaces, a residential building comprising 92 apartments with car parking and associated external alterations, landscaping and alterations to flood defences and riverbanks.

     

    17/00594/LBC - Listed Building Consent for demolition of a single storey rear extension, internal and external alterations, refurbishment and restoration works to enable the conversion of Frogmore House into offices.

     

    The Development Management Team Leader explained that the rear extension to Frogmore House was a later addition to the building.  Works on the house would seek to retain all the existing fabric within the building including timber staircases and panelling.  It would also include work to the boundary wall, removal of the concrete render to be replaced with lime render.  The windows would be replaced with timber sash windows and a disabled access ramp would be installed.  The developers had also agreed to make a payment of £15,000 to enable the council to appoint an independent consultant to act on the council’s behalf to agree and oversee the restoration works.

     

    The Development Management Team Leader continued that there were a number of significant planning benefits including the refurbishment of Frogmore House which had been on the Historic England building at risk register for many years.  Improvements to the riverbank would reduce flood risk and enhance the river. The site would be decontaminated.  There would be provision of 92 new dwellings, a Lidl store and a commuted sum of £750,000 towards affordable housing.   There would also be a Community Infrastructure Levy charge of £1.85m towards new infrastructure.

     

    With regards to the commuted payment towards affordable housing, the Development Management Team Leader explained that the council’s consultant had reviewed the viability and held a series of discussions with the developer.  The site was unusual and there were clear mitigating factors regarding the planning benefits, for example the restoration of Frogmore house, works to the river bank and decontamination of the site which would be significant costs.  There were also considerable risks involved as the site was unusual and had multiple environmental constraints which was an additional level of risk for the developer.  The contribution had been agreed on the basis that there were significant other costs and the development would deliver benefits which the council had sought to achieve for many years.  The figure equated to 7% provision of affordable homes but with other benefits which added to the package.

     

    Attention was drawn to the update sheet which included clarifications.

     

    The Chair invited Richard Searle, a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 46.

47.

Land to rear of 2-16 (evens), Southwold Road pdf icon PDF 92 KB

    Variation of Section 52 agreement dated 7th July 1989 pursuant to planning permission ref. 9/851/88 to discharge clause 2(b) requiring the granting of an easement for the use of land by local residents

    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 introduced the report.  He explained that, the application concerned a variation of a Section 52 agreement dated 7th July 1989 pursuant to planning permission ref. 9/851/88 to discharge clause 2(b) requiring the granting of an easement for the use of land by local residents.

     

    The Development Management Team leader clarified that the location was in Callowland Ward not Tudor as stated on the report.  He explained that section 52 agreements were the predecessor to section 106.  There was no formal procedure for discharge or variation and no appeal procedure.  The council was considering the request along the same lines as a section 106 agreement.  The section 52 agreement required the developer to provide an area of land, then grant by way of easement or otherwise to allow residents of 2-16 Southwold Road to use this for the parking and turning of vehicles.  There was no evidence of a formal easement but the land owners had allowed free passage as was originally intended.  The surrounding roads experienced high levels of on street parking.  The land was secured as part of the wider redevelopment to provide off street parking. A loss of the use of the land would have the potential to exacerbate the parking problems.  For this reason there was no planning or legal justification to discharge this clause so it was recommended for refusal

     

    The Chair invited Hannah Sessions, a local resident, to speak against the application.  Ms Sessions gave a brief history of the site, when it was redeveloped in 1988-89 there would have been a loss of parking spaces.  Residents worked with local councillor Irene Tunstall Dunn who arranged meetings with Fairview Homes.  The developer agreed to provide a strip of land for parking.  There were fewer cars then and now the area was often double parked but there had been an amicable arrangement. However, residents had been locked out with a bollard and chains.  There was a lockable swing gate that was no longer able to be locked.  Residents did use the area for parking at various times of the day as not everyone had a 9-5 job, the area was used and needed.

     

    The Chair invited Jason Blake, the applicant, to speak for the application.  Mr Blake represented the Block E freehold company and had experienced problems with the loose agreement for the past seven years.  There had been issues with residents running businesses from their homes and a car had been parked there which was vandalised before eventually being removed.  Mr Blake questioned if the car had been set alight who would have paid for the damage.  The applicants had put up a sign to state the area was not for business purposes and erected bollards.  The council had asked them to remove the bollards which had been done.  The area was not  ...  view the full minutes text for item 47.

 

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