Agenda and minutes
Contact: Ian Smith Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Conduct of the meeting
The committee will take items in the following order:
1. All items where people wish to speak and have registered with Democratic Services.
2. Any remaining items the committee agrees can be determined without further debate.
3. Those applications which the committee wishes to discuss in detail.
Apologies for absence
There was a change of membership for this meeting, with Councillor Mills being replaced by Councillor Ezeifedi.
Disclosure of interests
There were no disclosures of interest.
The minutes of the meeting held on 2 December 2020 to be submitted and signed at the next meeting to be held at the Town Hall.
The minutes for the meeting on 2 December 2020 were approved, and would be signed at the next non-virtual meeting.
The Chair introduced the item to the committee and invited the Principal Planning Officer (AC) to present his report. It was noted that there was an update to the officer’s report, covering the following matters and attached to these minutes (Appendix 1).
· Amendment to report- Average Daylight Factor substituted for No Sky Line.
· Amendments to Section 106 Heads of Terms.
· Amendments to conditions – drawings, cycle parking, materials, obscured glazing.
The Principal Planning Officer presented the application as set out in his report.
The Chair thanked the Principal Planning Officer for his report and invited Mr Myles Sinclair to address the committee.
Mr Sinclair pointed out that the local residents were overwhelmingly against this development, which was completely out of scale, compared to the surrounding Victorian houses. He then went on to detail various angles of view, referencing the Skyline document. Mr Sinclair was also critical of the visuals that were used in the report, citing the use of wide angle lenses, which made buildings look smaller and further away. He felt that the lack of a 3D model emphasised the poor visuals.
Mr Sinclair went on to state that the loss of the street trees would be devastating to the local residents and that the impact on the two nearby heritage sites was as yet, unknown.
Mr Sinclair challenged the assertion that the loss of daylight was acceptable, when it was entirely unacceptable to the residents, with up to a 53% loss of light.
He went on to address the issues caused by the proposed change of use from office space to a hotel, pointing out the potential for light and noise pollution from the 24/7 operation of a hotel. He also expressed his surprise that there had been no assessment of the effects of the taller building on the micro-climate.
He concluded with saying that a more suitable and worthy application should be submitted.
The Chair thanked Mr Sinclair for his comments and highlighted three key points:
· The 45-degree angle referred to in the Skyline document
· The loss of trees and the associated financial contribution
· The lack of micro-climate report.
The Principal Planning Officer commented that the Skyline document was guidance only and if it was applied rigidly to every development in Watford, it would effectively stop development. He added that in certain areas the angle might be increased and this site was within the special policy area.
Regarding the loss of the three trees, these were currently in concrete planters and so would always be compromised in their size and lifespan. The £3,000 equated to the planting of three trees to replace these. The plan was to site these in Station Road, not Westland Road. The addition of trees in Westland Road might further reduce daylight.
The Principal Planning Officer commented that there was considered to be no requirement for a micro-climate report in this case and it was considered unlikely that the provision of the proposed building would have an unacceptable effect on the micro-climate, such ... view the full minutes text for item 47.
The Chair introduced the item to the committee and invited the Principal Planning Officer (AR) to present her report. The Principal Planning Officer explained her report.
The Chair thanked the Principal Planning Officer for her report and invited Mr Mike Legate of Makana Group to address the committee.
Mr Legate introduced himself and expressed his concerns with the report. He pointed out that the application was for four storeys where there were already four storeys. He explained how the orientation of the blocks had been altered to allow balconies on all properties. Timber was not allowed to be used in cladding, but all balconies had been glazed to allow maximum light into the properties. He commented that there was a commercial block nearby that had planning permission to increase its height.
The Chair thanked Mr Legate, commenting that he saw no significant changes from the previously refused application and invited comments from the committee.
There being no comments, the Chair then proposed a vote that planning permission be rejected.
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 Bell, Collett, Jeffree, Johnson, Ezeifedi, Pattinson, Sharpe, Smith and Watkin
Those members voting against the motion:
The motion was declared to be CARRIED unanimously.
That planning permission be refused for the following reasons:
1. The proposal is not considered to be of high design quality. By reason of its height, scale and massing the proposed development would adversely affect the character of the neighbouring residential area and setting of heritage assets. The building lacks appropriate fenestration, articulation and detailing. Within the site, the building would create an oppressive and hostile environment for future occupiers with poor access arrangements to dwellings and poor natural surveillance and activity. As such the development would be of poor design, harmful to the character and appearance of the surrounding area and is not in accordance with paragraphs 122, 127 and 130 of the NPPF and Policies UD1 and UD2 of the Watford Local Plan Core Strategy 2006-31.
2. The proposed development makes no provision for affordable housing and shared ownership housing. The application has failed to provide any justification for the lack of affordable housing provision on the basis of viability or any other grounds. Consequently, the proposal is not in accordance with Policy HS3 of the Watford Local Plan Core Strategy 2006-31 and is contrary to paragraphs 62 and 64 of the NPPF in relation to affordable housing provision.
3. By virtue of the position, height, bulk, layout and fenestration of the building, the development would unacceptably harm the amenities of the neighbouring occupiers, contrary to guidance in the Residential Design Guide 2016 and Policies SS1 and UD1 of the Watford Local Plan Part 1 Core Strategy 2006-31.
4. The development would fail to create high quality dwellings for future occupiers. A noise assessment (in accordance with relevant British standards) has ... view the full minutes text for item 48.