20/00663/FULM - Cassiobury House, 11 - 19 Station Road,
- Meeting of Development Management Committee, Wednesday, 6 January 2021 7.00 pm (Item 47.)
- View the background to item 47.
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 as wind-tunnelling.
The Chair thanked the Principal Planning Officer for his assistance and then invited Ms Amy Jones, of Tellon Capital to address the committee.
Ms Jones introduced herself and her company, with a brief summary of the work they had completed. She described the high specification office accommodation and 168 bed hotel that was being proposed. She highlighted that this application supported the Local Plan and had evolved through extended pre-application cooperation and had been amended post-application to take account of recommendations from the Watford Place Shaping Panel. These changes included various enhancements and a reduction in massing.
Ms Jones explained that a detailed light assessment had been completed and this indicated that there would be only a minor loss of light to a very few windows, which as a result of house extensions, were very close to the boundary. The retained light levels were very similar to other areas of Watford.
Ms Jones went on to say that the building would be constructed to be highly sustainable, giving a number of examples. The development had been reviewed at the Place Shaping Panel and designed to comply with relevant planning policy, to support the development of Watford and to be sensitive to the neighbours.
The Chair thanked Ms Jones and after receiving the agreement of the committee, invited the Ward Councillor for Central Ward, Stephen Bolton, to address the committee.
Councillor Bolton commented that whilst he understood the need for development, he did question the need for extra office space. He commented that the change of use to a hotel would have an impact on the residents. The comparison with the nearby TK Maxx building was not valid as it was considerably further away from the houses than the proposed development. The provision of a hotel changed the relationship with the houses. A hotel operated 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, whereas offices tended to be daytime and only weekdays. This was very likely to lead to more noise, from such sources as disposal of glassware, cars and bin collection, particularly as the bin store was close to houses.
Councillor Bolton then spoke about the six trees proposed along the rear boundary and pointed out that these offered little in the way of noise or light attenuation. The Councillor concluded by challenging the assertion that the two heritage sites in the vicinity would be improved and asked for the application to be refused.
In response to a request by the Chair, the Principal Planning Officer explained that the proposed hotel had no opening windows, being climate controlled and the use as a hotel was not considered materially different to offices. Parking was in the basement, so this would not be an issue. He acknowledged the possibility that the bins might be a source of noise.
The Chair asked if there could be a planning condition to control the disposal of glass etc., but the Principal Planning Officer replied that it would be better if this fell to licensing or environmental health to manage.
The Chair then invited County Councillor Stephen Giles-Medhurst to address the committee.
The County Councillor commented that he could see no valid reason for the excessive height and scale of the proposed building and that it would cause harm to local residents. He added that the area was not residential and pointed out that there were three rear exits from the building.
He expressed his opinion that the effect on habitable rooms to reduce the light by 50% was galling and unacceptable. If the building line had been kept back from the road edge, this might have been more acceptable and pointed out the dark alleyway effect to house number 4.
The County Councillor then addressed the issue of the loading bay and stated that this needed to be restricted to daytime only.
He concluded that if this development was amended to a reduced height and/or not 24 hour usage, then it would have caused less upset to the residents.
The Chair commented that there was a Core Strategy policy which strove to improve Watford as a regional centre for job growth and this application was in line with that policy. In a borough as small as Watford, it was impossible to develop without some harm to neighbouring homes. He added that this application had his support, as it had an excellent design and had been though the Watford Place Shaping Panel.
The Chair accepted that the downside would be a loss of some daylight, but the proposed development was to the north of the dwellings so sunlight would be unaffected. The limited impact was an appropriate trade-off to the benefit of the whole town.
The Chair commented that whilst he approved of the use of brick, he felt that the choice of grey brick was poor and he welcomed that brick samples would need to be approved by the local planning authority. He then invited comments from the committee.
Councillor Bell expressed his thanks to residents for all the work they had done over the past 18 months, to challenge this application. He asked about the results of the meeting with the Mayor and also the Place Shaping Panel and expressed his opinion that the effects of this development on the nearby houses would be overwhelming, so he was minded to refuse.
The Chair advised Cllr Bell that the Place Shaping Panel recommendations were nearly all taken on board.
The Interim Head of Planning and Building Control commented that the meeting with the Mayor had occurred prior to his arrival at Watford, but he confirmed the Place Shaping Panel recommendations were all accepted with the exception of the suggestion for ground level parking being changed to outside seating, which would have potentially caused more noise.
Councillor Collet expressed her thought that the lack of light to the family homes would permanently spoil them and she was appalled at the loss of the trees.
Councillor Watkin explained that he liked the building and its design and was not concerned about any potential impact to the heritage buildings opposite, his main concern was the impact on the houses on Westland Road. He considered the building to be too big and too dominating.
The Interim Head of Planning and Building Control addressed a number of points.
· The special policy area promoted high density use.
· The percentage decrease in daylight seemed high, but the issue was whether the resulting daylight levels were acceptable in planning terms?
· Canterbury Road was to the south of the development, so no loss of direct sunlight, it was only the impact on daylight that needed to be considered. Daylight to windows could be assessed using the Vertical Sky Component (VSC)
· Noticeable loss of light did not necessarily equate to unacceptable loss in planning terms and there were numerous appeal judgements that supported this.
· If 15% VSC was maintained, then the window was likely to be relatively well lit. There were 46 windows to the rear of Canterbury Road and 90% would retain at least 15% VSC.
· House numbers 7, 9 and 15 already had poor light to some windows due to existing projections to the rear of these properties.
· Junction Court has 40 windows and 12 would be just below the 15% light limit. But 3 of those were secondary windows to rooms and so only 9 windows were actually affected.
· Officers feel that the result would be noticeable, but not unacceptable in planning terms.
Councillor Smith commented that this application did make sense in this area, although if this was solely a residential area, then it would be a different issue. He mentioned issues of noise, but accepted this was a special policy area.
Councillor Johnson commented that the council had set up the Place Shaping Panel to look at major applications such as this and it might be viewed negatively should this committee disregard the opinion of the Panel.
Councillor Sharpe commented how planning had changed to an acceptance of higher and denser developments. He added that development often had a negative impact on neighbours and that no one had the right to a view.
Councillor Pattinson commented that from the Station Road side, that development looked great, but from the opposite side it was oppressive. Whilst it was right for StationRoad, it was not right for the residents.
The Chair invited a motion to refuse, but this was not taken up, so he put the motion to the committee 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 in Section 8 of the officer’s report and taking into account the terms contained within the update sheet, attached as an appendix to these minutes and available on the council’s website.
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 Jeffree, Johnson, Pattinson, Sharpe and Smith
Those members voting against the motion:
Councillors Bell, Collett, Ezeifedi and Watkin
Those members abstaining:
The motion was declared to be CARRIED with five votes for and four against.
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 to Hertfordshire County Council of £6,000 for the long term monitoring of the proposed Travel Plan for the site.
ii) To secure a financial payment to Watford Borough Council of £3,000 for the provision of trees in public spaces.
1. Three Years
The development to which this permission relates shall be begun within a period of three years commencing on the date of this permission.
2. Approved Drawings and Documents
The development hereby permitted shall be carried out in accordance with the following approved drawings and documents:
- Drawing No: 17259-0200. Revision: P-00
- Drawing No: 17259-0300. Revision: P-02
- Drawing No: 17259-0301. Revision: P-00
- Drawing No: 17259-0302. Revision: P-00
- Drawing No: 17259-0303. Revision: P-00
- Drawing No: 17259-0304. Revision: P-00
- Drawing No: 17259-0305. Revision: P-00
- Drawing No: 17259-0306. Revision: P-00
- Drawing No: 17259-0307. Revision: P-00
- Drawing No: 17259-0308. Revision: P-00
- Drawing No: 17259-0309. Revision: P-00
- Drawing No: 17259-0310. Revision: P-03
- Drawing No: 17259-0311. Revision: P-03
- Drawing No: 17259-0312. Revision: P-02
- Drawing No: 17259-0313. Revision: P-02
- Drawing No: 17259-0315. Revision: P-01
- Drawing No: 17259-0316. Revision: P-02
- Drawing No: 17259-0317. Revision: P-02
- Drawing No: 17259-0318. Revision: P-02
- Drawing No: 17259-0319. Revision: P-02
- Drawing No: 17259-0320. Revision: P-01
- Drawing No: 17259-0321. Revision: P-02
- Drawing No: 17259-0322. Revision: P-02
- Drawing No: 17259-0323. Revision: P-02
- Drawing No: 17259-0324. Revision: P-02
- Drawing No: 17259-0340. Revision: P-03
- Drawing No: 17259-0341. Revision: P-03
- Drawing No: 17259-0342. Revision: P-00
- Drawing No: 17259-0351. Revision: P-04
- Drawing No: 17259-0352. Revision: P-03
- Drawing No: 17259-0371. Revision: P-03
- Framework Travel Plan by Transport Planning Associates. Dated: June 2020
- Transport Statement by Transport Planning Associates. Dated: June 2020
- Technical Note by Transport Planning Associates. Dated: August 2020
- Energy and Sustainability Report by Hoare Lea. Dated: 7 May 2020
- Environmental Noise Assessment by Hoare Lea. Dated: 6 May 2020
3. Flood Risk
No development works shall commence until the details of a surface water drainage scheme for the site have been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority.
Justification for pre-commencement: To prevent flooding by ensuring the satisfactory storage of and disposal of surface water from the site in accordance with Policy SD2 of the Watford Local Plan Core Strategy and Chapter 14 of the National Planning Policy Framework.
4. Hard Landscaping
No part of the building shall be occupied until a detailed hard landscaping scheme for the site, including site boundary treatments, paving and external lighting has been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority, and the works have been carried out in accordance with the approved details. The detailed scheme shall be based upon drawing number: 17259-0311. Revision: P-03.
5. Soft Landscaping
No part of the building shall be occupied until a detailed soft landscaping scheme for the site and a landscape management and maintenance plan, has been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. The detailed scheme shall be based upon drawing number: 17259-0311. Revision: P-03. The approved soft landscaping scheme shall be carried out not later than the first available planting and seeding season after completion of development. Any trees or plants whether new or existing which within a period of five years die, are removed or become seriously damaged or diseased shall be replaced in the next planting season with others of similar size and species, or in accordance with details approved by the Local Planning Authority.
6. Loading Bay
No part of the building shall be occupied until the loading bay as shown on drawing number: 17259-0311. Revision: P-03 has been constructed and made available for use. This loading bay shall be retained as approved at all times.
7. No part of the building shall be occupied until the refuse and recycling facilities shown on drawing number: 17259-0311. Revision: P-03 have been constructed and made available for use. These facilities shall be retained as approved at all times.
8. Cycle Facilities
a. The office part of the development shall not be occupied until the basement cycle parking facilities shown on drawing number: 17259-0310. Revision: P-03 have been constructed and made available for use.
b. The hotel part of the development shall not be occupied until the ground floor cycle parking facilities shown on drawing number: 17259-0311. Revision: P-03 have been constructed and made available for use. These facilities shall be retained as approved at all times.
9. No part of the development shall be occupied until a detailed Travel Plan, based upon the Hertfordshire County Council document Framework Travel Plan submitted and 'Hertfordshire Green Travel Plan Guidance’, has been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning. The travel plan shall then be implemented in accordance with the approved scheme thereafter.
10. Detailed Drawings
No external facing materials shall be installed on the building until detailed design drawings of all external surfaces including brick detailing, window reveals and enclosures at roof level have been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority.
No external facing materials shall be installed on the building until:
a. full details of the materials to be used for all the external surfaces, including the terrace and plant enclosures at roof level, have been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority; and
b. sample panels shall be constructed on site to show the typical facades including brickwork, render, window frames and glazing made available for inspection and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority.
12. Impact Piling
No impact piling shall take place until a piling method statement (detailing the depth and type of piling to be undertaken and the methodology by which such piling will be carried out, including measures to prevent and minimise the potential for damage to subsurface sewerage infrastructure, and the programme for the works) has been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. Any piling must be undertaken in accordance with the terms of the approved piling method statement.
13. Office Use
The office units depicted at levels 1 to 7 on the approved plans shall be used for offices and for no other purpose (including any purpose in Class E of the Schedule to the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2020, or in any provision equivalent to that Class in any statutory instrument revoking and re-enacting that Order with or without modification.
14. Obscured Glazing
The windows shown to be installed with obscured glazing on Drawing No: 17259-0342. Revision: P-00 shall be obscure glazed. The obscured glazing should be retained in perpetuity.
15. Plant Equipment
No plant or equipment that generates sound shall be installed to the development until full details and specifications of the equipment have been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. The details shall include an assessment of the plant/equipment carried out by a suitably qualified and competent acoustic consultant to consider the potential impact on existing and future residents adjacent to the site. The details shall also include a specification of what design criteria need to be included in the specification of the plant and its mounting on the building, to minimise any potential disturbance. The assessment shall include any other appropriate noise mitigation measures. All plant and equipment shall be installed as approved and no plant or equipment shall be brought into operation until any approved mitigation measures have been installed.
1. IN907 – Positive and proactive statement
2. IN909 – Street naming and numbering
3. IN910 – Building Regulations
4. IN911 – Party Wall Act
5. IN912 – Hours of Construction
6. IN913 – Community Infrastructure Levy Liability
7. IN915 – Highway Works – HCC agreement required
- 20/00663/FULM - Cassiobury House, 11 - 19 Station Road,, item 47. PDF 568 KB
- Appendix 2 for 20/00663/FULM - Cassiobury House, 11 - 19 Station Road,, item 47. PDF 655 KB
- Appendix 1 for 20/00663/FULM - Cassiobury House, 11 - 19 Station Road,, item 47. PDF 2 MB
- Update sheet 6th Jan 21, item 47. PDF 598 KB