(Service Manager – Planning Policy & Implementation) To consider the attached report for the redevelopment of existing Sports Centre and car park. Demolition of existing Sports Centre. Development to comprise a new apartment building and houses to provide a mix of residential units (Use Class C3), new vehicular and pedestrian access from Nicholl Road and new pedestrian access from Hemnall Street, all associated car and cycle parking, servicing, hard and soft landscaping and associated works.
The Planning Officer, E Holton-Walsh, presented a report for the redevelopment of existing Sports Centre and car park, including the demolition of the existing Sports Centre. The development would comprise a new apartment building and houses to provide a mix of residential units (Use Class C3), new vehicular and pedestrian access from Nicholl Road and new pedestrian access from Hemnall Street, all associated car and cycle parking, servicing, hard and soft landscaping and associated works.
The key issues of Design and Heritage, Neighbouring Amenity, Parking and Sustainability for the application were detailed to the Committee. Planning Officers had concluded that:
· the application site had been proposed for allocation (ref: EPP.R5) in the Epping Forest District Local Plan Submission Version (LPSV) to provide new residential accommodation. The proposal would provide additional housing which was a benefit that should be afforded significant weight in the planning balance, particularly in light of the acute housing shortage within the District. The scheme would also provide a significant amount of affordable housing;
· the proposals would integrate satisfactorily with the surrounding townscape in terms of scale, massing and overall design;
· the proposals would have an acceptable impact on the living conditions of neighbouring properties in terms of light, privacy and outlook;
· In terms of transport, the extent of car and cycle parking was acceptable and, in combination with the submitted Travel Plan, would help reduce reliance on the private car and the transition to sustainable modes of travel;
· the sustainability aspects of the proposal complied with the current policy; and
· overall, the proposed development was compliant with the requirements of the Development Plan and the LPSV.
The Committee noted the summary of representations that had been received in relation to this application. The Committee heard from Epping Town Council and the applicant before proceeding to debate the application.
There were further concerns raised about the amount of parking being provided for this development. Cllr C C Pond was also concerned that the site was within 350 yards of the Special Area of Conservation (SAC) within Epping Forest, and felt that new dwellings should not be planned for construction within the buffer zone of the SAC; there was the potential for harm to the SAC from this development. Cllr J M Whitehouse shared the concerns expressed by Cllr C C Pond, but was pleased to see the existing pedestrian cut-through being retained.
L Grainger reminded the Committee that mitigation measures to reduce the potential harm to the SAC from this development had been proposed as part of the application, and the Council was working within the requirements of the agreed Air Quality Mitigation Strategy. The modelling had suggested that there would be a net reduction in vehicle movements when considered cumulatively across the five development sites.
(1) That planning application EPF/0918/21 at the Epping Sports Centre in Hemnall Street, Epping be granted planning permission, subject to:
(a) the thirty-five planning conditions listed in Appendix 1 of the report on pages 447 – 468 of the agenda; and
(b) the completion of a Section 106 Legal Agreement to secure the planning obligations and financial contributions outlined on pages 373 – 375 of the agenda.