(Service Manager – Planning Policy & Implementation) To consider the attached report for the redevelopment of the existing office building and car park. Demolition of the existing office building and alterations to connection to existing Listed Civic Centre. Development to comprise new apartment buildings and houses to provide a mix of residential units (Use Class C3), revised vehicular and pedestrian access from High Street, all associated car and cycle parking, servicing, hard and soft landscaping and associated works.
Grade II Listed building consent for the redevelopment of the existing office building and car park.
The Planning Officer, E Holton-Walsh, presented a report for the redevelopment of the existing office building and car park, including the demolition of the existing office building and alterations to the connection with the existing Listed Civic Centre. The development would comprise new apartment buildings and houses to provide a mix of residential units (Use Class C3), revised vehicular and pedestrian access from the High Street, all associated car and cycle parking, servicing, hard and soft landscaping and associated works. Grade II Listed building consent was also sought for the redevelopment of the existing office building and car park.
E Holton-Walsh drew the Committee’s attention to the addendum report that had been tabled at the meeting, which detailed some changes in the Section 106 Legal Agreement financial contribution figures, as well as two late representations. The key issues of Design and Heritage, Neighbouring Amenity, Ecology, 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.R8) 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;
· less than substantial harm to the conservation area had been identified, but, as per the guidance in the NPPF, this harm was outweighed by the significant benefit of bringing the buildings back into long-term viable uses, and the public benefit resulting from the provision of new and affordable homes;
· the proposal would safeguard the significance of the listed building;
· 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 an objector, Epping Town Council and the applicant before proceeding to debate the application.
Cllr C C Pond opined that in relation to Buttercross Lane, the proposed development would not enhance the conservation area, and that he would oppose this application. Cllr S Rackham, whilst not against the proposal, would have preferred the planting of more trees to have been included.
In response to questions from the Committee, Planning Officers confirmed that the existing link from the Civic Offices to the existing Conder Building would be retained as part of this application, the materials to be used for the buildings had to be agreed in advance with the Local Planning Authority in accordance with condition 4, and the set-back distances between existing dwellings on Buttercross Lane and the proposed new dwellings within this application were detailed in paragraphs 19.9 and 19.10 of the report on the agenda.
(1) That planning application EPF/0919/21 at the Civic Offices Conder Building and Car Park in Epping be granted planning permission, subject to:
(a) the thirty-seven planning conditions listed in Appendix 1a of the report on pages 585 – 607 of the agenda; and
(b) the completion of a Section 106 Legal Agreement to secure the planning obligations and financial contributions outlined on pages 508 – 509 of the agenda, as amended by the addendum report;
(2) That the Listed Building planning application EPF/1042/21 at the Civic Offices Conder Building and Car Park in Epping be granted planning permission, subject to:
(a) the six Listed Building planning conditions listed in Appendix 1b of the report on pages 611 – 331 of the agenda.
Cllr C C Pond requested that his vote against the granting of planning permission for application EPF/0919/21 be recorded in the minutes.