Agenda item

20200343 - Land at Market Square and Horn Yard Car Parks New Swan Yard, Gravesend, Kent - Erection of 242 no. residential units for Build to Rent (C3 Use Class), within three blocks ranging from 3 to 10 storeys, together with multi-storey car park as well as access, pedestrian links, landscaping, highway and other associated works - report herewith

Decision:

Resolved that application 20200343 be delegated to the Planning Manager (Development Management) in consultation with the Chair of the Planning Committee, for the issue of planning PERMISSION subject to planning conditions and informatives as set out in Appendix C of the report and the completion of  the Section 106Legal Agreement.

Minutes:

(Cllr Tony Rice left the meeting.)

Further to a meeting of the Planning Committee held on 22 July 2020, the Committee considered an application reference 20200343 in relation to land at Market Square and Horn Yard car parks, Swan Yard, Gravesend for the erection of 242 residential units for Build to Rent (Cs Use Class) within three blocks ranging from 3 to 10 storeys together with a multi-storey car park as well as access, pedestrian links, landscaping, highway and other associated works.

The Principal Planner (Major Sites) advised that a revised planning application form had been submitted with changes relating only to the notice given/publicised to owners of the site. The information originally provided on  previous application form had been incomplete, specifically as there were very small portions of the site which were ‘unregistered’ land, in that the ownership was unknown, and notice had to be made in the local press to attempt to make those potential owners of the unregistered land aware of the application. The officer explained the process followed and stated that this technical error did not affect in any way the validity of any conclusions regarding the merits of the development made of officers or members of the Planning Committee at 22 July 2020 Planning Committee. The officer confirmed that the scheme had not been altered and displayed a land registry plan which showed the unregistered areas of land in white.

The re-consultation process had resulted in 35 responses which had all been addressed in the main and the supplementary reports. One comment mentioned the additional shops and the officer confirmed that the scheme was 100% residential with no retail element. Another comment stated that the application was not policy compliant. However, the officer considered that no further material considerations warranted a change to the application

In conclusion, the officer stated that the application was policy compliant and confirmed that the decision agreed by the Committee on 22 July 2020 still stood.

The application had originally been referred for consideration as a major development proposal.

The Committee heard the views of the public speakers in support of and against the application who answered questions from Members.

The following points were made during discussion on this application:

·         Following a “nonsensical design” comment, Members were advised that one of the speakers felt that while there was a need for additional housing in the Borough, this development was aimed at the overflow from London boroughs who would commute to their jobs in London. It would not be popular with Gravesham residents as families did not want to live in 2 bedroom flats in the town centre but would prefer more rural locations. It was considered that the economic landscape had changed this year and that this development did not provide for the people of Gravesham.

·         A question was raised on the development not matching the town centre build density which had always been 3 to 4 storeys which some modern builds had followed. This was a super density scheme which would have an impact on the living conditions of residents and neighbouring dwellings because of its height, bulk and architectural design. It was noted that efforts had been made to make the development acceptable but this had not made an appreciable difference. It was advised that higher density developments in the town centre would take the pressure off the Council to build on the Green Belt to meet with the Government housing targets. However, it was considered that the previous scheme considered by the Committee in July 2020 was exactly the same as this application and therefore the above comment was a therefore a technicality. One of the public speakers did not consider the scheme to be policy compliant as the east and west quarters had been separated and a mixed use had not been insisted upon which they considered contrary to Policy CS5 of the Local Plan Core Strategy. It was considered that the officer’s report relied on the extant scheme which had not been commenced so could not be used as a justification for this application and therefore re-commencement conditions had not been complied with.

·         The Principal Planner (Major Sites) confirmed that:

-       all neighbours to the application site would be consulted on design issues when the conditions were discharged,

-       all comments on the application received as a result of the re-consultation due to the unregistered land issue had been summarised in the report (paragraphs 2.2 and 2.3) and legal advice had been sought.

-       paragraphs 2.5 to 2.9 of the report showed the works to the site that had been lawfully implemented and an explanation was given on why the works had commenced in the archaeological zone 1.

-       nothing in the proposal had been changed since the Planning Committee’s resolution in July 2020

Resolved that application 20200343 be delegated to the Planning Manager (Development Management) in consultation with the Chair of the Planning Committee, for the issue of planning PERMISSION subject to planning conditions and informatives as set out in the report and the completion of a Section 106Legal Agreement.

Note:   (a)        Pete Langly-Smith (Agent)(a supporter) addressed the Committee.

(b)        Cos Constantinou (Architect) (a supporter) were present.

(c)        Nick Diment (Planning Agent)(a supporter) were present.

(d)        Les Woollends (an objector) addressed the Committee.

(e)        Deborah Cameron (an objector) addressed the Committee.

(f)        Mr Martin McKay (an objector) addressed the Committee.

(Cllr Tony Rice was re-admitted to the meeting.)

 

Supporting documents: