This was an application for the erection of 22no. dwellings, a retirement living complex containing 66no. units and 10no. bungalows, indoor sports facility and community hall with associated car parking, additional parking for local community organisations, alterations to 2no. existing accesses and provision of 2no. new vehicular accesses, associated landscaping, attenuation pond, public open space and infrastructure on the site of former New College Telford, King Street, Wellington, Telford, Shropshire.
This application was presented to committee as it required financial contributions via section 106.
An update report was tabled at the meeting.
Mr S Thompson, Applicant, spoke in favour of the application which was part of a £27m investment in the Wellington area over the next three years. Viability of the application had been challenging due to construction costs and it was asked that there be no affordable housing secured via a 106 on this application. A Homes England Grant to bring the project forward was being applied for and this could not be granted if affordable housing was sought via the S106. The development would fulfil 78% affordable housing via the Homes England Grant.
The Principal Planning Officer gave a brief overview of the application which met NDSS required space standards Although there was slightly less outdoor space attached to the bungalows, space was provided for each of the bungalows in the form of a private outdoor space or a balcony as well as a communal garden. Access was from Regent Street and King Street and there was an additional 21 bay car park to serve an existing community group in order to address local congestion and parking issues. There was also an addition of a parking space for staff attending at the apartments. An amended site plan has been agreed showing the additional staff parking space. Concerns had been raised regarding the impact of the development on setting of the former listed girls’ school from the proximity of the retirement apartments and although it had not been possible to fully address these concerns it was considered that the benefits outweighed the harm and on balance could be accepted subject to conditions. Following a viability appraisal the scheme was not viable for 25% affordable housing secured via the S106 and therefore Members were being asked to approve the scheme with 0% affordable housing to allow the applicant to access Homes England Grant Funding to deliver 78% affordable housing on site. Contributions via the S106 would be sought towards healthy spaces and education and it was agreed by the applicant that these would be paid in full.
During the debate some Members asked for clarification on the use of the indoor sport facility and whether it would be used for community use and would this be manned by a paid member of staff. Other Members asked for clarification in relation to the additional car park for community use. Further clarification was sought on the Homes England Grant Funding and how this would be monitored. Other Members asked if the tree to be planted at the rear of Durban could be a semi-mature specimen and raised concerns on the length of the opening hours and the condition that the winders and doors be closed at all time and where the bin storage would be housed and would refuse vehicles have sufficient access. Other Members felt that this application was good for Wellington and the local community and that this was the right type of application in the right place, supported by the Town Council with very few negatives.
The Principal Planning Officer confirmed that the running of the sports facility did not sit with Planning but with the Council’s Estates Team. Tennis and netball had previously been provided on site for the community and the Section 106 contributions would replace these facilities as part of a wider strategy drawn up with Sport England. In respect of the community use car park, a new 21 bay car park would be created to assist with the community group opposite the development on King Street. With regard to Home England Grant Funding, should Members agree to 0% affordable housing there would be no means for the Local Planning Authority to monitor or revise this, however by way of reassurance to Members Wrekin Housing Group had designed the site to provide adaptable apartments and bungalows that would meet affordable housing design standards. A recent application that had been approved with 0% affordable housing has received grant funding as intended and it was hoped that would give some reassurance. The opening hours were standard and a noise mitigation plan and management place would be required and Environmental Health had suggested the closing of windows and doors due to not knowing who would be utilizing the space.
On being put to the vote it was, unanimously:
RESOLVED – that delegated authority be granted to the Development
Management Service Delivery Manager to grant planning permission (with the authority to finalise any matter including Condition(s), legal agreement terms, or any later variations) subject to the following:
a) The Applicant/Landowners entering into a Section 106 Agreement with the Local Planning Authority (items i) to ii) subject to indexation from the date of Committee), relating to:
i) Financial Contribution towards Healthy Spaces of £105,000 (£10,000 towards study into netball provision, £10,000 towards study into tennis provision, £10,000 towards delivering netball strategy, £10,000 towards delivering tennis strategy and £65,000 towards the nearest free to use publicly accessible Multi Use Games Area at Millfields Park to incorporate street cricket, basketball and 5-a-side football in a replacement purpose built facility);
ii) Financial Contribution towards Education of £136,306 (£96,178 towards Primary Education and £40,127 towards Secondary Education);
iii) Car Park off King Street to remain in use for associated community group in perpetuity to accommodate user parking for events;
iv) s.106 Monitoring Fee of £4,852.10 (1% of the total value of contributions, or capped at £15,000).
b) Submission of Proposed Site Plan showing addition of 1no. staff parking space in association with the retirement apartments
c) The conditions contained in the Report and Update Report.