Demolition of existing flats to facilitate the construction of four five storey blocks providing a total of 89 units with associated car parking, bin and cycle storage landscape provision and a pedestrian boulevard at the front of the new buildings.
The Head of Planning reminded the Committee that this application had originally been submitted for consideration on 18 November 2015 but had been deferred to enable further consideration to be given to issues relating to affordable housing and viability, design and parking.
He then outlined the application in detail and drew attention to a correction to the proposed Section 106 contribution towards mitigation against recreational disturbance as set out on page 66 of the agenda.
In addition, he advised that since despatch of the agenda, the applicant had advised that a minimum of 18 affordable units would be provided as part of the scheme but it was likely that more than 18 affordable units would be provided with HCA grant funding if the affordable housing was not controlled under a Section 106 Agreement.
He advised the Committee that a further Independent Viability Assessment had been undertaken to examine the level of Section 106 financial contributions that could be provided and the applicant was currently preparing a formal response to this assessment. Negotiations would now take place to finalise the financial contribution sought from the development and therefore it was suggested that if the Committee was minded to approve the application, the Head of Planning be granted delegated authority to finalise issues relating to the financial viability of the scheme and the Section 106 contributions.
The Committee discussed the application having regard to the prominent location of the application site in Rochester and its close proximity to the city centre and the new railway station.
Members referred to the level of parking proposed to serve the development and noted that 89 units would be provided served by 79 parking spaces. The Head of Planning drew attention to proposed condition 15 which required the applicants to supply to the Local Planning Authority a Parking Management Plan which would contain details of how the parking spaces within the development would be managed and preserved for use by future residents and their visitors.
In response to questions, the Head of Planning confirmed that the land to the rear of St Clements House would remain available for community use by the residents of St Clements House, which was not affected by this proposed development.
He also confirmed that the nearby Working Men’s Club did not form part of the development site.
In response to queries as to the future of the tenants of the existing flats due to be demolished to make way for the new development, the Head of Planning advised the Committee that the applicants had confirmed that any residents from the existing flats that wished to be rehoused in the new development would be eligible to apply to be re-housed there.
A Member suggested that owing to the prominence of the application site and its proximity to the historic centre of Rochester, details of materials be submitted to the Committee for consideration.
Approved subject to:
a) The applicants signing a Unilateral Undertaking under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to secure £12,379.74 towards Designated Habitats Mitigation;
b) Conditions 1 – 25 as set out in the report for the reasons stated in the report.
c) The Head of Planning be granted delegated authority to finalise issues relating to the Section 106 contributions having regard to the financial viability assessment.
d) Details of the materials to be used in the construction of the development be submitted to the Committee for consideration.