Demolition of existing buildings and redevelopment of the site to provide 22 residential apartments alongside associated parking, access and infrastructure works.
The Planner Manager outlined the planning application and reminded the Committee that this planning application had been considered by the Committee on 1 August 2018 following which the application had been deferred for further discussions with the applicant on parking issues and to obtain more survey information from the applicant.
The Committee was advised that, following a meeting with the applicant to discuss Member’s concerns, the applicant had asked for the application to be determined as it stands.
With the agreement of the Committee, Councillor Cooper addressed the Committee as Ward Councillor and made the following points:
· Councillor Price had fully outlined residents’ concerns when he spoke as Ward Councillor at the meeting of the Committee held on 1 August 2018. These concerns included loss of light and overlooking due to the height and size of the proposed apartment blocks and also increased noise disturbance.
· Ward Councillors had received further representations about the effect of the development on the archaeological remains in the proximity of St Mary Magdalene Church.
· Councillor Cooper questioned when the parking survey was done as the results seemed to bear little relation to the parking situation in this part of Gillingham North Ward.
· Church Path had been identified as having available parking spaces but it was small road leading to Saxon Way Primary School and this generated considerable traffic.
· There were many weddings at St Mary Magdalene Church which needed to be catered for in respect of parking.
· A resident had complained to Councillor Cooper about cars parked on the pavement in Ingram Road which had meant that mobility scooter users could only pass them by using the road.
· Increased traffic, close to the pedestrian crossing and school entrance, would exacerbate the current traffic and parking problems
The Committee discussed the report and a Member sought clarification on the width of the proposed access road to the development as refuse lorries and fire service vehicles required a width of 3.5 metres. He suggested that no parking should be permitted on this road. Officers advised that the width would be between 3.4 metres and 4.1 metres. The Member also highlighted the need for agreed storage arrangements to be adhered to, should the application be approved, as this had not always been the case at other developments.
Some Members shared the concerns of residents. They considered that the proposed apartment blocks would be too large and insensitive and would represent overdevelopment of the site that would change the nature of an attractive and vulnerable part of Gillingham.
Other Members of the Committee considered that the proposals were acceptable as the principle of development on the site had been established and the proposed apartment blocks would be an improvement on the current buildings which had little character. The view was expressed that the proposed parking provision was acceptable as there would be one space per unit. However, a Member pointed out that some occupiers would have more than one car.
Noting that this was a brownfield site, a number of Members considered that there were no planning reasons to refuse the application that the Council could expect to successfully defend on appeal.
Approved subject to:
a) the applicant entering into a Section 106 agreement to secure:
1) A contribution of £10,294.90 towards improvements to Railway Street surgery.
2) A contribution of £4,243.20 for nursery education towards improvements at Saxon Way Primary School
3) A contribution of £12,729.60 for primary education towards improvements at Saxon Way Primary School
4) A contribution of £12,199.20 for secondary education towards improvements at Chatham Girls Grammar School
5) A contribution of £4,066.40 for sixth form education towards improvements at Chatham Girls Grammar School
6) A contribution of £37,397.01 towards improvements to Queen Elizabeth Fields and/or Hillyfields Community Park.
7) A contribution of £4,918.76 towards bird mitigation is the North Kent Special Protection Areas.
b) Conditions 1 – 19 as set out in the report for the reasons stated in the report.