Agenda item

Planning application - MC/21/3671 Former Trafalgar Centre & Multi Storey Car Park High Street/Rhode Street/Whittaker Street Chatham ME4 4AL

River Ward

Outline application with some matters reserved (appearance, landscaping and layout) for a proposed mixed-use development comprising up to 175 residential apartments (1 and 2 bedrooms in 3 buildings), circa 1990 sq ft of creative arts studios, circa 2100sq ft of co-working space/offices (Class E), circa 1800 sq ft of flexible co-working space (Class E) and 152 car parking spaces with associated access, landscaping, cycle storage, dedicated storage for residential units and refuse storage. The development incorporates the demolition of the former Trafalgar Centre (High Street) and partial demolition of the multi-storey car park (Rhode Street), Chatham.




The Senior Planner outlined the application in detail as set out in the report.


There were no objections, in principle, to the demolition of the former Trafalgar Centre (High Street) and partial demolition of the multi-storey car park (Rhodes Street) Chatham following the reduction of height of the original application. The proposal would include the re-designed mixed-use development comprising of up to 175 residential apartments (1 and 2 bedrooms in 3 buildings), creative arts studios, co-working space / offices, flexible co-working space and 152 car parking spaces.


Access and egress would be via the existing multi-storey carpark entrance and exits on Rhode Street.  Parking spaces would be available to residents (88 residential parking spaces if 175 flats were provided) and the remaining spaces would be used as a commercial carpark space for users of the town centre.  Electric charging points and cycle storage had been included. 


Due to the height reduction there was an improvement in the appearance and the view from New Road would now show the escarpment.


This would be a high quality architectural, sustainable site, bringing vitality back to the local town centre and the economic benefits should carry significant weight. 


The Committee discussed the application in detail and Members drew attention to the following:


Concerns regarding the lack of detail regarding the materials being proposed, the appearance of the building and they questioned the appropriateness of outline indicative plans for such a significant scheme.


Condition 14 - an Air Quality Emissions Mitigation Statement was to be submitted.  With regards to the amount of parking spaces for the application it was questioned how this would help with air quality.  It was asked whether there were there any alternatives that could be included in the conditions to support a reduction of vehicles for example car sharing or the use of public transport as the bus and train stations were nearby.


The Chatham Town Centre Masterplan stated Chatham was a low-rise town but with more sites becoming high rise it was questioned how this would impact on the people of Chatham. Although the height reduction of the new proposal would be a better option, the view of the building from the High Street would still be visible. 


Members discussed a move for a deferral due to lack of information, noting that although the site was in need of development, it must be the right application for the area.  


The need to compare both the original and the current plans together was highlighted, as the building in the original plan showed a white building that stood out clearly whereas the current plan the building was blended in.  A comparison would be beneficial to see like for like.


It was considered that the Chatham Town Centre Masterplan needed to be updated to show potential large development sites and to include the design for the Debenhams area, and also that the area should retain as much parking as possible to entice visitors to the area. 




Consideration of this application was deferred at the request of Members to address concerns and gather more information.

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