Agenda and draft minutes

Planning Panel - Tuesday, 11th September, 2012 7.30 pm

Venue: Swan Annexe, 219/221 High Street, Ponders End, Enfield EN3 4DX.

Contact: Metin Halil 0208 379 4091 Email: metin.halil@enfield.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

1.

OPENING

i)                    Purpose of the meeting

 

    ii)       Introduction of Applicant’s representatives and Officers of the Council

Minutes:

NOTED

 

  1. Councillor Cranfield as Chair welcomed all attendees to the meeting and introduced the Panel Members, the applicant’s representatives and Council officers.

 

  1. The purpose of the meeting was to provide local residents and other interested parties the opportunity to ask questions about the application and for the applicants, officers and Panel Members to listen to all the comments.

 

  1. A decision on the application would be made by the full Planning Committee at a future date.

 

 

2.

OFFICERS' SUMMARY OF THE PLANNING ISSUES

The site

 

The application site comprises the former Middlesex University campus which was vacated by the University in 2009 and is now in private ownership. The site extends to 3.9 hectares in the heart of Ponders End. It presently comprises a range of buildings equating to approximately 32,500sq.m of floor space and includes a 350 bed halls of residence. The campus site dates back to 1938 when the Broadbent Building was constructed. The Broadbent Building, together with the Gym and Caretakers House are now Grade II Listed Buildings.

 

To the north of the site lies the Queensway Industrial Estate, a Locally Significant Employment Area, which comprises a range of small scale industrial units. To the west and south,  the site bounds residential properties in Kingsway and Derby Road. To the east the site bounds the range of commercial and community uses that front the High Street.

 

Vehicle access to the site is from Queensway, with the exit via the existing multi-storey car park, also on to Queensway. A further pedestrian access exists to the High Street, just south of the Mosque.

 

The site lies within the Ponders End Regeneration Priority Area and within the area covered by the Ponders End Central Planning Brief.

 

 

 

 

The Proposal

 

The application proposes the creation of 471 new homes, including conversion of the Grade II Listed Broadbent Building and use of the ‘Gymnasium’ for communal facilities for residents. Thirteen new residential blocks are proposed between 2 and 4 storeys in height, including 40 houses. A new 4 storey commercial block (975sq.m) is proposed fronting Queensway, where the multi storey car park presently stands.

 

A block/grid format of development is proposed, with a long terrace of houses to the southern boundary. Flat blocks all 4 storeys in height, positioned to enclose a central courtyard area. Amenity space and children’s play areas are sited within the courtyards

 

Vehicle access to the site would be taken from Queensway, utilising the existing points of access. Pedestrian access would be available to Queensway, along side the vehicle access points and in addition to the High Street, via the footpath that runs to the south of the Mosque.

 

239 parking spaces and 24 motor cycle spaces are proposed. All parking is to the street frontage

 

The housing mix proposed is as follows:

 

Overall mix

 

Starter (studios)          85        18%

1 bed                           168      35%

2 bed                           98        21%

3 bed                           79        17%

4 bed                           41        9%

 

The applicant differentiates between the mix within the Listed Building and the new build:

 

Listed Building

 

Studio                          24        22%

1 bed                           73        68%

2 bed                           10        9%

3 bed                           0          0%

4 bed                           1          1%

 

Total                            108

 

New build

 

Studio                          61        17%

1 bed                           95        26%

2 bed                           88        24%

3 bed                           79        22%

4 bed                           40        11%

 

Total                            363

 

The applicant advises that the scheme cannot sustain any affordable housing.

 

47 wheelchair accessible units will be provided. All wheelchair accessible units would be within the new build element.

 

All new build units would  ...  view the full agenda text for item 2.

Minutes:

NOTED

 

1.      Aled Richards, Head of Development Management, gave a brief outline of the application and the issues that had been raised by residents.

 

2.      The application had been submitted in May 2012. Over 800 consultation letters had been sent out to residents, mainly to properties adjoining and adjacent to the development site, site notices were posted around the area and notices were advertised in two local newspapers. To date, five letters of objection had been received.

 

3.      Most of the concerns raised so far related to traffic congestion, loss of employment use, comprehensive development of the High Street and the impact the development would have on the premises of Enfield Enterprise, and on 216 High Street (the police station).

 

4.      Other authorities, statutory consultees and heritage societies had also been consulted on the application.

 

5.      The main planning implications to be considered were the density of development, its form and layout and integration with surrounding development, the proposed housing mix and the lack of affordable housing provision, proposals for the Listed Building, the relationship of the scheme to the wider regeneration ambitions for the area and linkage to the High Street, and the traffic impact of the development.

 

6.      The set consultation period had ended, but the Planning Department would take into account all representations received up until the date of Planning Committee. Residents would also have an opportunity to make a deputation when the application was heard at Planning Committee, which was likely to be in October or November 2012, once outstanding issues had been resolved.

3.

PRESENTATION BY THE APPLICANT/AGENT

Minutes:

NOTED

 

  1. Murray Levinson, Squire and Partners, introduced the project members and gave an illustrated presentation on the proposal, including:

a.      The site consisted of a series of different university buildings and was located adjacent to the High Street in the east, with Queensway to the north and Kingsway to the west.

b.      The Broadbent Grade II Listed building on the site, which had fallen into disrepair, would be maintained and converted to residential use, but the other buildings on site were of no architectural merit and would be demolished and cleared. The Broadbent building was purpose-built in the late 1930s, and had been changed and sub-divided internally. The exterior was mainly glazed with steel window frames. Key aspects of the listed building would be maintained with advice from the applicant’s historic building advisers, Turley Associates and the Council. These included:

·        Original entrance hall retained, stairs to remain in position, part of the assembly space to be returned to its original double height.

·        Seminar spaces to be converted to living accommodation.

·        Aluminium window systems to be used to replace the steel framed windows.

c.      The existing courtyard and gymnasium would be refurbished to provide communal facilities for residents. A caretaker’s lodge, opposite the entrance of the development, would be replaced by modern accommodation.

d.      Council planning officers and the applicant had had extensive discussions about the site and the integration of the development to the surrounding area, and plans had been amended accordingly.

e.      The accommodation blocks would be orientated on the Listed building layout, with an ‘H’ shape and 40 terraced houses on the southern boundary. The buildings would have three or four storeys to complement the height of the Listed building.

f.        Current vehicle access points to Queensway would be maintained, plus a pedestrian route to High Street.

g.      The development would also include landscaping, car parking, amenity space with some allocated play space, and roof gardens.

h.      There would be future discussions regarding the adjacent sites to the development and the integration of these with the development site.

 

  1. Stuart Davies, Motion (transport consultants), introduced the traffic impact on the proposal including the following points:
  1. Vehicular access to the site to be maintained from Queensway, north of the site and the existing points of access. The pedestrian link to the High Street would be improved.
  2. The former campus site had been very active and was very well placed for buses and two train stations at a reasonable distance, providing five connections to London each hour. Public transport was assessed at a moderate level with a good choice of transport links.
  3. Traffic impact included the following points:
    • The previous use of the site as a campus was mainly from Monday to Friday with considerable peaks of activity.
    • A detailed transport study had been submitted with the application and other developments planned in the immediate area, where traffic impact had been surveyed by the Council, had been used by the applicant as part of their analysis.
    • There would not be much  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.

4.

QUESTIONS BY PANEL MEMBERS

Minutes:

NOTED the following questions and observations from Members of the Panel:

 

  1. Councillor Pearce had concerns about the impact on local schools and health services. She also asked about parking spaces and whether the proposed houses would have garages. It was advised that the houses would not have garages, but that each house would have a parking space on the street. In response to Councillor Pearce’s further questions about utility areas, amenity space, and children’s recreation areas, it was confirmed that a dedicated refuse space would be provided at each block of flats, amenity space and the Gymnasium would be available for the sole use of residents, and that open areas had been created within the development for recreation purposes and doorstep play space for young children.

 

  1. Councillor Hurer commented that it was unacceptable to keep the site as it was and something needed to be done. The following responses were given to Councillor Hurer’s further queries:

·        It was advised that no intended allocation of parking spaces was planned and that spaces would be communally available for residents and visitors. A management regime was to be introduced to the site. There were no current controls outside the site.

·        A Transport for London study showed a trend across London towards lower car ownership. There had also been a growth in motorcycle use for travel into central London. However, Councillor Hurer felt that a local study should be done.

·        CCTV on the site, linked to a local centre, would be considered by the applicant.

·        The focus on studio and one-bed flats in the Listed building resulted from the building’s layout. Double bays would be too big for the current market; smaller flats were considered easier to sell.

·        The scheme could not sustain affordable housing as shown by an extensive viability study. The market was such that the financial return on one-bed flats and studios was better in terms of viability. The smaller units would cross-subsidise bringing the larger homes forward, and there was understood to be good local demand for small units as entry onto the property ladder. Councillor Hurer would not like to see a ‘buy to let’ scenario for this development, but understood that it was difficult to stop. He commended the applicant on the 47 wheelchair accessible units.

 

  1. Councillor Cranfield asked about the following matters:

·        She remarked that the mix of living accommodation appeared to be driven by the nature of the site and not by the needs of the area. It was advised that the mix was driven by a combination of physical characteristics of the site and the constraints of the Listed building and the viability of the development. A viable mix was very difficult to achieve and there had been numerous open discussions with Council officers.

·        It was confirmed that the two vehicle points of access would still be in Queensway as at present. Transport for London’s main concerns were around impact on local traffic control junctions. They were content that there would be enough  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

QUESTIONS BY WARD COUNCILLORS

Minutes:

NOTED the following questions and observations from Ward Councillors:

 

  1. Councillor Chaudhury Anwar, Ponders End Ward Councillor, asked whether in bringing 471 units into the area, there would be an infrastructure to support this development. Traffic was already a problem in the area with local roads already suffering from congestion. The only access road was Queensway, which was full of light industrial units and may not be able to cope with the additional traffic. His view was that the proposal was not sustainable. Provision of numerous one-bed flats and studio flats would encourage buy to let, and not meet the needs of the area or cultural groups, that included more extended families and not single people. He was concerned that the development would not lead to a stable community.

 

  1. Councillor Ayfer Orhan, Ponders End Ward Councillor, remarked that the overall design and concept of the development was currently alien to the regeneration vision of Ponders End. The development would add no value to Ponders End and would impact on the population in Ponders End to the detriment of retaining the existing population, which was desired. It would bring a new population to Ponders End instead. The application had not factored in any new schools, GP surgeries, support networks or services, and it would impact on the existing infrastructure. The massive design of the development had seemingly been conceived in isolation.

6.

OPEN SESSION - QUESTIONS AND VIEWS FROM THE FLOOR

Minutes:

NOTED the following comments and questions were received from local residents and other interested parties:

 

1.      A local resident questioned:

·        Who would move into the flats?

·        Would the flats be for sale or part of Council housing stock?

·        Was this a money making exercise?

·        How many local people would benefit from the development?

·        Did the Council negotiate with local people about the development?

·        What had the Council done about working in partnership with residents of Ponders End?

 

It was advised that Council officers had been negotiating with the applicant about the development for more than two years. There was no affordable housing in the proposal. Concern had been raised by the Council regarding viability issues. The development was not a Council scheme but was purely a private development. Council officers were still in discussions with the applicant regarding contributions from a Section 106 agreement. The applicant was aware of the affordable housing policy and advised that the Council were vetting the viability exercise. At present, affordable housing was not viable. However, the applicant believed there would be benefits to the town centre shops and restaurants as a result of the incoming population.

 

2.      A local resident raised a concern that as part of the regeneration scheme in the area, there were plans for a nursery adjacent to the library to be knocked down and there was no guaranteed alternative place for a nursery provision.

 

It was advised that these issues were linked to the wider regeneration of the area. The development would not provide those services on site, but a Section 106 agreement may be expected to come forward in due course.

 

3.      A resident of Queensway highlighted that the tree cover and the university use had meant there had been very little noise disturbance to residents. In the proposals, there did not appear to be much screening between the development and nearby homes, for noise reduction, and he queried what screening the developer would provide. The applicant acknowledged the points made and that screening would be put in along the boundary. Noise generation during the construction period would be limited by rules and conditions. Once the development was occupied, the residents mutually would not want to suffer noise and disturbance themselves. Residential use would not be expected to create significant noise and disturbance. The development would not have factory use or heavy lorry movements. Councillor Hurer added that a landscaping condition could also be imposed.

 

4.      An attendee expressed disappointment that there was little commercial space on the site. He would like to see a job generation scheme for the area. He feared that congestion on Queensway would have a negative impact on businesses based there.

 

It was advised by the developers that they were following the Council’s Master Plan for regeneration and use of the site. The commercial use they envisaged was office type use.

 

5.      A resident remarked that they had not received any consultation letters, and asked about the size of the consultation area, and why  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

CLOSE OF MEETING

Minutes:

NOTED the closing points, including:

 

1.   Members of the public and all attendees were thanked for their attendance and constructive contributions to the meeting. An offer of further publicity in ‘The Pen’ local newsletter would be taken up. Any further comments about the application should be sent to the Council Planning Department, and would continue to be received up to the date of the Planning Committee meeting which would make the decision. If representations were received in time they would be included in the officers’ report, but any received after that time may have to be summarised and reported orally at Committee.

 

2.   Notes taken at this meeting would be appended to the Planning Officers’ report to be considered by the Planning Committee at a forthcoming meeting. The timescale was dependent on continuing negotiations, but the application was likely to be presented to the Planning Committee in two to three months’ time.

 

3.   There was a deputation procedure whereby interested parties could request to address the Planning Committee meeting (details on the Council website or via the Planning Committee Secretary 020 8379 4093 jane.creer@enfield.gov.uk or metin.halil@enfield.gov.uk and residents could also ask ward councillors to speak on their behalf.

 

4.   Full details of the application were available to view and download from the Council’s website www.enfield.gov.uk (Application Ref P12-00732PLA and P12-00733HER).