Agenda item - BH2018/03541- Land to the East of Coldean Lane, North of Varley Halls, South of the A27, Brighton - Full Planning

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Agenda item

BH2018/03541- Land to the East of Coldean Lane, North of Varley Halls, South of the A27, Brighton - Full Planning

Erection of 2no seven storey buildings and 4no six storey buildings (including lift overruns) to provide 242no residential dwellings (C3), 162 car parking spaces, 365 cycle parking spaces, new access from Coldean Lane; associated landscaping incorporating areas of play/amenity space/active learning and substations.


Ward Affected: Hollingdean and Stanmer


1.            Principal Planning Officer, Eimear Murphy, introduced the application and gave a detailed presentation by reference to site plans, photographs and elevational drawings detailing the proposed scheme. The main considerations for this application relate to the principle of development on this site outside the city’s development limits, in the countryside, carrying and falling within and adjacent to designated heritage assets and landscapes and the impact thereon. The site is identified as an Urban Fringe Site with the potential for residential development.


2.            Considerations relate to the character and appearance, density, scale, mass and form of the development; the relationship with its context and surroundings including designated landscapes and heritage assets; standard of accommodation; amenity for future occupiers; housing mix; the proposed access and related traffic implications, air quality and noise; loss of open space; arboricultural; ecology and sustainability impacts.


3.            Concerns also relate to financial viability and affordable housing provision, as well as the provision of S106 Planning Obligation contributions that may be required as mitigation.


4.            The Committee were informed that the application has evolved from pre-application to committee. Amendments have been made to the scheme including the re-siting of the blocks of development from the original settings, the removal of one floor off one of the southern blocks, the accommodation of water run-off, and the breaking up of parking areas by planting with raised beds between car spaces and pedestrian areas. The application is basically acceptable with materials to be negotiated and S106 agreement to be resolved.


Public Speakers


5.            Becky Hobbs spoke against the application to the committee. Ms Hobbs stated that many creatures rely on the site, which needs to be looked after. The Ecology survey was not considered to be good. A two-year consultation would be better to assess the true situation on the site, a truly vital wildlife corridor. It was noted that hedgehogs did not appear in the County Ecologist’s report. The large number of badgers will be upset as will be the fox population in the area and the reptiles indigenous to the site. It was stated that Hyde Housing have a bad track record and some badger setts? in the area have been dug up already. More homes in the city would be better than on this site where they are not needed.


Questions for the speaker: None


6.            Guy Dixon spoke as the applicant’s agent. The site is allocated in the city plan for development and the applicant has accommodated issues raised on the site and noted that badgers had been taken into consideration. The badgers’ foraging areas will remain, whilst some outlying setts will be moved. Licenses will be required to move and protect the badgers. It was stated that the scheme is for much needed affordable housing made up of 50% shared ownership and 50% discounted market rent at living wage level. The amenity spaces are to be retained and maintained. Rhys Daniels (Hyde Housing) stated that 242 units will be constructed in the scheme.


Questions from Councillors


7.            Councillor Gill Williams was informed that the closing of badger setts would be addressed under licence, the tree planting and landscaping measures will help badgers and the ecology of the site. The site will always be supervised.


8.            Councillor Joe Miller was informed that amendments to the scheme to reduce the height and relocate the development were to reduce the impact on the landscape. Many adjustments have taken place following negotiations with officers.


9.            Councillor Phelim Mac Cafferty was informed that the land was designated in City Plan Part 2 as land where the potential of residential development was allowed. The site originally formed part of the wider Stanmer Park and a wildlife site. Following further questions Councillor Miller was informed that an extensive dormouse survey had been carried out and the appropriate condition removed. Outside lighting is to be kept to a minimum to reduce the impact on any bats in the area. Parking for match days at the Falmer stadium was not taken into consideration as the roads will not be public highways and parking will be for residents only. The scheme has been designed with sustainable transport measures, including extending the rental bike scheme to the site. 


10.         Councillor Bridget Fishleigh was informed that fewer homes on the site had been considered. The numbers have been driven by recognising housing need in the city and to optimise the site potential.


11.         Councillor Dee Simson was informed that affordability does not affect the design of the scheme and the national space standards have been used. Following a further question Councillor Simson was informed that the shared ownership and rental properties will be mixed to obtain the best balance on the site.


12.         Councillor Siriol Hugh-Jones was informed that the site is residential with no retail units.


Councillor questions for Officers.


13.         Councillor Joe Miller was informed that the joint venture was not only Brighton and Hove City Council and was a separate company to the authority. Under the S106 agreement the contributions to education have not been lost. Woodland walks will remain. The highway speed limit is to be extended up the hill towards the development. New access with visibility splays with crossing points will be implemented. The balance of rental and shared ownership is to be considered, as is the viability statement.


14.         Councillor Phelim Mac Cafferty was informed that the site previously formed part of Stanmer Park, the historic status of which was reduced by the creation of the A27. The site is not National Park, conservation area or currently public open space, though walkers are commonly allowed. Various species are found on the site. A woodland management plan can be added by condition. The County Ecologist stated that the wildlife surveys were carried out with best practice, with the bat survey was broadly in accordance. If any protected species are harmed works can be stopped.


15.         Councillor Carol Theobald was informed that the number of trees to be removed has been reduced and the landscaping plan will include the planting of more trees. The access to the site will be via the existing highway. The S106 agreement funds will be for the site only. The play area is to be woodland materials only in consideration of the site. The existing bus stop will benefit from a real-time display.


16.         Councillor Gill Williams was informed that legally bats, badgers, reptiles and hedgehogs are protected. Protection for these animals is to be implemented with a method statement to be submitted by condition. There are eight badger setts on the site, seven in use. The outlying sets are to be closed. The sets are to be protected by fencing during construction works. The woodlands are to be managed and the chalk grasslands kept.


17.         Councillor Daniel Yates was informed that the roads are to be private with little impact on match days at the Falmer Stadium.


18.         Councillor Dee Simson was informed that the impact on the National Park were assessed with reference to the design. Pitched roofs were not considered appropriate. The proposed materials are to reflect the colours of the area. The design and materials of the proposed balconies are to be approved by condition.


19.         Councillor Siriol Hugh-Jones was informed that wheelchair access has been included in the scheme and that the travel plan has been accepted by the transport officer.


20.         Councillor Sue Shanks was informed that pavements are to be included in the scheme and will be separated from parking areas, whilst existing paths and rights-of-way will be retained.




21.         Councillor Joe Miller welcomed the number of new homes. The S106 needs to be revised and education looked into. The objection from the National Park is a concern, as is the design. More like the adjoining Varley Halls design would have been better. The seven storey buildings are not right for the site. Transport is considered an issue.


22.         Councillor Carol Theobald welcomed the new homes. The seven-storey design seems too high for the site, five storeys would have been better. Councillor Theobald had wildlife and tree concerns and stated that loss of trees was not good.


23.         Councillor Sue Shanks welcomed the much-needed housing and felt the woodland site was good. On balance the scheme was much needed.


24.         Councillor Daniel Yates welcomed the use of space and housing on the site. The housing being much needed in the city. We need to learn to live in the countryside with managed landscaping. The scheme is considered sympathetic.


25.         Councillor Gill Williams felt the scheme was a good use of the space, but not perfect. The protection of wildlife was good for the community.


26.         Councillor Siriol Hugh-Jones welcomed the 100% affordable development, although more work on traffic management and the environment is needed, supported the scheme.


27.         Councillor Phelim MacCafferty welcomes new homes but we need to protect the environment. On balance with scheme is supported. A woodland management plan by an additional condition was moved and seconded by Councillor Shanks. It was also requested that materials are approved in consultation with members attending Chair’s Meeting.


28.         The Committee were invited to vote on the additional condition and materials to the Chair’s meeting.


Vote: All Agreed.


29.         The Committee were invited to vote on the officer’s recommendation to be MINDED TO GRANT planning permission.


Vote: For = 7, Against = 3, Abstentions = 0.


RESOLVED: That the committee has taken into consideration and agrees with the reasons for the recommendation set out in the report and resolves to be MINDED  TO GRANT planning permission subject to a S106 Agreement and the conditions and informatives set out in the report, SAVE THAT should the S106 Planning Obligation not be completed on or before 30 October 2019 the Head of Planning is hereby authorised to refuse planning permission for the reasons set out in the report. Condition 37 is to be removed. Additional condition for a Woodland Management Plan is to be added. Materials are to be approved in consultation with members attending Chair’s Meeting.

Supporting documents:


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