Agenda item - BH2019/00964 - Land At Brighton Marina Comprising Outer Harbour, Western Breakwater And Adjoining Land Brighton Marina, Brighton -Part Full Part Outline Planning
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BH2019/00964 - Land At Brighton Marina Comprising Outer Harbour, Western Breakwater And Adjoining Land Brighton Marina, Brighton -Part Full Part Outline Planning
RECOMMENDATION – MINDED TO REFUSE (subject to appeal)
Ward Affected: Rottingdean Coastal
Hybrid planning application for the phased residential-led mixed-use development of Brighton Marina Outer Harbour. Full Planning Permission for Phase Two of the development comprises: 480no. residential units (C3) in 3 buildings ranging from 9-28 storeys plus plant levels, 761 sqm of flexible commercial floor space (A1-A4, B1, C3 Ancillary, D1/D2), works to existing cofferdam, undercroft car and cycle parking, servicing, landscaping, public realm works and infrastructure (harbour wall) works. Outline Planning Permission (all matters reserved apart from access) for Phase Three of the development comprises: up to 520no residential units (C3) in 6 buildings ranging from 8-19 storeys, up to 800 sqm of flexible commercial floor space (A1-A4, B1, C3 Ancillary, D1/D2), construction of engineered basement structure to create a raised podium deck over Spending Beach, installation of Navigation Piles, undercroft car and cycle parking, servicing, landscaping and public realm works. Land at Brighton Marina Comprising Outer Harbour, Western Breakwater And Adjoining Land Brighton Marina Brighton
(1) It was noted that this application had been the subject of a site visit in advance of the meeting. This had taken place in line with current Government Guidance.
(2) The Planning Manager, Jane Moseley, stated that it had come to her notice that morning that unfortunately certain representations on behalf of the local highway authority, including the authority’s final comments on the application, had not been made available on the council website but, this had now been rectified.
(3) An in-depth presentation had been provided by officers in advance of the meeting and was included on the council website detailing the scheme by reference to site plans, elevational drawings and photographs which also showed the proposed scheme in the context of neighbouring development. Given the complexities of this scheme a further presentation was also given at the Committee meeting itself. The final comments of the highway authority were considered to be material in informing the officer’s report. These had been e-mailed to all Members of the Committee in advance of the meeting in addition to being posted on the council website. If Members considered that they had had insufficient time to consider those representations they had the option of deferring consideration of the application to enable those comments to be appraised. It was agreed that Members would hear and consider the officer presentation, representations made and responses to any questions they had and would then consider whether they wished to defer the application.
(4) It was clarified that an appeal against non-determination of this application had been lodged by the applicant on 17 September 2020. The decision on the application therefore now sat with the Planning Inspectorate and the report sought a view from the Committee on the decision they would have made, had the decision remained with them. The constituent elements of the scheme were explained and it was noted that this was a hybrid outline/full application. The principle of the proposal was acceptable as it was in general accordance with Policy DA2 which supported the proposed mix of uses (primarily commercial and residential) and was consistent with the approved 2006 scheme. The principle of a mixed use development of the site was acceptable, it was the acceptability of this particular scheme which needed to be assessed. In doing so it needed to be acknowledged that there was an extant permission, so the principle of developing the site within the approved parameters had already been accepted.
(5) This scheme was, however, fundamentally different to the approved scheme in terms of its height, scale, massing and layout. With regard to height the extant permission ranged from 6 storeys in height to a 40 storey tower which was slender in form. The current application ranged from eight storeys in height to a maximum of 28 storeys. Further, the extant permission allowed 853 units across Phases 1, 2 and 3 (of which 195 units had already been built), while the current application sought permission for up to 1,000 dwellings across Phases 2 and 3 (i.e. up to 1,195 dwellings across all three phases). If permitted, the current application would therefore result in an additional 342 dwellings compared with the extant permission, though full permission was sought for 480 dwellings in Phase 2 and ‘up to’ 520 dwellings in Phase 3 so there was a fewer dwellings may be delivered in the latter phase. Overall, the scheme failed to meet a number of principles and policies. There were concerns in respect of overshadowing of neighbouring properties, sunlight and daylight to the new dwelling and amenity spaces, in terms of height, bulk and massing of the proposed form of development, and a lack of suitable amenity and play space.
(6) The benefits which the scheme could deliver needed to be balanced against significant concerns over the density and form of the development and its unacceptable design, as well as the cumulative impacts of both phases which would result in unacceptable impacts on the townscape, heritage features and the setting of the South Downs National Park. The lack of private amenity space and poor quality of communal space would unacceptably impact on the amenity of future occupiers, as would the lack of light to parts of the residential blocks, lack of children’s play space and the potential for overlooking and loss of privacy. Insufficient information had been provided to demonstrate why a non policy-compliant level of affordable housing was proposed. Also, the development did not include sufficient cycle parking, or access for cyclists across the breakwater to meet the need for sustainable transportation. For all of the reasons set out in report officers recommended that the Committee resolved that had the application come before the Committee for determination it would have refused planning permission.
(7) It was also noted that prior to the introduction of CIL in October 2020., the development would have provided a S106 contribution of £1, 942, 351.92 to be spent on open space and recreation in the vicinity of the site. After October 2020 and the adoption of CIL such a contribution could not be secured through the S106 nor would any CIL monies be available given the nil CIL rating of the site.
(8) Councillor Mears spoke in her capacity as a Local Ward Councillor setting out her objections to the proposed scheme and those of local objectors. She had expressed concerns in respect of the previous scheme for which there was extant permission, however, this scheme would have a significant negative impact in terms of its height and bulk, loss of light and lack of amenity not only for those already living in the Marina and those living in residences above the cliff top but also for future residents of the development. This scheme would result in massive overdevelopment. Traffic generation would also be an issue as the area already became gridlocked with the existing traffic generated.
(9) Mr Dunlop spoke in objection in his capacity both as a local resident and Secretary General, Climate Parliament. In addition to the points raised by Councillor Mears he stated that in view of current climatic changes and rising sea levels and incidence of exceptionally high surge tides, due to global warming, it was problematic to consider building in locations so close to the sea/in an outer harbour, such locations would carry a very high level of flood risk and would also be susceptible to other climatic/environmental factors. Mr Dunlop cited areas of the world where these factors had already resulted in significant problems, similar issues were likely to be experienced at this location.
(10) Councillor Fishleigh asked if Mr Dunlop considered that building to this height would give rise to and exacerbate any potential problems and he confirmed that he considered that it would. Councillor Fishleigh asked whether Mr Dunlop was aware of any similar developments anywhere else in the world.
(11) Councillor Shanks asked whether Mr Dunlop’s views related specifically to this proposed scheme or the principle of development of this part of the site. Mr Dunlop responded that he was surprised that building was proposed so close to the outer harbour/ breakwater.
Questions for Officers
(12) Councillor Shanks sought clarification on this issue as if she had understood correctly, the principle of development had already been established, as there was an extant permission for a development which could be built, the first phase had been erected and the Committee were being asked to consider this hybrid application and to decide what their decision would have been had an appeal for non-determination not been lodged and the decision had remained with them. It was confirmed that was so.
(13) Carl Griffiths, the Consultant planning officer for the Council confirmed that an Environmental Impact Assessment had been undertaken and factored into the scheme and Officer Report. It was confirmed that traffic/congestion issues had been assessed had been factored in and were included in the submission.
(14) Councillor Fishleigh enquired regarding the level of service charges and fees which would be applicable. She was aware that these were very high in respect of existing properties within the Marina development. In many instances these were astronomical a large number were not occupied by or affordable to local residents and were company/holiday lets.
(15) Councillor Miller queried whether any additional reasons could be added to any grounds for refusal. He had concerns in respect of potential additional traffic generation. He was also concerned that the applicant appeared to have failed to meet and pay their contractual obligations and wished to know whether there was the ability to seek to recover those.
(16) Councillor Theobald asked whether the Black Rock footbridge appeared to have been removed from the scheme, along with balconies and amenity space. It was confirmed that as a result of enabling works recently granted permission at Black Rock and the provision of a walkway along the sea wall that the Black Rock footbridge had been removed. Balconies had been removed as the applicants had advised that they considered them to be unsafe. Officers did not concur in that view and also had concerns relating to the poor quality of amenity and play space provision.
Debate and Decision Making
(17) Councillor Yates stated that the reference in paragraph 1.2 should be to “them” rather than” her”. He wholeheartedly supported the officer recommendation, considering that this scheme was totally unacceptable, it was of very poor design and the element of affordable housing had been removed and no cogent rationale for that had been given.
(18) Councillor Miller stated that he agreed wholeheartedly that the application represented gross overdevelopment. He considered that a decision on the s106 terms should be made by Committee.
(19) Councillor Childs considered that this scheme failed on many levels. There had been a total disregard for the context of the site, lighting levels and amenity would be poor and the need to provide any affordable units had been ignored, there had been complete failure to address the requirements of the earlier permission, this was risible.
(20) Councillor Janio stated that he considered that the scheme was acceptable. The blocks would be in close proximity to sea with a number of the units having direct sea views, and would be in very close proximity to the beach which provided amenity space. The development would provide a large number of units which would appeal to some buyers.
(21) Councillor Hill stated that on balance she would have been minded to vote in support of the application and against the officer recommendation. The development would provide a substantial number of dwelling units; if refused, it could result in even fewer affordable units and the city’s housing needs would continue to be unmet.
(22) Councillor Shanks was also in agreement that the scheme was acceptable. The principle of development was established and although this would be configured differently it would provide for housing need in the city and amenity space would be provided in addition to that provided by the beach itself.
(23) Councillor Fishleigh stated that she totally disagreed that the proposed scheme would do anything to solve the housing crisis in the city. Currently only around 10% of the units in the Marina were in owner occupation and there was no reason to believe that this scheme would be any different.
(24) Councillor Littman, the Chair, stated that planning was a matter of balance and that Members could weigh the information and come to different conclusions. He could remember the Marina being built, having been conceived as one thing it had subsequently morphed into something else. He had significant concerns in respect of this proposed scheme, the report had analysed its constituent elements in depth and was in agreement that it was unacceptable overall. The lack of green space, amenity space that was small and over-shadowed and spacing between blocks which could make them wind tunnels were also concerns.
(25) Members took a vote on whether in light of the additional information provided referred to in paragraph (3) above whether to defer consideration of the application in order further consider it. On a vote of 7 to 2 Members voted that they considered that they had sufficient information to confirm how they would have determined the application had it come before them for decision.
(26) Members then voted on how they would have determined the application had it come before them for decision and voted 7 to 3 that they would have been minded to refuse permission.
59.1 RESOLVED – That the Committee has taken into consideration and agrees with the reasons for the recommendation set out in the report and resolves that had the planning application come before the Committee for determination it would have refused it for the reasons set out in the report.
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