Application Covering Letter

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					Mr P Corbett Senior Planning Officer Environment Department Bracknell Forest BC Times Square Market Street BRACKNELL RG12 1JD

Ref: BV/23259 8 March 2007

Dear Mr Corbett

PC Estates Ltd - Outline Planning Application for a Replacement Class B1 building and associated car parking and landscaping at the Old Met Office Site, Beaufort Park, Bracknell
We are instructed by our client, PC Estates Ltd, to resubmit an outline planning application for a replacement Class B1 building and associated car parking and landscaping. This application is a resubmission following the resolution to grant planning consent by Members for an identical application on 22 February 2007 (ref: 06/01095/OUT). As the S106 Agreement could not be completed by the appointed deadline of 5 March 2007 (after which the application would have been refused consent), our client instructed us to withdraw the application and to resubmit a fresh application. As confirmed by you, a planning application fee is not payable given this is a resubmission of an identical scheme following the withdrawal of a previous application within 12 months. Accordingly, this application comprises this letter together with 6 copies of the following information:        Completed planning application forms; Site Location Plan (1:2500 scale); Existing and proposed plans as listed in the Design and Access Statement; Planning Statement (dated November 2006) prepared by Broadway Malyan; Design and Access Statement (dated November 2006) prepared by Broadway Malyan; Transport Assessment (dated November 2006) prepared by Bettridge, Turner and Partners (BTP); Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (dated November 2006) prepared by Broadway Malyan.


Background Our client purchased the site in 2004 because of the Met office relocation to Exeter at which point the MoD declared the site surplus to requirements and placed it on the open market in October 2003. In order to establish the lawful planning use of the site for marketing / disposal purposes, the MoD applied for, and was granted, a Certificate of Existing Lawful Use for the site by BFBC in July 2003. The Certificate relates to the site as a whole, by virtue of the plan attached to it and establishes the lawfulness of the existing buildings and structures on the site (totalling 4,534m2) and the lawfulness of their use for B1(b) research and development purposes. In August 2003, a letter from a planning officer confirmed to the planning advisors of the MoD that‘…it would not amount to a material change of use to use the premises

as identified in the Lawful Development Certificate issued under reference 02/00790/LDC for any B1 business purpose, therefore planning permission would not be required. This does not impact on the fact that the lawful use is within the ambit of the current B1 business use class.’

The main office building (as shown on the survey plan) was subject to neglect and vandalism and was damaged by fire some 18 months ago. Emergency action was taken by BFBC to remove the dangerous structure under Section 78 of the Building Act 1984 on 8 May 2005. Having acquired the site as an investment, PC Estates were keen to explore with the Local Planning Authority the opportunity resulting from the fire to explore alternative proposals for the site. However, before doing so PC Estates were keen to ensure that any discussions about an alternative use of the site would not prejudice the likelihood of obtaining planning permission to re-build or replace the existing B1 building. To this end, a letter dated 10 May 2005 from Mr Haines (Head of Planning and Building Control) confirmed that:

‘If planning permission was sought to replace the burnt down building by a structure similar in scale and floor space, which is also intended for B1 Office use then it is unlikely that the Council would refuse planning permission.’
In addition, Mr Haines was concerned about the possible continued neglect of the buildings and asked PC Estates to attend a meeting to discuss the future of this site. Discussions with officers then took place on alternative proposals to the replacement of the existing B1 floorspace. However, after several meetings and draft proposals for the site, our client became frustrated by the lack of progress being made. Ultimately, officers admitted that in spite of the welcomed alternative proposal of a residential care home and provision of SANGS land, it would be premature to make SANGS provision at this time because there is no current policy basis or infrastructure in place to ensure its proper long term management. The enclosed Planning and Design and Access Statements provide an overview of the proposed scheme detailing how it complies national, regional and local planning policies. The Transport Assessment and the Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment provide detailed analysis of the proposed schemes impact upon the local highway network and its visual impact upon the area respectively. We look forward to continuing discussions with officers and to assist in ensuring that the application is presented to Members on 26 April 2007.


In the meantime, should you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact me or my colleague, Lance Flannigan. Yours sincerely

Bhavash Vashi Associate Town Planner Direct dial: 0118 930 7617 Email:
Encs: Planning application as listed above.

Copy to: Peter Cripp – PC Estates Ltd Robin Cripp – PC Estates Ltd