"mulberry business centre report"
planning report PDU/2068/01 28 March 2008 Mulberry Business Centre, Quebec Way, SE16 in the London Borough of Southwark planning application no. 07 AP 2806 Strategic planning application stage 1 and 2 referral Town & Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended); Greater London Authority Act 1999; Town & Country Planning (Mayor of London) Order 2000 The proposal Demolition of existing buildings and the erection of a series of buildings ranging from 3 to 8- storeys comprising 256 flats; B1 (office) floorspace; car parking; landscape and highways works. The applicant The applicant is Mulberry Park Investments and the architect is Panter Hudspith Strategic issues The principle of a mixed residential and commercial development is welcomed. Affordable housing at 35% with a 62%/38% split between social rented and intermediate housing is acceptable given the results of a 3 Dragons appraisal. The mix of units is acceptable given that 2, 3 and 4-bedroom units are to be provided. The development will feature an integral children’s play space. The approach to design is appropriate. The proposal is acceptable in transport and access terms. In relation to energy, further investigation of CHP is required. A biomass boiler will be used which will deliver 12% savings in carbon emissions. Recommendation That Southwark Council be advised that the Mayor is content for it to determine the case itself, subject to any action that the Secretary of State may take, and does not therefore wish to direct refusal. However, a condition needs to be added to ensure further investigation and implementation of the energy strategy. Context 1 On 18 January 2008, Southwark Council consulted the Mayor of London on a proposal to develop the above site for the above uses. Under the provisions of the Town & Country Planning (Mayor of London) Order 2000 the Mayor had the same opportunity as other statutory consultees to comment on the proposal. On 18 March 2008, Southwark Council 1096MAS03 – Stage 1 and 2 report.doc page 1 resolved to grant permission and on 19 March 2008, it advised the Mayor of this decision. Under the provisions of the Order 2000, the Mayor may now direct Southwark Council to refuse planning permission and has until 1 April 2008 to notify the Council of such a direction. This report sets out the information needed by the Mayor in deciding whether to direct refusal. 2 The application is referrable under Category 1B of the Schedule of the Order 2000: “Development (other than development which only comprises the provision of. ..houses and flats) which comprises or includes the erection of a building or buildings …outside Central London and with a total floorspace of more than 15,000 sq.m.” 3 The Mayor of London’s comments on this case will be made available on the GLA website www.london.gov.uk Site description 4 The application site is located a short distance from Canada Water Underground Station and Surrey Quays Shopping Centre. The site is currently known as Mulberry Business Park and forms a collection of former industrial and commercial buildings located on the corner of Canada Street and Quebec Way within the Rotherhithe peninsula. 5 The area is undergoing significant change with higher density predominately residential-led mixed use schemes replacing under utilised former industrial sites. 6 Adjoining the site to the east is Harmsworth Quays, a 24-hour newspaper printing works and to the north is a school. There are also commercial and residential uses in the vicinity. Details of the proposal 7 Planning permission is sought for a mixed use proposal comprising 256 flats and 5,105 sq.m. of commercial floorspace. The accommodation would be located in a number of blocks ranging from three to eight storeys. 8 Adjoining Harmsworth Quays would be a building providing the office accommodation which would provide a buffer between the residential and industrial uses. The massing of the development would be highest against Harmsworth Quays gradually reducing to the perimeter at the school and Canada Street. 9 The development would have a series of courtyards and public spaces. It is designed to be permeable to encourage pedestrian movement and activity through the site. Case history 10 An appeal for a development comprising 407 flats and commercial floorspace was dismissed in December 2005 for design; loss of amenity; poor public realm; and insufficient housing mix reasons. 11 An application for a development comprising 253 flats and commercial floorspace was submitted and withdrawn in 2007. 12 Neither of the above applications were referred to the Mayor. Strategic planning issues and relevant policies and guidance 1096MAS03 – Stage 1 and 2 report.doc page 2 13 The relevant issues and corresponding policies are as follows: Housing London Plan; PPS3; Housing SPG; Providing for Children and Young People’s Play and Informal Recreation SPG; draft Housing Strategy Urban design London Plan; PPS1 Transport London Plan; the Mayor’s Transport Strategy; PPG13; Access/Equal opportunities London Plan; PPS1; Accessible London: achieving an inclusive environment SPG; Wheelchair Accessible Housing BPG; Planning and Access for Disabled People: a good practice guide (ODPM); London Plan; Planning for Equality and Diversity in Meeting the spatial needs of London’s diverse communities SPG; Diversity and Equality in Planning: A good practice guide (ODPM) Sustainable development London Plan; PPS, PPS Planning and Climate Change Supplement to PPS1; PPS3; PPG13; PPS22; the Mayor’s Energy Strategy; Sustainable Design and Construction SPG 14 For the purposes of Section 38(6) of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004, the development plan in force for the area is the July 2007 Southwark Unitary Development Plan and the London Plan (Consolidated with Alterations since 2004). Housing 15 The proposal would provide 256 flats. This is welcomed as the residential units will increase the supply of housing in London (London Plan Policy 3A.1). 16 In relation to affordable housing, Circular 6/98 supplements Planning Policy Guidance Note 3 by amplifying the Government’s preferred approach to planning and affordable housing. Paragraph 1 states that: “A community’s need for affordable housing is a material planning consideration which may be properly taken into account in deciding planning applications.” 17 The London Plan has set a target that 50% of all new dwellings should be affordable. 18 Policy 3A.10 of the London Plan (‘Negotiating affordable housing in individual private residential and mixed-use schemes’) states that: “Boroughs should seek the maximum reasonable amount of affordable housing when negotiating on individual private residential and mixed-use schemes….Targets should be applied flexibly, taking account of individual site costs, the availability of public subsidy and other scheme requirements.” 19 The proposal would provide 35% affordable housing when measured by habitable rooms. This has been justified by a Three Dragons toolkit assessment and the appraisal has also been verified by Southwark’s property team. The provision of more affordable housing on the site would make the scheme unviable. 35% affordable housing is the maximum reasonable amount that can be provided on the site. 20 Within the affordable housing provision, the London Plan sets out an objective of 70% social housing and 30% intermediate provision. The proposal offers 62% social rented accommodation and 38% intermediate provision. This is acceptable in this instance given that the 3 Dragons appraisal demonstrates that the scheme would not be financially viable if it were to be fully compliant with the London Plan policy whilst also making a Section 106 contribution (£1.8 million) towards items including education and health. 1096MAS03 – Stage 1 and 2 report.doc page 3 21 The mix of units is as follows: Proposed SPG market Proposed SPG social Proposed SPG Unit size market mix mix social rented rented mix intermediate intermediate mix mix mix 1 bed 127 (62.5%) 25% 0 19% 0 66% 2 bed 76 x 2- 75% 16 x 39% 9 x 2-bed; 6 Varies on 3 bed beds (37.5%) 2-bed; 14 x x 3–bed individual 3-bed (83%) (88%) circumstances 4 bed No target 6 (17%) 42% 2 (12%) 34% 22 This mix of units does not fully accord with the guidance provided in the Housing SPG particularly in relation to the market housing, which is mostly 1 and 2 bedroomed. Within the affordable accommodation, the majority of the units are 3 and 4-bedroomed (20 out of 36) whilst in the intermediate units, 8 out of 17 are 3 bedroomed or larger. There are no 1-bedroomed units within the social rented or intermediate accommodation. This overall mix is acceptable. 23 The density of the development is 733 habitable rooms per hectare (hr/h). This broadly accords with guidance set out in the London Plan for a location such as this (200- 700 hr/h). The density is also justified by the design of the proposal which responds well to the site and the standard of the accommodation proposed. All of the flats will have direct access to a balcony, terrace or garden. Many of the flats (56%) will be dual aspect. The density of the development is also acceptable given the site’s local context and public transport accessibility. 24 The development will include a children’s play area with the Section 106 agreement providing funding for play equipment. Urban design 25 The design of the proposal is an effective response both to the constraints of the site and the criticisms of the scheme dismissed at appeal. The forms of the building are shaped in order to allow good daylight and sun penetration to the flats and the courtyards. The bulk, massing and height are all appropriate. 26 Within the development, the buildings have been laid out in a series of interconnecting fingers that incorporate private and public spaces in between. 1096MAS03 – Stage 1 and 2 report.doc page 4 27 The design rationale for the external facades of stacked timber is an attempt to reflect the area’s history as a dock that stored timber on site following importation. While this could be accused of being a rather unusual approach to design evolution, it works well in a modern interpretation – residential elements are separated; there are recessed balconies and projecting facade elements. 28 The approach to public and private space is appropriate – there would be six courtyards within the scheme of which three would be private and accessible to residents only. The development is designed to be permeable. A public pedestrian route is created through the site from Quebec Way. This new route includes a shallow water course and could subject to the future redevelopment of the adjoining site allow for a continuation of the route to the rear of the shopping centre. Transport 29 The site is located on Canada Street to the north east of Surrey Quays Road. Jamaica Road (A200) and Lower Road are in close proximity to the site and are part of the Transport for London Road Network (TLRN) and Strategic Road Network (SRN), respectively. Canada Water underground station providing access to the Jubilee Line and Canada Water bus station are less than 500 metres from the site. The site has a public transport accessibility level (PTAL) of between 3 and 4 on a scale of 1 to 6 where 6 is the most accessible. 30 A total of 106 car parking spaces have been proposed, 96 of these have been provided in respect of the 256 residential units; this equates to 0.39 spaces per residential unit. 4 spaces have been allocated to the office element of the proposal and 6 for a car club. This level of parking is within London Plan standards and therefore deemed acceptable. 31 In relation to cycle parking, a total of 311 spaces have been proposed. TfL is satisfied with this level of cycle parking proposed as it is in line with TfL guidelines. 32 The applicant’s overall assessment of the impact of this development on the local bus and London underground networks is poor. Although TfL does not expect this development alone to result in a negative impact on the public transport networks, TfL has concerns regarding the impact of cumulative development in the area on bus priority and potential bus journey time increases as well as the impacts on the already congested local highway network. A contribution towards measures set out in the Rotherhithe Multi-modal study would be welcomed in order to improve bus journey times and local highway improvements in the local area. 33 TfL expects a full construction management plan to be prepared and agreed with TfL and the Council in order to minimise the impact of construction vehicles on the local highways, bus networks and other more vulnerable users such as pedestrians and cyclists. This is safeguarded by a condition. 34 TfL welcomes the developer’s commitment to provide a travel plan for this development. This should include appropriate measures and targets aimed at encouraging modal shift and responsible travel behaviour. The travel plan should also be i-trace compliant and secured, enforced, monitored and reviewed as part of the Section 106 agreement. 35 In summary, TfL supports this application and understands a combined sum of £365,000 will be allocated towards transport improvements in the vicinity of the site. Access/equal opportunities 1096MAS03 – Stage 1 and 2 report.doc page 5 36 An access statement has been produced. It demonstrates that the development would be fully accessible. The routes and courtyards are designed to be fully accessible with level access, ramps, resting spaces and non-slip surfaces. 37 All of the flats will be built to Lifetime Homes standards and 10% will be wheelchair accessible. Sustainable development 38 The application was accompanied by an energy statement which sets out how the Mayor’s energy hierarchy has been addressed. 39 Some of the energy efficiency measures will include facade engineering and thermal mass construction; sedum green roofs; and daylight/sunlight penetration to reduce reliance on artificial lighting. There will also be rain water harvesting that utilises the water feature element within the landscaping. 40 The use of combined heat and power has been investigated. The energy consultants have advised that whilst technically feasible, the financial case is dependent on what is done with the electricity generated. The consultants have recommended that unless an energy supply company or other suitable provider can be found who is willing to develop and operate a private wire network in addition to the heat network, this option is not recommended. 41 Whilst the above is recognised, further investigation is required particularly given the opportunity presented by the volume of projected development in the area which this development could link to. 42 In terms of renewable energy, various technologies have been investigated. It is proposed to use a biomass boiler which will deliver 12% savings in carbon emissions. London Development Agency’s comments 43 The LDA support the principal of the proposal. The application proposes to make financial contributions towards education, public open space, health and community facilities as well as employment contributions both during construction and in the development. The Agency would suggest that the contributions towards education are further detailed, and encourages the consideration of childcare needs in particular, as a means of tackling barriers to employment. 44 In order to ensure the aims of Policy 3B.11 (‘Improving employment opportunities for Londoners’) of the London Plan are met and that local residents and businesses benefit from the creation of jobs, the Agency would suggest the developer submit an employment and training strategy as part of the Section 106 Agreement, which could cover the following elements: Timing and arrangements for its implementation including funding arrangements. A stakeholder charter to ensure initial and subsequent employers within the completed development participate in the implementation of the strategy. 1096MAS03 – Stage 1 and 2 report.doc page 6 Minimum local recruitment targets for employees and targets for the involvement of local businesses and measures to be undertaken by the applicant to meet with these targets. Periodical workforce and business monitoring and reporting of the results to the Council and such other parties as may be set out in the approved strategy. A programme for skills training for local residents and/or businesses, including the potential for the provision of suitably equipped training premises. Local publicity, awareness raising proposals and methods for advertising employment opportunities and impending contracts. Initiatives to promote the involvement of local businesses including sub-contracting and the supply of goods and services. Initiatives to promote the employment of small and medium businesses. Initiatives to promote the employment of black and ethnic minority owned businesses. 45 The delivery of such initiatives will assist in ensuring the regeneration benefits of the proposed development are maximised for local residents, and that the objective to tackle barriers to employment set out in the Economic Development Strategy is met. Response to consultation 46 In response to Southwark Council’s public consultation exercise, 7 letters of objection were received. These related to closeness to the printing works; closeness to the school; overshadowing; interference with TV reception; parking; lack of local school places; lack of local GP and dental places; extra traffic; should not be flats but houses instead; concern over upkeep of Albion Channel; general impact on amenity; height of the development; overdevelopment; no proper road crossing system; pavements cracking; overlooking; loss of privacy; loss of daylight and sunlight; noise and disturbance from people using balconies; no social or recreational places; and re-housing of a church. 47 The above objections are recognised but do not change the conclusions of this report. Legal considerations 48 Under the arrangements set out in article 5 of the Town and Country Planning (Mayor of London) Order 2000 the Mayor has the power to direct the local planning authority to refuse permission for a planning application referred to him under article 3 of the Order. In doing so the Mayor must have regard to the matters set out in article 5(2) of the Order, including the principle purposes of the Greater London Authority, the effect on health and sustainable development, national policies and international obligations, regional planning guidance, and the use of the River Thames. The Mayor may direct refusal if he considers that to grant permission would be contrary to good strategic planning in Greater London. If he decides to direct refusal, the Mayor must set out his reasons, and the local planning authority must issue these with the refusal notice. Financial considerations 1096MAS03 – Stage 1 and 2 report.doc page 7 49 Should the Mayor direct refusal, he would be the principal party at any subsequent appeal hearing or public inquiry. Government guidance in Circular 8/93 (‘Award of Costs in Planning and Other (including Compulsory Purchase Order) Proceedings’) emphasises that parties usually pay their own expenses arising from an appeal. 50 Following an inquiry caused by a direction to refuse, costs may be awarded against the Mayor if he has either directed refusal unreasonably; handled a referral from a planning authority unreasonably; or behaved unreasonably during the appeal. A major factor in deciding whether the Mayor has acted unreasonably will be the extent to which he has taken account of established planning policy. Conclusion 51 The principle of a mixed residential and commercial development is welcomed. Affordable housing at 35% with a 62%/38% split between social rented and intermediate housing is acceptable given the results of a 3 Dragons appraisal. The mix of units is acceptable given that 2, 3 and 4-bedroom units are to be provided. The development will feature an integral children’s play space. 52 The approach to design is appropriate. 53 The proposal is acceptable in transport and access terms. 54 In relation to energy, further investigation of CHP is required. In relation to renewables, a biomass boiler will be used which will deliver 12% savings in carbon emissions. for further information, contact Planning Decisions Unit: Giles Dolphin, Head of Planning Decisions 020 7983 4271 email firstname.lastname@example.org Colin Wilson, Planning Decisions Manager (Development Planning) 020 7983 4783 email email@example.com Martin Scholar, Case Officer 020 7983 5750 email firstname.lastname@example.org 1096MAS03 – Stage 1 and 2 report.doc page 8