124302/FO/2019 - Land Bounded By Chester Road, Hulme Hall Road & Ellesmere Street M15 4JY - Hulme Ward
Decision status: Refused
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
Consideration of this application was deferred at the meeting of the Planning and Highways Committee on 13 February 2020 to enable a site visit to take place.
The application was for the demolition of the existing building on site and the erection of a residential-led mixed use development within two build blocks ranging from eight to eighteen storeys in height. The development consists of three hundred and sixty-six residential units, two hundred and seventeen square metres of commercial floor space, associated car and cycle parking within a basement level, public realm and landscaping, access and servicing arrangements and other associated works.
The site is located on the north east side of the junction of Chester Road and Hulme Hall Road, and is within the St Georges area of Hulme. It is bounded by Hulme Hall Road, Chester Road and Ellesmere Street.
The Planning Officer had nothing further to add since providing the application report.
A local resident spoke at the meeting as chair of a local community forum to object to the application on the grounds that there had not been any consultation with the forum. She spoke of concerns around a “gated community” feel to the development which would exclude current residents and also explained concerns around the increased population in the area relating to the three hundred and sixty six new dwellings proposed in the application and the strain it would put on traffic and local amenities. The local resident spoke of concerns about the height of the proposed dwellings and questioned why Hulme Ward was being considered for such high rise buildings of eighteen storeys.
The applicant then addressed the Committee stating that the development was on a brownfield site and that the design and materials were sympathetic to the rest of the immediate area. The applicant confirmed the amount of dwellings as three hundred and sixty six apartments comprising of one, two and three bedroomed options and stated that the development would enhance the Castlefield area. There would be a communal space, tree lined areas, roof gardens and appropriate lighting. The applicant added that, overall, this development would provide high quality accommodation. The applicant stated further that the development would provide construction jobs, supply the City Council with £600,000 per annum in Council Tax and was meeting concerns around Climate Change in providing generous cycle parking and electric car charging on site.
Councillor Igbon and Councillor Wright, both representing Hulme Ward, spoke of concerns about the application. Councillor Igbon stated that she had worked with the applicant and local residents and felt that there were serious concerns in treating the St George’s area as though it was the City Centre and allowing developments under City Centre regulations to be considered. Councillor Igbon stated that she could not support the application, making comment that it was at odds with the City Councils own Climate Emergency Policy with regard to the increased traffic the application would bring about if approved. This development, she stated, would not help or house any of the current local residents in the Hulme Ward. Councillor Wright made comment that there was talk of the St George’s area being treated as the City Centre and part of Castlefield and refuted these claims, confirming the area is within Hulme Ward. Councillor Wright continued to say that there was a large wall that appeared to keep current residents out, that daylight rules for the development were as applied for with a City Centre development and therefore not in keeping with the area. Councillor Wright confirmed that she was not opposed to the development of this site but was against this particular application, mentioning the City Council’s own Climate Emergency Policy with regard to the likelihood of increased traffic attached to three hundred and sixty six dwellings.
The Planning Officer confirmed that Hulme Ward as a whole did not sit within an area for City Centre rules regarding planning applications but, that this specific area of Hulme did and, as such, the proposals complied with the policy.
Councillor Hitchen raised her concerns regarding the density of population on the site and stated that she would not support the application.
Councillor Lovecy had concerns about the proposal, stating that the plans seemed to present an “inward looking” development that did not represent integration with current residents. Further concern was raised by Councillor Lovecy as to the provision of local amenities to support the increased population, such as Doctors and Dentists. The Planning Officer addressed this latter concern stating that the ground floor commercial premises made provision for health centres.
Councillor White confirmed he felt unable to support the project too, adding that there was a lack of affordable housing within the application and also nothing presented as adding to the nearby St George’s park.
Councillor Lyons felt that the area itself did need re-developing but stated that this application was for too large a development for him to support.
The Planning Officer stated that the profit for the developer was marginal and therefore, a contribution to the park was not viable. The Planning Officer confirmed to the Committee that the development was not a gated community and included a street that ran through the site.
Councillor Davies had concerns around the consultation, initial proposal for the number of residents which appeared to have doubled and could not think of a comparable development in the City Centre. The Head of Planning confirmed to the Committee that the consultation details should not inform the decision making process but assured the Committee that the development as a whole had been assessed against the relevant policies.
At this point, Councillor Lovecy stated that she was minded to refuse due to overdevelopment and Councillor Andrews supported this motion.
Voting for the application was split at 6 for and 6 against with The Chair of the committee, Councillor Curley, using a casting vote to make a majority of the Minded to Refuse vote.
Minded to refuse due to the negative impact of the proposed development on the character of the area by virtue of the height of the development proposal and the proposed increase in population to the immediate surroundings, creating the likelihood of increased traffic, which is counter-intuitive to the Climate Emergency Policy, and strain on local amenities if allowed.
Publication date: 29/06/2020
Date of decision: 12/03/2020
Decided at meeting: 12/03/2020 - Planning and Highways Committee