123188/FO/2019 - Xaverian College Lower Park Road Manchester M14 5RB - Rusholme Ward
The report of the Director of Planning, Building Control and Licensing is enclosed.
(Having been out of the room at the start of this item of business Councillor N Ali took no part in the decision making, Councillor M Monaghan was also not present for this item of business)
The application was for the Installation of fencing and gates to campus boundaries between 2.4 m and 2.7 metres in height. The application proposals relate to the boundary walls around the Xaverian College campus which is located in the Rusholme ward of Manchester. The College occupies a mix of new and converted buildings focused around an open area green space, however the Campus is spread over two distinct areas to the east and west of Lower Park Road. Many of the older buildings on the Campus are former residential villas which have been converted and extended to accommodate educational use. The campus is located within Victoria Park Conservation Area and contains the Grade II listed buildings known as Ward Hall, Marylands and Firwood which have all been converted for educational use in the past.
The Planning Officer drew the Committee’s attention to the late representation that had been submitted which provided further information on representations made. A further eleven objections had been received including from the Manchester Civic, Society relating to the height and design of gates and railings, preservation of trees, loss of visual amenity.
The meeting was addressed by a representative of Rusholme and Fallowfield Civic Society who spoke about the possible impact the development would have on the Conservation Area. She spoke of the college’s strategy to use high fences to help safeguard the learners, to give the college more time to respond to any risks to the students. She felt that as the strategy was untested, with no proof that all the measures the college was seeking were actually necessary. It was likely that the fencing would not need to be as high as that which is being proposed, making reference to the boundary walls that have been at the site. The proposed heights were excessive in the Conservation Area and a better design could actually enhance the area and not harm it.
Councillor Ali, a ward councillor for Rusholme ward, addressed the meeting. He spoke of the importance of the college and its heritage buildings to the character of the Conservation Area and the Victoria Park neighbourhood. He urged the college to consider using railings of 2.1m high rather than 2.4m in the more prominent parts of the boundary.
A representative of the applicant spoke next. He referred to the desire to maintain the aesthetic qualities of the college and the desire to avoid proposals that would harm the college’s estate and the wider Conservation Area. Nevertheless, the college was trying to adhere to the Department of Education advised minimum height of 2.4m on the site boundary.
The department’s advisory minimum height was confirmed by the Planning Officer.
Members of the committee welcomed the way that the college had been working with the local community and the Civic Society to try to avoid harming the amenity of the area and expressed their desire that the cooperative approach continued into the future. The members accepted the college’s desire to comply with the Department of Education’s advisory height and welcomed the quality of the design that the college was proposing to use.
To approve both applications subject to the conditions and reasons set out in the report.