The case officer provided the Committee with a detailed overview of the major application.
He advised the Members of the main issues which had been considered in relation to the proposals, which included the principle of development and proposed uses, the scale, height and massing, and the impact on the character and amenity of the area and the setting of a listed building.
The case officer explained that, in the vicinity of the site, building heights ranged from two to twelve storeys and that the site was not within an Area of Townscape Character or a Conservation Area.
He drew the Committee’s attention to the Late Items Pack, where the consultation response from the NIHE had been received, whereby it had stated that it would wish to see 20% of residential development on the site committed to social and affordable housing. As with other applications, the case officer reminded the Committee that there was no policy basis for that.
The Committee was advised that Shaftesbury Square Hospital was a Grade B1 Listed building fronting onto Great Victoria Street. The case officer explained that HED had considered that the proposal failed to satisfy Policy BH11 of PPS6 and that the development would have an adverse impact on the setting of the listed hospital building. He explained, however, that in light of the scale of existing built development closer to the listed hospital, it was considered that there would be no greater harm to the setting of the listed building with the proposed development.
The Members were reminded that if they were minded to approve the application, the Council was required to notify DFI given the significant objection from HED in accordance with Section 89 of the Planning Act (Northern Ireland) 2011.
The Committee was advised that DfI Roads, Rivers Agency and NI Water had no objections to the proposals subject to conditions. He advised the Members that no third party objections had been received.
The case officer outlined that the proposals did not include car parking provision and that DFI Roads had required that the applicant could demonstrate the availability of three on-street parking spaces for disable residents within 50metres of the development. He also advised the Committee that a Framework Travel Plan proposed the appointment of a Travel Plan Co-ordinator with responsibility for implementing measures set out in the Travel Plan, where the Travel Plan stated that the deliberate absence of parking provision was considered to be balanced with the number of quality transport opportunities afforded to the site by its prime location. The case officer advised the Members that an agreed travel Plan would be secured trough a Section 76 planning Agreement and would include Green transport measures.
Additionally, the Members were advised that the applicant had agreed to incorporate environmental improvements along the frontage of the site on Dublin Road and to the rear along Ventry Street, which would also be secured through developer contributions.
In response to a query from a Member in relation to current issues with bins on Ventry Street, the case officer confirmed that Waste Management had advised that they were satisfied with the proposed waste arrangements.
The Committee was provided with a detailed overview of the materials which were proposed for the scheme, which included red sandstone cladding.
In response to Members’ queries relating to the gable wall, the Planning Manager confirmed that any discharge of a condition on that particular issue could be brought to a future meeting of the Committee for its consideration if deemed necessary.
After discussion, the Chairperson put the case officer’s recommendations to the Committee for its consideration, namely:
“That outline planning permission is granted subject to conditions and a Section 76 Planning Agreement to secure Green Travel measures, with delegated authority given to the Director of Planning and Building Control to finalise the wording of the conditions and of the Section 76 Agreement.”
On a vote by show of hands, nine Members voted for the recommendation and three against and it was accordingly declared carried.