The Planning Manager provided the Members with the key aspects of the application for a mixed use regeneration proposal which included:
· all matters reserved for retirement living at Plot 6, medical or health services at Plot 9, multi storey car park, local retail uses, restaurant and cafe uses, leisure and gym facilities at Plot 8, associated internal access roads, associated new public realm and amenity open space including central plaza and access from Upper Lisburn Road (as per planning approval LA04/2018/0040/F); and
· no matters reserved for residential development (81 apartments) at Plot 3, with ground floor local retail use/restaurant and cafe uses/leisure and gym facilities, associated landscaping, car parking and access from Upper Lisburn Road (as per planning approval LA04/2018/0040/F) and reconfiguration of temporary car park to the rear of King's Hall (approved under LA04/2018/0040/F).
The Committee was advised that the application was accompanied by an Environmental Statement and a suite of supporting documents including a Masterplan and Parameter Plan, which set out the proposed maximum height. The Planning Manager advised that a Design Code had also been provided, which set out key design principles for each plot. He outlined that subsequent Reserved Matters applications would be required to follow the principles set out in the Design Code, which would be required by planning condition, in order to give certainty regarding the final quality and cohesion across the development.
The Members were provided with the main issues which had been considered during the assessment of the application, including height, scale and massing; design, layout and materials; impact on surrounding amenity; impact on the Listed King’s Hall; access, movement and parking; and drainage.
The Committee was advised that three objections had been received raising concerns regarding the access arrangements into the King’s Hall Site from Balmoral Avenue. The Planning Manager outlined that the site would be accessed from the Lisburn Road, via a new signalised junction, which had been approved under Phase 1 (LA04/2018/0040/F). He advised the Members that consideration of access arrangements to/from Balmoral Avenue had previously been considered in the context of earlier applications for Phase 1, the independent living units and the care home. He explained that no through access was proposed from the Balmoral Avenue access to the new signalised junction on the Lisburn Road, and, therefore, traffic would be segregated.
The Planning Manager advised the Committee that the application was a standalone application in its own right and was not dependent on other development on the wider site.
He pointed out that consultees had no objections to the proposed development. Following re-consultation, after the submission of further information, he explained that a final consultation was pending from DFI Roads, which would include proposed conditions. The Members were advised that DFI Roads had advised in a previous consultation response that it had no objections.
The Planning Manager drew the Committee’s attention to the Late Items pack, whereby the applicant had submitted a rooftop plan. He explained that the plans had been uploaded to the Planning Portal and demonstrated that the elements on the roof of Plot 3 related to lift overruns, which would extend 500mm above roof level, but would sit below the parapet level of the building and would therefore be screened from view.
A Member raised concerns with the 607 parking spaces which were proposed as part of the application, in that it would result in an increase in traffic congestion at an already busy junction, as well as the impact it would have on air pollution. He highlighted that the air pollution in the Stockman’s Lane area of Belfast was already extremely high and he was surprised that the report only seemed to focus on the air pollution as a result of the short term construction works and did not highlight the long term effects that the development would have on air quality.
In response, the Planning Manager advised the Committee that DFI Roads had considered the Transport Assessment for the application in terms of its impact on the wider road network, and that it did not consider there to be any overriding concerns. He also advised the Members that the Environmental Statement had been scrutinised by Environmental Health officers and that they had no technical objections to the application, including impact on air quality, given the number of proposed mitigation measures. He confirmed that the site was in a particularly sustainable location, given its proximity to bus and rail routes, and provided good access to local amenities. He added that the site was outside the Air Quality Management Area.
The Chairperson welcomed Ms. E. Walker and Mr. M. Gordon, agents, and Mr. A. Murray, architect, to the meeting. Ms. Walker advised the Committee that:
· the Transport Assessment which had been submitted with the application assessed the entire development of the King’s Hall site to ensure that the cumulative impact of traffic generation was assessed;
· the traffic generated from the entire site had been included within the modelling for the air quality assessment, which had been subject to scrutiny from Environmental Health;
· a Construction Environmental Management Plan would be provided, including details to be signed off by Environmental Health such as dust management and traffic control during the construction period;
· only the appropriate number of car parking spaces to serve the development were included, in order to keep traffic to a minimum; and
· the Travel Plan included access to sustainable transport and cycle parking, and the site was in a sustainable location.
A number of Members expressed concerns in relation to the impact that the application could have on air quality and pointed out that the site was around 170metres from an Air Quality Management Area. A number of Members queried whether the mitigation measures proposed went far enough.
The Planning Manager advised the Committee of Environmental Health’s response to the application and that there were no grounds to refuse permission because of concerns about air quality. He suggested that the Committee proceeded to determine the application as it stood but might wish to consider holding a separate training session on Air Quality at a future Workshop.
Moved by Councillor Maskey
Seconded by Councillor Groogan and
Resolved - That the Committee agrees:
· to defer consideration of the application to enable a site visit to be undertaken to allow the Committee to acquaint itself with the location and the proposals at first hand;
· that further information be submitted in respect of air quality; and
· that an Environmental Health officer would attend the meeting in respect of the application.