The Planning Manager provided the Committee with an update on the application which had previously been considered at its meeting on 14th February, 2023, when the Committee had resolved to refuse planning permission with the detailed wording for the reasons for refusal to be set out by officers at the subsequent meeting of the Committee.
He outlined the following draft reasons for refusal to the Committee:
· Prejudice delivery of housing on adjacent car park site;
· Prejudice delivery of open space to support new housing in the area;
· Inappropriate scale, height and massing;
· Inadequate open space and amenity space; and
· Impact on setting of Listed Frames Building.
He referred to the consultation response which had been received from DfC Historic Environment Division which indicated that it was content with the proposal, as presented, subject to conditions.
Moved by Councillor Groogan,
Seconded by Councillor Murphy,
That the Committee agrees the undernoted reasons for refusal for the application which had been refused as its meeting on 14th February, 2023 and delegate authority to the Director of Planning and Building Control to finalise the wording of the refusal reasons:
1. The key objectives of the Inner North West Masterplan include the delivery of a variety of accommodation or tenures to support population growth and city centre living. The proposal, by reason of its excessive scale, height and massing, would prejudice the delivery of mixed-tenure housing on the adjacent existing car park site on Stephen Street and Little Donegall Street to the immediate north-west, which forms part of the Inner North West Masterplan area and is zoned for social housing in the draft Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan 2015 (v2014), through over-dominance, shadowing, impact on light, and inter-overlooking. The proposal is therefore contrary to the Inner North West Masterplan, in Page 201 Agenda Item 8a conflict with zoning CC 04/03 of draft Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan (v2014), paragraph 6.136 of the Strategic Planning Policy Statement and Policy QD1 of Planning Policy Statement 7: Quality Residential Environments;
2. The key objectives of the Inner North West Masterplan include the delivery of a variety of accommodation or tenures to support population growth and city centre living. There is extant permission for Purpose Built Managed Student Accommodation on the adjacent land to the north and south. Moreover, the existing car park site on Stephen Street and Little Donegall Street to the immediate north-west is zoned for social housing in the draft Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan 2015 (v2014) (zoning CC 04/03). The Inner North West Masterplan recognises that it is important that there is provision of well-designed public space and new open space which complete the network of public spaces to support new housing. The Inner North West Masterplan illustrative masterplan identifies the site for the location of new public space (“Union Square”). Whilst the proposal includes open space, it is private, and the proposal would prejudice the provision of much needed public open space to support new housing in the area. The proposal is therefore contrary to the Inner North West Masterplan, and paragraph 6.137 and 6.201 of the Strategic Planning Policy Statement;
3. The Union Street/Library Street area of the Inner North West Masterplan has a tighter grain characterised by historic buildings, terraced houses and industrial buildings. The proposal, by reason of its excessive scale, height and massing, would fail to respond to the existing urban context on Little Donegall Street and Carrick Hill, nor contribute positively to the cityscape and the legibility of the masterplan area. The proposal would therefore have an adverse impact on the character and appearance of the area, contrary to paragraphs 6.136 and 6.137 of the Strategic Planning Policy Statement and Policy QD1 of Planning Policy Statement 7: Quality Residential Environment; and
4. The proposed development would provide 1,300 sqm of outdoor private amenity space (an average of only 1.6 sqm per student bed space), substantially less than the guidance contained in Creating Places of a minimum of 10 sqm to 30 sqm. Moreover, the proposal fails to provide public open space with the development with none of the exceptions criteria set out in Planning Policy Statement 8 having been satisfied. The proposal would provide a substandard level of private communal amenity space and public open space and would therefore create a deficient living environment for residents, contrary to the principles of good place making. The proposal is contrary to paragraph 5.20 of Creating Places, paragraphs 6.137 and 6.201 of the Strategic Planning Policy Statement, Policy OS 2 of Planning Policy Statement 8: Open Space, Sport and Outdoor Recreation, and Policy QD1 of Planning Policy Statement 7: Quality Residential Environments.
On a vote, seven Members voted for the proposal, two against and five no votes, and the proposal was declared carried.