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Agenda and minutes

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Items
No. Item

20/29/DCF

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

Name

Item

Reason

Baigent

 

Member of Cambridge Cycling Campaign and a member of Extinction Rebellion

 

Thornburrow

 

Ward Councillor for Trumpington, attended earlier consultations and spoken to the applicant’s team, but had not done so in relation to the latest planning application. Had also been a patron of the venue in the past, but remained unfettered.

 

Page-Croft

 

Family members were regular patrons of the venue and had played paid gigs. However, remains unfettered with regard to this application

Had been sent a book related to the history of The Flying Pig by an individual involved with the business.

Smart

 

Had been sent a book related to the history of The Flying Pig by an individual involved with the business.

Porrer

 

Had been sent a book related to the history of The Flying Pig by an individual involved with the business.

Green

 

Had been sent a book related to the history of The Flying Pig by an individual involved with the business.

 

20/30/DCF

Application and Petition Details (20/03429/FUL / 104 - 112 Hills Rd Cambridge)

Application No:  20/03429/FUL

Site Address:    104 - 112 Hills Road Cambridge Cambridgeshire

Description:  1) The demolition of Betjeman House, Broadcasting House, Ortona House, Francis House, and the rear multi-storey carpark to Francis House, together with existing refuse and cycle stores; to allow for construction of two new commercial buildings of five and seven storeys respectively, providing flexible B1(a), B1(b), A1, A2, A3 uses on the ground floor and Class B1(a) and B1(b) on the upper floors.

2) The construction of basement with mezzanine level to provide for building services, cycle parking and car parking for the proposed commercial buildings, cycle and car parking spaces for Botanic House and services for Flying Pig Public House.

3) The refurbishment of the Flying Pig Public House at 106 Hills Road, including demolition of part single/part two storey outrigger and single storey store, alterations to elevations, construction of extension to enable level access and layout pub garden.

4) Creation of new public realm and landscaping, incorporating segregated vehicular and cycle access from Hills Road, a new access to service areas and substations, and taxi drop off for both the development proposed and existing Botanic House.

Applicant:  Not available

Agent:  Jonathan Bainbridge, Bidwells

Address:  25 Old Burlington Street London W1S 3AN

Lead Petitioner:  Cambridge City resident

Case Officer:    Phil Mcintosh

 

Text of Petition:    

This is a petition to request Cambridge City Council hold a Development Control Forum in respect of planning application 20/03429/FUL

 

Site address: 104 – 112 Hills Rd Cambridge

 

on the grounds that:

[according to ‘Probity in Planning for councillors and officers’, published by the Local Government Association and The Planning Advisory Service, it ought to be advertised as a ‘Departure’ application, because:]

 

The application is not in accordance with the following Local Plan Policies:

 

Local Plan Policy 14 - Areas of Major Change, states; ‘development shall only be permitted: where the development is based on clearly articulated and justified objectives and approach through the provision of a site-wide masterplan’. and: ’3.28 Substantial development will not be permitted in advance of the preparation and approval of a site-wide masterplan, strategies and/or other over-arching documents as required by the scale and nature of development’. Masterplanning has not been carried out in accordance with the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012);

 

Policy 21 states: ‘Station Area West 2 will be subject to masterplanning and detailed transport assessment before any new planning applications come forward.’ Masterplanning has not been carried out in accordance with the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012);

 

Policy 55 - Responding to context; The proposal ignores the prevailing character of the area in terms of both scale, mass and architectural detail;

 

Policy 58 - Altering and extending existing buildings; The proposed alterations to the Flying Pig do not respect the character of the existing building, and will seriously undermine the viability of the pub as a business;

 

Policy 61 - Conservation and enhancement of Cambridge's historic environment; The Flying Pig is completely dominated by this over-bearing  ...  view the full agenda text for item 20/30/DCF

Minutes:

Description:

1.  The demolition of Betjeman House, Broadcasting House, Ortona House, Francis House, and the rear multi-storey carpark to Francis House, together with existing refuse and cycle stores; to allow for construction of two new commercial buildings of five and seven storeys respectively, providing flexible B1(a), B1(b), A1, A2, A3 uses on the ground floor and Class B1(a) and B1(b) on the upper floors.

2.  The construction of basement with mezzanine level to provide for building services, cycle parking and car parking for the proposed commercial buildings, cycle and car parking spaces for Botanic House and services for Flying Pig Public House.

3.  The refurbishment of the Flying Pig Public House at 106 Hills Road, including demolition of part single/part two storey outrigger and single storey store, alterations to elevations, construction of extension to enable level access and layout pub garden.

4.  Creation of new public realm and landscaping, incorporating segregated vehicular and cycle access ii from Hills Road, a new access to service areas and substations, and taxi drop off for both the development proposed and existing Botanic House.

 

Applicant:  Pace Investments (Johnny Vincent)

Agent:  Jonathan Bainbridge, Bidwells Address: 25 Old Burlington Street London W1S 3AN

Lead Petitioner: Cambridge City resident

Case Officer: Phil Mcintosh

 

The grounds for asking for a Forum on this application were as follows:

 

Text of Petition: This is a petition to request Cambridge City Council hold a Development Control Forum in respect of planning application 20/03429/FUL Site address: 104 – 112 Hills Rd Cambridge on the grounds that: [according to ‘Probity in Planning for Councillors and Officers’, published by the Local Government Association and The Planning Advisory Service, it ought to be advertised as a ‘Departure’ application, because:]

 

The application is not in accordance with the following Local Plan (LP) Policies:

 

Local Plan Policy 14 - Areas of Major Change, states; ‘development shall only be permitted: where the development is based on clearly articulated and justified objectives and approach through the provision of a site-wide masterplan’. and: ’3.28 Substantial development will not be permitted in advance of the preparation and approval of a site-wide masterplan, strategies and/or other overarching documents as required by the scale and nature of development’. Masterplanning has not been carried out in accordance with the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012);

 

 Policy 21 states: ‘Station Area West 2 will be subject to masterplanning and detailed transport assessment before any new planning applications come forward.’ Masterplanning has not been carried out in accordance with the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012);

 

Policy 55 - Responding to context; The proposal ignores the prevailing character of the area in terms of both scale, mass and architectural iii detail;

 

Policy 58 - Altering and extending existing buildings; The proposed alterations to the Flying Pig do not respect the character of the existing building, and will seriously undermine the viability of the pub as a business;

 

Policy 61 - Conservation and enhancement of Cambridge's historic environment; The Flying Pig is completely dominated by this overbearing proposal and its significance lost by the poor juxtaposition of the new buildings; The University Botanic Garden is overlooked and overshadowed, negatively impacting the skyline as viewed from within the Garden, and the sense of privacy and intimacy currently enjoyed from within the garden.

 

Policy 62 - Local Heritage Assets; The history of this site not adequately understood: There is considerable new information regarding the history of both the Public House and the wider site, and it’s relevance to the development of the city physically, politically, historically and economically, that has yet to be disseminated.

 

Policy 76 - Protection of Public Houses; The economic benefits have not, and cannot be predicted in the current Covid climate, as acknowledged by the authors of the ‘Economic Benefits Statement’ submitted in support of this application. No justification for the development has therefore been provided; It has not been demonstrated that the viability of the pub will not be adversely affected; The associated development does not preserve or enhance the character and appearance of the Conservation Area in which it sits; The proposals will result in the garden area (both existing and proposed) being overshadowed during trading hours and thus deprived of sunlight, to the detriment of the flora and patrons. Sunlight is an important factor in its attractiveness to customers, particularly during the most lucrative summer months.

 

 and furthermore, we are also concerned:

 

That application 20/03429/FUL and supporting documents contain a number of potentially inaccurate statements and premises, on which comments by statutory consultees, and nonstatutory consultees have been made;

 

That a number of alternative schemes have been illustrated in the ‘Design and Access Statement’ (Both sets!), but not shown to the local iv community at any public consultation for comment or discussion prior to submission and validation of the application;

 

That the cumulative impacts of some of the other developments that will occur in the vicinity, for example as the CB1 development progresses, have not been adequately assessed or quantified in the EIA process;

 

That insufficient information has been provided regarding the construction methods proposed to form a view of either the long term danger to the structure of the Flying Pig Public House caused by the proximity of proposed excavation, piling and subsequent building works, or of the danger of sudden collapse during construction works, and that if that were to occur, substantial harm would be done to the character and appearance of the New Town and Glisson Rd Conservation Area, which the Local Authority has a duty to preserve or enhance under the Planning (Listed buildings and Conservation Areas) Act;

 

That insufficient evidence has been provided ‘...on how the basement [of the new offices] will be protected from groundwater flooding. Further information on the waterproofing strategy is required at this stage to allow us to assess the groundwater flood risk to the proposed development in more detail. The applicant must also demonstrate that the basement will not increase groundwater flood risk in adjacent areas as a result of groundwater displacement.’ The Flying Pig beer cellar will be extremely vulnerable to such floodwater displacement, unless tanked. That either means lining the interior of the existing cellar… to what thickness? Will barrel access be impeded? Or, will external tanking be required, meaning excavating around the cellar exterior, at huge risk to the integrity of the existing (remaining) structure.

 

That the specified opening hours of the Flying Pig (1500 – 2300hrs Mon – fri, 0700 – 2300hrs Sat-Sun) are hours adopted in response to the Coronavirus crisis, not the hours kept pre-Covid, and which will have a serious impact on the viability of the business when this crisis passes. No opening hours are specified for either offices or other F & B’s;

 

That the condition proposed to be attached to any permission by Environmental Health, that amplified music and vocal performance in external areas be prohibited between the hours of 1900 – 2300 daily, will have a huge impact on the viability of the pub, as it has proven to v be a popular and essential adaptation to the current crisis.

 

There’s no such specification of the same for other F & B’s, and also that the proposal that the first floor windows be upgraded to provide better acoustic transmission properties, to protect future occupants from traffic noise will alter the character of the facade, and thus the character and appearance of the Conservation Area;

 

That the justifications for denying the Cambridge community its otherwise rightful, meaningful and accountable say in the work up of proposals for the site (masterplanning) require verification (one of them is demonstrably untrue and misleading); That the description of the proposal (06/0552/FUL, ‘the extant permission’, which is relied upon as a justification for not masterplanning the site, and which lends credibility to this application, despite it being a completely different scheme) misleadingly states: ‘including retention of ‘Flying Pig’ Public House’. Which means the publicity notices advertising that application were ‘recklessly misleading in a material particular’(in our opinion), which is an offence under Section 65 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990;

The above list of planning concerns is by no means exhaustive.

 

This is not an outright in-principle objection.

 

Your encouragement ‘to say in the petition what changes might be made to the development to overcome’ our concerns, is noted, as are the statements on the Petitions and Development Control Forum Petition page https://www.cambridge.gov.uk/petitions-anddevelopment-control-forum that: ‘You will be expected to explain what changes you are seeking at the development control forum itself.’ and that: ‘The aim of the forum is to allow early discussion of the planning issues raised by petitioners and to explore the scope for building consensus and resolving concerns. It is an informal meeting and the forum does not determine the application.’

 

Specific examples of changes which might be made to overcome our concerns include, but are not limited to (and these are the views of us all):

1.  That the bulk of the buildings should be kept below the tree line when viewed from within the Botanic Garden, which suggests a maximum height of three commercial storeys at the southern end of the site, rising to perhaps four/five storeys at the northern end. The proposed heights should therefore be reduced by at least one / two storeys along its western edge.

 

2.  That the heights to the Hills Rd frontage should be restricted to four storeys so that the buildings fit the context. Apart from Botanic House, the prevailing height for office buildings along the west side of Hills Rd is no more than four storeys. Botanic House is an exception because it marks an important junction between Hills Rd and Station Rd. If built as proposed Botanic House would lose its landmark status.

 

3.  That a condition be attached to any proposed grant of permission to the effect that: Any accidental damage that might befall the Flying Pig during construction works that is not envisaged or permitted by any planning permission be re-instated in facsimile [as in the case of The Carlton Tavern, Kilburn] before any further work on site proceeds, or to a schedule agreed by the council before re-commencement of development on the site, and in any case before commission of any new buildings.

 

4.  That Flying Pig trading hours be set at the discretion of the tenants, within the terms of its license and national licensing regulations. The same to apply to the other food and beverage units.

 

5.  That any proposed restrictions on usage of external areas be applied equally to all food and beverage units on the site.

 

6.  That development should aim to be car-free, except for essential disabled parking and access for service (including tenants and musicians) vehicles.

 

7.  That the office building behind the Flying Pig be pulled back such that the existing (Flying Pig) buildings need not be developed in any way, and such that the pub can continue to trade. The developer has said this can be done. The community has been asking for this loudly and clearly for 15 years. There are schemes in the Design and Access Statement illustrating such a scenario. The publicly accessible ground floor of the proposed new buildings will incorporate disabled access toilets. The statement of economic benefits is, according to its authors, out of date, so no justification for any work to the Flying Pig has been offered in this application.

 

Case by the Applicant / Agent:

Johnny Vincent (Managing Director of Pace investments) said the following points:

  i.  The scheme had been principally driven by an aspiration over sustainability, wellbeing, public realm, the campaign to save The Flying Pig and to preserve and protect the tranquillity of the Botanic Garden.

  ii.  The scheme provided a campus for people and would allow innovation, education, provide a space for future learning and leadership.

 

Simon Allford (AHMM Architects) made the following points:

  i.  The Flying Pig was the centrepiece of the development with the Botanic Garden and two new buildings creating the masterplan for the site.

  ii.  The current site consisted of surface carpark, minimal planting and two ‘dilapidated’ buildings and a car park. 

  iii.  The driving mantra of the project was “A building fit for the future, long term, loose fit, low energy.”

  iv.  It had been established the site had been a place of work within the City for over 100 years.

  v.  Botanic House, developed by the client, had informed the developer’s thinking in consultation with statutory and non-statutory bodies, several of whom had provided positive feedback.

  vi.  The Flying Pig would be a focus of Hills Road with a new garden extended along Hills Road, surrounded by but separate from extensive public realm. Buildings B & C would carefully define the potential of the site; used for work purposes and would be in the ‘slipstream’ of Botanic House.

 vii.  Looking south down Hills Road the importance of Botanic House would clearly be seen and used as marker in the centre of the development.

viii.  The blank rear wall of Botanic House would be offset by buildings C & D with the church spire remaining as the focus. Roof gardens would be available for leisure activity such as the use of exercise tracks.  The roof would also have green and seasonal planting.

  ix.  The aim of the site was to provide a new public realm including opening the views of the Botanic Gardens which would bring in the public to the site.

  x.  Inside the buildings the target was to provide adaptable volume, long life, low energy and low carbon with personality and character, and natural ventilation hybrid system.

  xi.  Plans listed as Outstanding/Platinum under BREEAM2018, WELL and WiredScore ratings, with Water Consumption and Energy Use both significantly less than average office buildings. 

 xii.  The development included less car parking, increased cycle parking, public realm, and green space than the existing levels or the levels stated in a previously consented application.  It would be the first offices in Cambridge to meet such high standards.

xiii.  The following feedback had been received:

·  Historic England: “The current scheme in its revised form would significantly enhance the setting of the pub… we support the applicant’s aim for the scheme to be BREEAM Outstanding”.

·  Cambridge Past, Present & Future: “A significant improvement on the 2007 permission and likely to be the best scheme proposed for this site.”

·  Cambridge Disability Panel:“...among the most impressive proposals brought before the Panel in recent years... to be applauded, as are the much needed improvements proposed for the Flying Pig PH and to its surrounding public realm.”

·  Camcycle: “Trying to more than meet LP requirements with regard to cycle parking and access design and layout”

xiv.  The percentage of onsite parking suitable for electric vehicles would increase each year until fully compliant.

xv.  The development included buildings which were two floors less high than the previous scheme which had consent.

xvi.  Through a number of ‘verified’ views, it was possible to show the increase in visible sky and the decrease in visible buildings both in winter and summer months, with trees more able to completely shield the new planned development.

xvii.  Agreeable with any appropriate conditions to protect against accidental damage caused to the Flying Pig during construction; ensuring it would be able to trade in a similar manner to other venues on the same site.

xviii.  Proposed revisions included matching the existing trading area, garden area, an increased size of landlord accommodation and improved storage and kitchen areas.

 

Case by the Petitioner:

  i.  The plans displayed by the applicant showed a seven-storey building plus setback, but the street view drawings shown during a previous presentation showed a six-storey building.  Sought clarification which was correct.

  ii.  Aside from the extant planning permission, a previous application 05/0487 had been refused in 2005.  The façade along Hills Road for that refused application were identical to the extant permission, with the only difference being the addition of the phrase ‘including retention of the Flying Pig Public House’, despite the fact plans submitted did not include the Flying Pig. 

  iii.  Concerned of the legitimacy of the extant permission, and that it had been properly consulted upon.

  iv.  LP policy 21 required the site should have been master-planned before any application came forward.  Had requested clarification from Officers multiple times during the last year but had not received a response. There were no records the public had been consulted for this to take place. 

  v.  There was no masterplan on the Council’s website.  Reasons for this had included the progress of the station area meaning it was not necessary, despite the fact this site was not part of the CB1 development, and that the land is in single ownership.

  vi.  The redacted application form stated that ‘one of the owners was resident at shire hall’ and asked which parts of the site were owned by Cambridgeshire County Council.

 vii.  The extant permission was also noted as a reason why a masterplan was not required. However, believed this could not proceed without Conservation Area Consent, which would be a separate planning application, and to which the 2018 LP would apply.

viii.  Alleged councillors did not have to choose between this permission or the extant permission, that if this application were not granted permission, the developer would instead carry out construction as granted in the extant permission is incorrect. 

  ix.  Questioned if the existing permission was valid why construction had not taken place already.

  x.  Believed there would be approximately 1700 new employees working on site and had not seen confirmation how public transport providers would manage capacity to accommodate this increase, or how road networks would manage a rise in cycle traffic.

  xi.  Air quality issues were likely to affect the periphery of the city more than the application site, away from the location of air quality monitoring systems. 

 xii.  Current Park & Ride sites were already often at capacity and this would lead to employees attempting to park in other areas.

xiii.  Was aware that other Park & Ride sites had been proposed but concerned these would not be of suitable capacity for offices at this site, or others currently planned in the city.

xiv.  The impact of COVID on the demand for office space could not yet be assessed, with workers finding that working from home is a better option

xv.  A significant proportion of the area set aside for landlord accommodation in the Flying Pig included attic space under the eaves, which did not believe was justifiable as habitable space.

xvi.  Considered that residents of Cambridge did not want the public house touched, and that the applicant had not put any case forward which demonstrated a need for the pub to be touched

 

Case Officer’s Comments:

The Officer’s assessment of the application was currently under review and therefore provided a broad summary of the representations made regarding the proposals and of the key consultee responses. 

  i.  There had been approximately two hundred representations received from the public with the majority in objection.

  ii.  An online petition had been set up in 2012 entitled to ‘Refuse Conservation Area consent to demolish the Flying Pig Public House’ which had around 14,500 signatures. Although it was not clear how many signatures are related to the current application.

  iii.  Over 2,800 comments had been made on this petition, nine of which had been made since the current application had been submitted.

  iv.  The key themes of objection around the application were as follows:

  i.  Extent of alterations to the Flying Pig would impact on its viability as well as alterations to its charter as a local community facility which supported the arts and music.

  ii.  Additional office space was not required in the city.

  iii.  Omission of housing (extant planning permission) was not in accordance with development plan; there was a demand for good quality affordable housing in the city.

  iv.  The scale of the development and the impact on the character and appearance of the area including heritage assets such as the conservation area, Botanical Garden, and war memorial.

  v.  Impact on the amenity on the public house, residents opposite and the botanical gardens in terms of over shadowing.

  vi.  Additional traffic congestion in the surrounding area and the impact on safe moving of pedestrians and cyclists.

  vii.  Impact on wind marshal climate in a location as there was already a wind tunnel effect caused by Botanic House.

  viii.  Two local ward councillors had objected to the application:

·  Councillor McGerty objected on the grounds the proposal conflicts with LP policy 76 relating to the protection of public houses.

·  Councillor Robertson objected to the office space proposed and there were no plans for housing as originally sought.

  ix.  Those in support of the application stated the following:

·  The proposal would remove obsolete office buildings.

·  The application provided a catalyst for innovation.

·  A level of investment should be welcomed post COVID 19 economic recovery.

·  Setting the standard for exemplar sustainable development.

  x.  Consultees stated the following:

·  Historic England: Aware that the two blocks would be clearly visible all year round in views within the eastern section of the Botanic Garden.

·  The scheme would undoubtedly have an impact on the street scene along Hills Road, particularly southwards towards the Alms houses at the junction of Hills Road and Brooklands Avenue, in comparison of the two storey terrace buildings opposite.

·  Welcomed the retention of the Fly Pig and noted the current scheme in its revised form would significantly enhance the setting of the pub in comparison to the initial proposals.

·  Considered the proposals a moderate level of harm to the significance of the Botanic Garden and the Glisson Road conservation area; the harm would be less than substantial.

·  Had no objection on heritage grounds to the application.

·  Conservation Officer: Apart from the Flying Pig public house the buildings were of no historic interest; those building being demolished did not contribute positively to the conservation area. The Conservation Appraisal Area Town Scape Analysis Map indicated these buildings as buildings which detract.

·  There was an opportunity for the area to be enhanced particularly the conservation area street scape. This would not have occurred with the previous proposals due to the building’s height and other design aspects, with the main impact on the Botanic Garden, the appearance of the conservation area and the integrity of the Flying Pig.

·  The current proposals had significantly reduced the degree of harm to the character and appearance of the conservation area and Botanic Garden if the scheme was implemented to less than substantial harm.

·  Would recommend conditions regarding materials and structural integrity of the Flying Pig.

·  Urban Design Officer: Comments during the pre-application design process had resulted in substantial reduction in scale and massing, integration of the Flying Pig, changes to materials and detailed design of the buildings.

·  In urban design terms the scheme had been well considered and was an improvement of the extant consented scheme.

·  Landscape Officer: With regards to the landscape and townscape visual impact assessment the proposed development had been through an extensive pre application process which resulted in multiple design adjustments because of feedback received.

·  The landscape team have had extensive discussion regarding the content and viewpoint selections of the LVIA (Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment); considered the quality of the LVIA to be high and the conclusions fair and correct.

·  Whilst the scheme cannot be hidden by vegetation the verified views show the buildings will be screened in part by trees and vegetation in the summer months.

·  Materials do not create stark differences but was warm in tone.

·  Considered the buildings had struck the right balance between harm and positive contribution to the street and the city which is acceptable.

·  Satisfied with the distribution of garden spaces, both public and private in and around the buildings. However, there were points which required resolution and regarding the planting pits of street trees, the impact on the basement and drainage.

·  Shadow studies provided during pre-application should be updated and submitted to represent the current proposal.

·  Tree Officer: There were no trees of value on the site at present.

·  There was a limited number of trees proposed for the scale of the site.

·  Concerns raised regarding root volume; given the lack of break out route systems.

·  The agricultural impact assessment showed branches and roots that have grown into the site to be removed to make way for construction. 

 

Case by Ward Councillor:

Councillor Robertson spoke as a Ward Councillor and made the following points:

  i.  Virtual meet with the developers a few weeks before this meeting to express concern the consent for housing on site had been ignored.

  ii.  Important to recognise that some of the site had been added to the original consent.

  iii.  Acknowledged it was a site that required development.

  iv.  The approved 2007 application did not include Francis House or the building in front of it, but the remainder of the site and the car park included, although a smaller site this application included 156 housing units.

  v.  In 2008, a variation was allowed, so the first phase could be constructed (Botanic House), but the rest of site had been left.

  vi.  The LP identified the site for employment, residential and retail.

 vii.  Believed that housing was an important part of the consent (although expired) on the site.

viii.  Would like to see the Francis House area of the site to have housing on as this part of the city was already heavily developed with offices; there was too many offices proposed to be built on site and the dominance of offices was overwhelming.

  ix.  The impact of the COVID virus on home working should be recognised; it was possible that there would be empty offices waiting to be filled. 

  x.  Agreed with the petitioner that there should be some retention to the Flying Pig.

  xi.  Had hoped the developers would recognise the commitment to providing housing was valued and should be an important part of the development.

 xii.  The proposal was for 1700 people to work on the site and questioned where these people would live and they travel to the site; the transport assessment had yet to be completed and no travel plan had been created. 

xiii.  Requested the Planning Officer investigated the need for housing and the need for offices; would like to see the outcome of the research and the travel assessment before consideration by the planning committee.

xiv.  The Tree Officer’s concern should be considered.

xv.  The developers had highlighted the importance of sustainability but questioned if this were a net zero site so this needed to be improved; if there was housing on site this would be a requirement.

 

Members’ Questions and Comments:

 

In response to Members questions and comments the Planning Officer said the following:

  i.  The proposal did not include affordable housing; the extant permission had included 156 residential units of which 62 were to be affordable housing units.

  ii.  The scheme was now for office-based development, office campus and retention of the Flying Pig as presented; the proposal would be assessed on this plan. However, the applicant had to justify the lack of provision of residential in the scheme.

  iii.  With regards to the extant planning permission, phase 1 was Botanic House and phase 2 the 156 residential units, including the Flying Pig as part of this phase. The consent was extant and could be implemented at any time.

  iv.  The site was not part of the conservation area when permission was granted; this came after in 2012.

  v.  The proposal retained the front element of the bar and sitting area of the Flying Pig, removed the rear section of the building, extending further back to provide additional services, including accessible toilet and services in the basement.

  vi.  The Conservation Officer was satisfied with the proposal regarding the Flying Pig; not withstanding  that there would be some level of harm to the building but would be less than substantial harm measured against the National Planning Policy Framework for Heritage Assets.

 

The Assistant Director said the following:

  i.  As part of the work on the new LP there would be a “lesson learnt review” on the station area development and the surrounding area.

  ii.  Reminded the Forum that the 2018 LP had taken a long time to be adopted; therefore, some of the policies had been carried forward several years without analysis. 

 

In response to Members’ questions the agent said the following

  i.  A draft framework travel plan had been submitted as part of the application which would be discharged through conditions once occupiers were known.

  ii.  Had engaged with both the County Council (highways authority) and the City Council to clarify the intent to manage future travel plan(s).

  iii.  A travel plan training budget would be available for future tenants with a central co-ordinator (if there were multiple occupants) to manage the travel plan(s) across the site.

  iv.  The highways authority in principle had agreed with the transport assessment; mitigation included improvements to the cycle network along Hills Road, relocation of bus stops and the creation of a new toucan crossing. Discussions were still taking place regarding wider improvements.

  v.  With regards to the LVIA, had worked closely with the Urban Design and Landscape Officer to agree where the most sensitive views would be in respect of the scheme. Then began the process of surveying and using GPS coordinates to obtain a verified view.

  vi.  Had undertaken extensive engagement with Cambridge University and the Botanic Garden who agreed the conclusions of the LVIA were robust and a much more appropriate scheme was being brought forward.

  vii.  At the point extant permission was granted the applicant did not own the entire site. Further land had since been obtained allowing a master plan to be brought forward for the full site.

  viii.  The Botanic Gardens had stated the impact of a residential scheme would have a greater effect to their site than the scheme proposed.

  ix.  Potential conflict on the residential amenity and that of the Flying Pig (well known for its support of the Cambridge music scene).

  x.  Recognised the impact that COVID-19 had on the workplace with homeworking. It had also shown how important human interaction was with a loss of productivity and creativity. It was important for individuals to return to the workplace when safe to do so.

  xi.  The height of the tallest building was ground plus six-storey and was setback on the tallest element.

  xii.  Could not answer how many individuals who worked at Botanic House cycled to work; would clarify post meeting.

  xiii.  The building in its current form would not suit residential living; designed as a 21st century office for a multi-let beehive of activity.

  xiv.  The design was high up on the urban greening factor. There was greening of the ground floor with extensive planting with potential of greening of the first-floor canopy. Could review whether a biophilic planters’ edge in the space between buildings A&B was possible as a minor amendment. The greening and planting of the roof top would be a benefit to the insect community.

  xv.  Working to encourage sustainable access, taking advantage of being close to the station, with 1300 cycle spaces within the basement for occupants, significantly reducing the level of car parking each year.

  xvi.  Working to mitigate the impact on the junction of Station Road and Hills Road by improving the access down Hills Road; moving the junction into the site which was currently south of Botanic House. Providing a new Toucan Crossing opposite the southern building away from the junction.

 

Summing up by the Agent

  i.  Noted within the planning statement the primary purpose of the planning system was to contribute to the achievement of sustainable development, which it was hoped had been demonstrated throughout the application.

  ii.  There were many aspects to sustainability and the National Planning Policy Framework directed planners to consider the social, economic, and environmental objectives. The development would be the first in Cambridge to exceed the policy and achieve BREEAM Outstanding.

  iii.  To achieve BREEAM Outstanding the application must score 85% or above against the BRE criteria; the application scored 92% of all possible credits and would be operationally zero carbon. This was a direct response to the city councils’ declaration of climate emergency and put the application in the top 1% of all buildings in the United Kingdom.

  iv.  The current LP outlined the development and vision for 22,100 jobs and 12 hectares of new employment land.

  v.  Since the extant planning permission was granted fourteen years ago and ten years since the delivery of Botanic House, the remaining land had been obtained. This had allowed the application to respond to policy requirement to provide a masterplan for the site which protects and builds upon the existing employment.

  vi.  LP Policy 2 sets out the spatial strategy for the location of the employment development, supporting the economy with a wide range of employment opportunities and the focus on growth within urban areas, areas of major change, opportunity areas and areas in the city centre.

 vii.  The site has been in employment use for the last century and was recognised as one of the most sustainable locations across the city. The site was in an opportunity area and designated within two areas of major change.

viii.  There was not a better location to contribute to the 22,100 jobs stated in the LP.

  ix.  There was less than 3-month supply of office space within central area of Cambridge.

  x.  Recognised a need for homes for workers to live in. LP Policy 3 o sets out the spatial strategy of the location of new homes, with 14,000 new homes to be delivered over the Plan period.

  xi.  The shared planning service (Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council) published housing trajectory on 1 April 2020 which stated the two planning authorities could demonstrate that they could meet their individual housing requirements between 2011 and 2031.

 xii.  Important to focus on the benefits the application could bring with all the external consultees agreeing this commercial scheme was a better scheme for this site.

xiii.  After engaging with the local community understood the Flying Pig was an asset which should be preserved and have responded to this. The building and community of the Flying Pig will be maintained which will become accessible and inclusive to all which will remain for the next 100 years.

xiv.  The application proposed a highly sustainable development which responded to the vision of the council for economic growth and prosperity.  A scheme which had been master planned to deliver a workplace site and would safeguard key community assets, improve the public realm on a key route into the city.

 

Summing up by the Petitioner

  i.  There was no masterplan for this site as required by LP Policy 21 with no reference to such a plan in any of the supporting documents to this application.

  ii.  If a masterplan existed much of the topics for discussion raised at the meeting would have been addressed in the master plan process. Such a process would normally be conducted by the relevant planning authority and not the applicant.

  iii.  There should be on the council’s website a record of the consultation responses; usually the council would arrange workshops to discuss several issues. Discussions could have taken place much earlier.

  iv.  Questioned if the extant permission was proceedable and believed that conservation area consent was required for demolishing the Flying Pig.

  v.  LP Policy 76 required justification in terms of development. The proposal would not sustain the Flying Pig economically once the development was complete, the capacity would not be as it was now in terms of accommodating customers.

  vi.  Security to the site had not been considered with a small hedge running along the garden area which would not stop access.

 vii.  Ignored the public concerns of the viability of the Flying Pig.

viii.  There had been no indication of what would happen while the Flying Pig was shut, if it were to be shut.

  ix.  Stated that theDirector of Stone Realestate had said in 2019 of the Flying Pig “ if we design a scheme that wraps around it which could be done the pub would have to shut during the development, if it closes for 2-3 years we think it won’t survive.”

  x.  LP policy 76 stated it must be demonstrated that the viability of the public house will not be affected.  If the Flying Pig were shut for a prolonged period it would be affected. The application should be refused on this ground alone.

  xi.  Suggested the proposed buildings could be pulled back behind the Flying Pig.

 xii.  There had been no indication there would be sufficient provision of different modes of transport to accommodate the additional 1700 people arriving on site.

xiii.  There would also be an increase in people arriving in the city, not just to this site. By 2031 there would be an additional 14000 people working at the biomedical campus at the Addenbrookes site; plus, the additional number of individuals working in the new offices built along Station Road.

xiv.  Would ask the application to be refused unless the public house was left untouched.

 

Summing up by the Ward Councillor.

  i.  There were some questions which had remained unanswered and needed to be addressed.

  ii.  Reiterated the concern at the lack of housing on site, mainly affordable housing.

  iii.  If the offices were to be built and then found there was no requirements, they could be converted to housing but there would be no affordable housing provided as a result. Build what was known to be needed.

  iv.  Residents moving next to or close to a public house usually were aware of what they were moving to.

  v.  The applicants concern of creating jobs in the area needed to be widened to recognise that housing was as important.

  vi.  Challenged the statement of three-month supply in the city.

 vii.  Although the buildings were not as high as first proposed they were still higher than Botanic House and were too dominant to the area.

viii.  This was a better scheme than the one before; but the one before had been of an appalling standard.

 

Final Comments of the Chair 

  i.  Summarised the main issues discussed.

  ii.  Suggested a meeting between the case officer, the applicant and petitioner to discuss some of the issues raised.

  iii.  Would encourage the applicant to keep in touch with the petitioner throughout the process particularly if there were any amendments to the scheme.

  iv.  Suggested the Planning Officer hold discussions with community representatives on issue that had been raised.

  v.  Minutes of the Development Control Forum would be made available to the relevant parties and published on the city council website.

  vi.  A copy of the minutes would be attached to the Planning Officer’s report when the application would be considered at a future Planning Committee.