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Agenda item

21/00772/OUT - Fulbourn (Technology Park, Fulbourn Road Cambridge)

Minutes:

The Committee received an application for full planning permission.

 

The application sought approval for a hybrid planning application for a total of 56,473sqm of commercial floorspace for Use Classes E(g) i (offices), ii (research and development), ii (light industrial) and B8 (storage and distribution - limited to data centres) uses. Comprising a) an Outline Application with all matters reserved (except for access) for the development of up to 44,671 sqm of floorspace, with associated access, structural landscaping, car and cycle parking and associated infrastructure works; b) a Full Application for the first Phase comprising the main access, one commercial building, a multi-decked car and cycle park and associated landscaping and infrastructure works; and c) a Full Application for the details of initial enabling works comprising site wide earth works and drainage.

 

The Interim Team Leader updated her report by referring to:

  i.  There were a number of conditions in the e-report published on-line that were omitted from the printed report. Conditions 61, 64, 65, 67 and 68 were read to Committee to ensure Councillors were aware of the details.

  ii.  2 late representations, 1 in support and 1 in objection to the application.

  iii.  Updated condition wording on the amendment sheet.

 

The Committee received a representation in objection to the application from a representative of Fulbourn Forum for Community Action:

  i.  Spoke on his behalf and a resident of Coltsfoot Close.

  ii.  The existing technology park was formed from 2 storey buildings dug into the landscape.

  iii.  The new application was located on rising ground - 13.5m high with flues, so approximately 6-7 storeys in height.

  iv.  Expressed concern about the impact of the application on the green belt.

  v.  Referred to Design Enabling Panel comments, which suggested proposed buildings were too high.

  vi.  There were inadequate landscape buffers. Suggested putting in trees to replace some of the proposed parking spaces.

 vii.  Referred to Wildlife Trust comments regarding biodiversity.

viii.  Design out of scale with the area.

  ix.  Residents stated the developer had not engaged with them. They were also concerned there would be no engagement during construction and occupation (if the application were approved) regarding issues such as noise, dust and prevention/enforcement to stop parking on residential roads.

 

Mr Tzortzoglou (Applicant) addressed the Committee in support of the application.

 

Councillor Daunton (Ward District Councillor) addressed the Committee about the application:

i.  The development would be located:

a.  On a main road/rail route into the city.

b.  Near Fulbourn where there would be 2 housing developments nearby.

ii.  The development was a large site and the area could not cope with this level of development.

iii.  Road junctions were at capacity already. The application would bring infrastructure to a halt. People would have to commute in but there was no funding mentioned for financial contributions to public transport. Bus services may be unable to service the site. Road traffic would increase as people would travel in by car not bike.

iv.  Expressed concern about car parking provision on site and potential impact on the local area.

v.  Light pollution would affect rural landscape and (residential) neighbours.

vi.  The development did not appear to take account of Fulbourn Design Guide policies.

vii.  Could not support the development in its current form.

 

Councillor Williams (Ward District Councillor) addressed the Committee about the application:

i.  Expressed concern about transport impact of site and s106 planning obligations would not mitigate this.

ii.  The application would not satisfy South Cambridgeshire District Council Local Plan policies TI/2, TI/8 and SC/2.

iii.  The site relied on bus services being available to transport people to it, but these could not be guaranteed. There was no mitigation in place to offset expected delays to bus services from road congestion.

iv.  The local road network could not absorb the extra traffic from this development. There would also be additional noise and air pollution.

v.  Expressed concern that commuters would park in neighbouring residential streets. Parking controls were needed so enforcement action could be taken.

 

Councillor D.Smith (Ward Parish Councillor) addressed the Committee about the application:

i.  Expressed concern about traffic and parking.

ii.  Queried who would undertake the parking surveys, suggested this should be an independent entity.

iii.  Appropriate crossings were required for bikes to crossroads, particularly near junctions such as Yarrow Road.

 

The Committee raised the following concerns in response to the report:

  i.  Flooding.

  ii.  Sewerage.

  iii.  Traffic and transport (existing congestion and impact on this, public transport provision, cycle and car parking provision).

  iv.  Parking and enforcement action to mitigate impact of commuters on neighbouring residential areas.

  v.  Building overheating.

  vi.  Scale and height of development.

 vii.  Light pollution.

viii.  Substantial soil excavation would be required on-site, moved soil would have loose structure and may affect how it could be used ie potentially unsafe for platforms to rest on.

  ix.  Lack of consultation with residents.

 

The Interim Team Leader said the following in response to Members’ questions:

  i.  The application had been referred  to the Design Enabling Panel for comment who raised concerns. The design was changed as a consequence but the  revised details did not return to the Design Enabling Panel due to time constraints before  submission of the application.

  ii.  Consultation had been undertaken on the application in lockdown via website and letter drop. Residents had been consulted on a document produced by the design team. Officers had also published details on the City Council website.

  iii.  The Landscape Officer had reviewed trees proposed for the site and was satisfied the appropriate species had been recommended.

 

Mr Tzortzoglou added that residents had an opportunity to interact via several consultation sessions via Zoom.

 

  iv.  A transport assessment had been submitted that looked at the cumulative impact of developments in the area. This had been reviewed by the County Council.

  v.  Multi storey access/egress had not been modelled so its impact on queueing traffic was unknown.

 

The Transport Assessment Manager said the Car Parking Management Plan set out appropriate barriers would be used to minimise queueing.

 

  vi.  There was a condition to ensure sufficient bike parking capacity and facilities were provided such as Sheffield stands.

 vii.  Industry standards would be used to describe electric vehicle charging points/facilities in future (officer) reports.

viii.  Officers were checking the sewer capacity with Anglian Water. There should be since 2015, so officers would check if Anglian Water comments in the Officer’s report were up to date. Anglian Water were legally obliged to accept sewerage.

  ix.  Changes in the Drainage Strategy had resolved concerns about flooding downstream.

  x.  The Lead Local Flood Authority was satisfied with the Surface Water Drainage Strategy since changes were made to the previous iteration.

  xi.  There was an issue of chalk on the site, this would cause problems when exposed. Soil stabilisation would occur to ensure platforms would be stable. Details were set out in the Soil Management Plan.

 xii.  Building overheating concerns should be addressed through sustainable construction techniques such as passive cooling.

 

 

The Transport Assessment Manager said the following in response to Members’ questions:

  i.  There was congestion in the area already. The Applicant was only obliged to fix problems caused by the development, not in the area as a whole.

  ii.  The County Council were looking at mitigation measures they could recommend. Fulbourn Greenway was expected to be used by local commuters.

  iii.  There were no quick fixes for issues with junctions.

  iv.  People were expected to travel to the site by car, but it was hoped a modal shift would occur in future to bikes/public transport. It was hoped the impact of cars would be mitigated by other people walking or cycling.

  v.  The transport cap would be reviewed after phase 1 to see if it was fit for purpose or if the developer had to make amendments for phase 2 such as providing a ‘works bus’ to encourage people to commute in.

 

Mr Tzortzoglou said measures in place at other sites could be implemented in Fulbourn such as a shuttlebus and car share club. The Fulbourn site had only been acquired 5 weeks ago so details had not been included in the Officer’s report, measures would be set out in future.

 

  vi.  Car parking was provided on-site but the aim was to discourage car travel. Some funding contributions had been obtained to monitor the impact of the site on residential areas. The developer was required to provide a contact to enable  residents to lodge complaints. Funding would then be used (e.g. Traffic Regulation Orders) to seek how to address issues through resident consultation.

 vii.  Plans were in place to review how buses would service the site as it was recognised the Citi 3 (bus route) could not provide sufficient capacity.

viii.  Outline planning permission set out how the site could be used if the second car park was not built ie area could be used in another way.

 

Councillor Thornburrow proposed an amendment to the Officer’s recommendation to include informatives covering:

  i.  there should be no occupation on site until there was adequate sewerage capacity;

  ii.  that Officers would write to Anglian Water setting out drainage concerns should be addressed prior to work starting above ground.

 

These amendments were carried by 8 votes to 0.

 

Councillor Scutt proposed an amendment to the Officer’s recommendation to include an informative drawing the Applicant’s attention that it was their responsibility to address concerns about damage to buildings as a consequence of trees being close to the buildings – soil drying out leading to subsidence etc.

 

This amendment was carried by 8 votes to 0.

 

Councillor Bradnam proposed an amendment to the Officer’s recommendation to include an informative requesting the Applicant set up a community liaison forum during construction and early occupation (if application approved) so issues could be raised by residents.

 

This amendment was carried by 8 votes to 0.

 

The Committee:

 

Resolved (by 6 votes to 0 with 2 abstentions) to reject the Officer recommendation to approve the application.

 

Resolved (by 8 votes to 0) to refuse the application contrary to the Officer recommendation for the following reasons:

i.  The proposed development will result in unacceptable traffic impacts which will exacerbate existing congestion in the local and wider areas. The proposals include inadequate mitigation measures in the submitted Travel Plan to reduce travel to the site by car resulting in a development that is overly reliant on travel by car. The proposal does not represent sustainable development as defined by the National Planning Policy Framework 2021 and conflicts with policies S/2, S/3 and TI/2 of the South Cambridgeshire Local Plan 2018 which require development to be designed to reduce the need to travel, particularly by car, and promote sustainable travel appropriate to its location.

ii.  The proposed development, due to its scale and massing, would result in unacceptable impacts on the surrounding Green Belt and landscape. The proposal does not represent sustainable development as defined by the National Planning Policy Framework 2021 and conflicts with policies E/3 and NH/8 of the South Cambridgeshire Local Plan 2018 which seek to mitigate the impact of development adjoining the Green Belt through landscaping, excavation and high quality design measures and policies HQ/1 and NH/2 of the Local Plan which seek to preserve or enhance the landscape character of the area and requires the scale of development to be compatible with its location in relation to the surrounding area.

Supporting documents: