PERMISSION BE GRANTED, SUBJECT TO A S106 AGREEMENT AND ANY DIRECTION BY THE MAYOR OF LONDON.
Description of Application: Partial redevelopment of site including the demolition of seven existing buildings; erection of two new College buildings; landscaping and associated works.
The Planning Officer gave a brief presentation, providing an overview of the application and update on the report.
Oral representations in support of the application were received from the Interim Principal of the College who gave the following responses to Members’ questions:
· It was anticipated that the proposed development would increase the college cohort by an additional 70 students. While it was not planned to make the college buildings available for community use outside of operational hours, a wide range of community outreach activities were undertaken during the day, including school visits. College students also participated in community projects off-site.
· Flood risk and drainage arrangements for the site had been assessed by the Local Authority and the Greater London Authority and had been deemed acceptable, subject to planning conditions.
· Transport for London had confirmed that it was now comfortable with the amount of car parking proposed for the site, most of which would be for use by staff, and this would be reported back to the Greater London Authority.
· The College would be amenable to the conditions in the planning application being amended to address light pollution concerns and to increase the proportion of on-site parking spaces with active electric vehicle charging facilities to 25% (equating to eight parking spaces). Members queried whether additional bird boxes or an apiary could be established on site to support further biodiversity and these suggestions would be given due consideration by the College.
· The College was supportive of a proposal to remove Permitted Development Rights for the site. This would require planning applications to be submitted for any further development of the site which was designated Metropolitan Open Land.
In opening the discussion, the Chairman advised that Councillor David Cartwright, a Ward Member for Mottingham, and Councillor Kate Lymer, Portfolio Holder for Children, Education and Families had provided written expressions of support for this planning application.
The Chairman voiced her support for the planning application which was primarily within the existing building footprint, had been identified as having no impact on a residential amenity and was anticipated to improve significantly the teaching and learning facilities of the College, including an expanded curriculum. The Chairman further observed that the applicants had worked hard to demonstrate the very special circumstances required to outweigh the harm to the Metropolitan Open Land, including seeking alternate sites. Councillor and Ward Member Will Rowlands similarly voiced support for the planning application, underlining that the College was both an educational and community asset and had a strong commitment to supporting biodiversity and environmental sustainability.
In response to a question from Councillor Alisa Igoe, the Planning Officer confirmed that there had been some concerns raised by Transport for London around road safety for pedestrians accessing the site and that Transport for London had requested that a contribution of £35k be made towards an improved pedestrian crossing. The Local Authority had considered this carefully as the Highways Authority but had concluded that this request was not necessary given the low number of students anticipated to be accessing the site from the east on Mottingham Lane. Furthermore, the College had already agreed a contribution of £30k to undertake improvements to two bus stops in the area.
In considering the planning application, Councillor Simon Fawthrop proposed that the conditions be updated to require 25% of on-site parking spaces to have active electric vehicle charging facilities (equating to eight parking spaces), and to address light pollution concerns between 11.30pm-6.00am. Councillor Simon Fawthrop also proposed that Permitted Development Rights for the site be removed to require planning applications to be submitted for any further development of the site, which was designated as Metropolitan Open Land.
Councillor Will Rowlands moved that the planning application be approved as recommended, subject to the amendments proposed by Councillor Simon Fawthrop. The motion was seconded by Councillor Mark Brock, put to the vote and CARRIED unanimously.
RESOLVED: That PERMISSION BE GRANTED as recommended, subject to a S106 agreement and any direction by the Mayor of London, as well as the amendments agreed by Members for the reasons set out in the report of the Assistant Director: Planning.