21/02513/FUL: Victoria Hotel, 178-184 Abingdon Road, Oxford
Victoria Hotel, 178 - 184 Abingdon Road, Oxford
Demolition of existing hotel. Erection of a three storey 38no. bedroom hotel (use class C1) and creation of 1no. 2 bedroom maisonette (use class C3). Provision of plant room, soft landscaping, vehicular and cycle parking and bin storage.
Reason at Committee:
The proposal is a major development.
The Oxford City Planning Committee is recommended to:
1. resolve that if an appeal had not been lodged the application would have been refused for the reasons given in the report
2. delegate authority to the Head of Planning Services to:
· finalise the recommended reasons referred to in paragraph 1.1.1 above for the purposes of defending the appeal including such refinements, amendments, additions and/or deletions as the Head of Planning Services considers reasonably necessary.
The Committee considered an application (21/02513/FUL) for demolition of existing hotel; erection of a three storey 38no bedroom hotel (use class C1) and creation of 1no 2 bedroom maisonette (use class C3); provision of plant room, soft landscaping, vehicular and cycle parking, and bin storage. The application was currently the subject of an appeal which had been lodged on the grounds of non-determination and therefore the application could not now be determined by the Council. The report therefore recommended refusal reasons for the purposes of defending the appeal.
The Planning Officer gave a presentation and made the following updates:
· The Oxfordshire Architectural and Historical Society had submitted a further written comment on Thursday 8 April following the publication of the committee report. This expressed concerns that the demolition of the recently locally-listed building had not formed a recommended reason for refusal. In response, officers advised that the inclusion of a building or a place on the Oxford Heritage Asset Register placed no additional legal requirements or responsibilities on property owners over and above those required for planning permission or building regulation approval. There was no additional protection from demolition. Officers had carefully considered the acceptability of the proposals as outlined in the officer’s report, and having regard to paragraph 203 of the NPPF and policy DH5 of the Oxford Local Plan and advised that demolition of the building should not be put forward as a refusal reason for the purposes of defending the appeal.
Officers had also been mindful of the impact of the proposed development on non-designated heritage assets, and had formed the view that the public benefits of the scheme would outweigh the loss of the non-designated heritage asset in this case.
· The officer’s report had specifically referred to the application site not being within a controlled parking zone (CPZ). In fact, the surrounding area was within the South Oxford Extension CPZ. Abingdon Road itself was not within that CPZ as it was already subject to restrictions which precluded parking within much of the vicinity of the site. This did not impact on the assessment which officers had made in the report, and the proposals already included a significant reduction in car parking.
· As set out in the report, the applicants had lodged an appeal against non-determination in March 2022 in the expectation that this would speed up the decision process. The appeal had not yet started, but given recent appeals it was anticipated that there may be a backlog of a few months. When the appeal did start, the committee report and minutes from this meeting would form the basis of the Council’s Statement of Case. Members of the Committee were not in a position to refuse the application, but rather to resolve that, if an appeal had not been lodged, the application would have been refused for the reasons given in the committee report. This formed the officers’ recommendation.
In discussion, a question was raised as to whether the stated reasons for refusal involved issues which might be resolved, and whether due consideration had been given to all of the elements of the application when making the recommendation. The Planning Officer responded that the application had been subject to pre-application discussions, a previous application, and amended plans. Many prior considerations beyond the technical ones which formed the basis for refusal – such as matters around the design; the impact on the non-designated heritage asset; car parking; and policy considerations - had therefore already been addressed. It was considered that the concerns around drainage and providing safe access and egress from the site in a flood event, and the objections of the Lead Local Flood Authority, may be insurmountable. In the event that the appeal had not been lodged, officers would have sought further information in an attempt to resolve the issues contained in the reasons for refusal.
In discussion, officers were asked to note concerns about the proposed parking, access and servicing arrangements. It was recommended that a servicing strategy / traffic management plan should requested as a condition of any future approval. Landscaping improvements could also be made.
In reaching its decision the Committee considered all the information put before it and noted the reasons for refusal as detailed in the officer report.
After debate and being proposed, seconded and put to the vote, the Committee agreed with the officer’s recommendation.
The Oxford City Planning Committee resolved to:
1. agree that if an appeal had not been lodged the application would have been refused for the reasons given in the report;
2. delegate authority to the Head of Planning Services to:
· finalise the recommended reasons referred to in paragraph 1.1.1 of the report for the purposes of defending the appeal including such refinements, amendments, additions and / or deletions as the Head of Planning Services considers reasonably necessary. These were stated to be:
1. Having had regard to the proposals being situated in a high flood risk area and the proposals potentially putting more people at risk, insufficient information has been submitted, in particular the application is deficient in its failure to provide a comprehensive flood warning and evacuation plan in accordance with policy RE3 of the Oxford Local Plan 2036 and paragraphs 167 of the NPPF.
2. Insufficient information has been submitted, in particular the application is deficient in its failure to provide nocturnal bat surveys and therefore the extent to which the species may be impacted cannot be fully assessed on the basis of the submitted information. The application therefore does not conform to the requirements of Policy G2 of the Oxford Local Plan 2036.
3. Insufficient information has been submitted, in particular the application is deficient in its failure to provide a sufficient drainage strategy with consistent calculations and acceptable half drain down times and therefore, the proposal does not conform to the requirements of Policy RE4 of the Oxford Local Plan 2036.
- 21-02513-FUL: Victoria Hotel, 178-184 Abingdon Road, Oxford, item 91. PDF 403 KB
- Appendix 1 - Site Location Plan, item 91. PDF 236 KB
- Appendix 2 - OHAR Nomination, item 91. PDF 829 KB
- Presentation, item 91. PDF 5 MB