21/03582/FUL: The Deaf and Hard of Hearing Centre, 10 Littlegate Street, Oxford OX1 1RL
- Meeting of Planning - Oxford City Planning Committee, Tuesday 19 July 2022 6.00 pm (Item 21.)
- View the background to item 21.
The Deaf And Hard Of Hearing Centre, 10 Littlegate Street, Oxford OX1 1RL
Conversion and partial redevelopment of the Oxford Deaf and Hard of Hearing Centre to create a hotel (Use Class C1) with ancillary community facility venue. The proposal includes the retention, refurbishment and repair of the principal grade II listed building (10 Littlegate Street); conversion, refurbishment and repair of the former Baptist Chapel building; demolition of side and rear extensions (10a and 10b Littlegate Street); erection of a 4-storey side extension and part 2/4 storey rear extension; provision of hard/soft landscaping; installation of green/blue roofs and green walls; and provision of 2 no. accessible car parking spaces (with EV charging points) and staff/guest cycle parking.
Reason at Committee:
The proposal is a major development.
The Oxford City Planning Committee is recommended to:
1. approve the application for the reasons given in the report and subject to the required planning conditions set out in section 12 of this report and grant planning permission subject to:
· the satisfactory completion of a legal agreement under section.106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and other enabling powers to secure the planning obligations set out in the recommended heads of terms which are set out in this report; and
2. agree to delegate authority to the Head of Planning Services to:
· finalise the recommended conditions and informatives as set out in this report including such refinements, amendments, additions and/or deletions as the Head of Planning Services considers reasonably necessary;
· finalise the recommended legal agreement under section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and other enabling powers as set out in this report, including refining, adding to, amending and/or deleting the obligations detailed in the heads of terms set out in this report (including to dovetail with and where appropriate, reinforce the final conditions and informatives to be attached to the planning permission) as the Head of Planning Services considers reasonably necessary; and
· complete the section 106 legal agreement referred to above and issue the planning permission.
The Committee considered an application 21/03582/FUL for conversion and partial redevelopment of the Oxford Deaf and Hard of Hearing Centre to create a hotel (Use Class C1) with ancillary community facility venue. The proposal included the retention, refurbishment and repair of the principal Grade II listed building (10 Littlegate Street); conversion, refurbishment and repair of the former Baptist Chapel Building; demolition of side and rear extensions (10a and 10b Littlegate Street); erection of a 4 storey side extension and part 2/4 storey rear extension; provision of hard / soft landscaping; installation of green / blue roofs and green walls; and provision of 2no accessible car parking spaces (with EV charging) and staff / guest cycle parking.
Planning Officers gave a presentation covering the application and the related Listed Building Consent application 21/03583/LBC which was the subsequent item on the agenda.
The following was highlighted:
· The proposal involved the removal of 19th century extensions to the listed cottage which were considered to be detrimental to the character of the building;
· Consideration had been given in the proposal to avoid overlooking of the Lucy Faithfull House development currently under construction;
· 12 further objections had been received since publication of the report. These were similar, and all related to the loss of the site as a live music venue, stating that the music community had not been consulted by the applicant at the pre-application stage and that the application submission did not acknowledge that the music community were active users of the site;
· The Planning Officer responded that it was officers’ understanding that the primary use of the site was as the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Centre. The Chapel building, which was sought to be retained, was let to various community users understood to have included, on an ad-hoc basis, some live music. However, the hall was not considered to be a live music venue within its own right. The proposal was recommended for approval subject to a Section 106 agreement to secure the hall to be retained for community use which could include live music. The site was currently vacant so that no access or use of it could currently be made; securing availability for the community through a Section 106 agreement was therefore considered to be an improvement on the current situation;
· The Planning Officer reported that although paragraph 10.33 of the report referred to the former chapel building as being locally listed, it was not currently on the Oxford Heritage Asset Register. However, officers were able to identify buildings as a local heritage asset through the application process and had done so in this case, with the relevant tests in the NPPF having been applied.
Gregory Owen spoke against the application.
Philip Taylor, agent, spoke in favour of the application.
The Committee’s discussions included, but were not limited to, the following points:
· The extent to which the proposal met the requirements of Local Plan policy V7 which sought to protect and retain existing cultural and community facilities, and the ‘agent of change’ principle set out in the NPPF that those introducing a change in the use of land should manage the impact of that change. Officers responded that the continued use of the community facility would be sought through a S106 agreement and the Council’s Communities Team had been approached for input to ensure that the facility remained available to a wide range of people and at an affordable rent. Paragraph 187 of the NPPF stipulated that ‘planning policies and decisions should ensure that new development can be integrated effectively with existing businesses and community facilities….Existing businesses and facilities should not have unreasonable restrictions placed on them as a result of development permitted after they were established. Where the operation of an existing business or community facility could have a significant adverse effect on new development (including change of use) in its vicinity, the applicant (or ‘agent of change’) should be required to provide suitable mitigation before the development has been completed’. Officers responded that the community hall is already in a sensitive location adjacent to residential properties and the existing users would need to be mindful of the noise impact on neighbours. Therefore adding a hotel into this location would not be considered to change this situation or introduce an inappropriate use that would put unreasonable restrictions on the use of the community hall;
· The lack of a condition in the report relating to sound-proofing and assurance about the adequacy of the proposed sound insulation required to allow community use for live music. Officers clarified that a condition relating to noise levels had been included; however, a further or amended condition specifying sound insulation requirements could be added in order to ensure adequacy for live music events. However, it was also highlighted that the proposed primary use was as a hotel and not a live music venue; a balance was therefore needed in terms of requiring the applicant to meet specific insulation standards;
· Potential loss of residential space. The Planning Officer clarified that planning permission which had been granted in the 1960s had included provision for a ‘warden’s flat’ which formed part of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Centre and was only accessible through the building. There was no planning history to indicate that it had ever been let for a separate residential use, nor whether this was on a lawful basis. The property was now vacant, so that any residential use had in any event ceased;
· The proposal would increase the provision of hotel accommodation which was lacking in the city centre.
A proposal to approve the application as set out in the report was moved and seconded. On being put to the vote the motion fell.
A proposal to defer the application to a future meeting in order to allow for further work in relation to Policy V7 and ‘agent of change’, and in particular the wording and deliverability of condition 10 as it relates to sound and any condition relating to vibration, was moved and seconded. On being put to the vote the Committee resolved to defer the application.
The Oxford City Planning Committee resolved to:
1. Defer the application to a future meeting.