Agenda item

22/02849/FUL: Land at Winchester Road, Banbury Road and Bevington Road, Oxford

Site Address:

Land At Winchester Road, Banbury Road and Bevington Road, Oxford

Proposal:

The development of land at Winchester, Banbury and Bevington Road for the provision of student accommodation through the construction of accommodation buildings, a new villa on Bevington Road and the conversion of 43-45 Banbury Road together with a student pavilion building, an academic accommodation building, maintenance and repair works to the conservatory at 59 Banbury Road and associated landscaping works including walls and railings to roadside frontages, electrical substation, associated ancillary accommodation, access, cycle parking, accessible parking and refuse and recycling facilities

Reason at Committee:

The proposal is a major development

Recommendation:

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 the report and grant planning permission; and 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 the report; and

2.           agree to delegate authority to the Head of Planning Services to:

·         finalise the recommended conditions as set out in the report including such refinements, amendments, additions and/or deletions as the Head of Planning Services considers reasonably necessary; and

·         finalise the recommended legal agreement under section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and other enabling powers as set out in the report, including refining, adding to, amending and/or deleting the obligations detailed in the heads of terms set out in the 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.

 

Minutes:

The Committee considered an application (22/02849/FUL) for the development of land at Winchester, Banbury and Bevington Road for the provision of student accommodation through the construction of accommodation buildings, a new villa on Bevington Road and the conversion of 43-45 Banbury Road together with a student pavilion building, and academic accommodation building, maintenance and repair works to the conservatory at 59 Banbury Road and associated landscaping works including walls and railings to roadside frontages, electrical substation, associated ancillary accommodation, access, cycle parking, accessible parking and refuse and recycling facilities.

The Planning Officer provided the following updates and clarifications:

·       The applicant was both the University of Oxford and Hertford College.

 

·       The CIL amount shown in the report was incorrect, due to the way it had been reported and calculated.  Following an amended CIL form and calculation the correct figure was £784,457.

 

·       The Section 106 highways contribution had also been re-negotiated with the County Council.  The contribution was now proposed to be £100,000.

 

·       Since publication of the report three additional letters of representation had been received.  The issues raised related to conditions; impact on water and sewerage infrastructure; intensification of the site; the location of access points; traffic construction times and general noise.  All of the planning issues raised had been addressed in the officer’s report.  With regard to the use of conditions, planning policy guidance was clear that conditions could enhance the quality of development and enable development to proceed where it would otherwise have been necessary to refuse planning permission, by mitigating the adverse effects.  Therefore the use of planning conditions was a recognised way of dealing with planning issues.

 

The Planning Officer gave a presentation and highlighted the following:

·       The application sought planning permission for the redevelopment of land to the rear of Winchester Road, Banbury Road and Bevington Road in the north of Oxford. It sought to provide a new academic community, with the introduction of student accommodation and a new departmental building -Southeast Asian Studies Centre (SASC) - bringing together Hertford College, Kellogg College, Reuben College and Oxford School of Global and Area Studies (OSGA).

 

·       The proposed development would provide 130 new graduate student rooms for Hertford College, Kellogg College and Reuben College across 6 new buildings, together with the conversion and upgrade of the existing detached twin villa building at 43 - 45 Banbury Road.

 

·       Additional ancillary student facilities would also be provided, including a pavilion which would accommodate a reading room, recreation room and common room. The ground floor of 11 Winchester Road would be partially refurbished to provide a Porter’s Lodge, an accessible bedroom and staff facilities, replacing an existing bedroom and communal kitchen.

 

·       The site would provide 7 car parking spaces and 346 cycle spaces across the site.

 

·       The site was located within the North Oxford Conservation Area.  In addition, 59 Banbury Road and Gees Restaurant were Listed Buildings which were located within the setting of the proposed development.  Great weight had been given to preserving these heritage assets when determining the application.

 

·       The buildings had been designed and arranged to limit the harm to the Conservation Area and Listed Buildings.  The buildings had been located in positions which would seek to retain views into the site from the street.  The heights of the buildings also related to their position and context on the site, with the taller elements being located on the edge of the site and the lower lying buildings on the boundaries where they were located closer to neighbouring properties.

 

·       The report set out the impact of the development on the historic environment.   Whilst less than substantial harm had been identified, great weight had been given to the conservation of these designated heritage assets.

 

·       Historic England had raised no objection to the application.  Notwithstanding this, the NPPF required that where less than substantial harm to the significance of a designated heritage asset is identified, this harm should be outweighed by the public benefits.  The public benefits of the scheme were set out in the report, the greatest of which would be new landscaped frontages including new tree planting and the reinstatement of the front gardens and railings, and the delivery of 130 student rooms which equated to the equivalent of 52 dwellings being released back into the housing market.

 

·       With regard to impact on neighbouring amenity, the buildings had been designed so not to have an unacceptable impact with regard to loss of light, outlook, overlooking and overbearing impact. Where harm had been identified, mitigation measures had been incorporated.

 

·       No technical objections had been received.

 

·       The site was an allocated site and the proposal was considered to comply with the requirements of the allocation as well as the other policies of the Oxford Local Plan.

 

·       Officers had considered the application to be acceptable in terms of principle, design, impact on neighbouring amenity, highways, heritage and the issues set out in the report.  Therefore the application was recommended for approval subject to conditions and a Section 106 agreement.

Nik Lyzba (on behalf of Mogford Group) and Richard Katz (local resident) spoke against the application.

Stephen Sensecall (agent) spoke in favour of the application.

The Committee asked questions about the details of the application, which were responded to by officers and the agent and architect.  The Committee’s discussions included, but were not limited to:

·        The buildings were new pieces of architecture of a high design quality that was appropriate for buildings in the conservation area; they were not intended to copy or imitate the original Victorian Gothic architectural language but rather take reference and re-interpret this in a contemporary manner.

 

·        The County Council would agree a Construction Transport Management Plan.  Any issues relating to unacceptable levels of noise could be dealt with by the Council’s Environmental Health team.  The Council expected developers to sign up to the Considerate Contractors Scheme, and there were many examples of large scale construction projects having been successfully undertaken in residential areas of the city previously.

 

·        The proposal would require biodiversity offsetting in order to comply with Policy G2 of the Oxford Local Plan 2036.

 

·        The provision of the student accommodation would allow for the private sector rented accommodation and affordable housing which was currently occupied by students to be released into the market for the benefit of other Oxford residents.

 

·        The proposal had been thoughtfully designed, and allowed for better, more efficient use of the neglected garden spaces behind the buildings.

 

·        The buildings would be of Passivhaus standard across the entirety of the site, and the development would be car free.

 

·        There would be some harm to the heritage asset (the North Oxford Victorian Suburb Conservation Area) arising from the loss of the rear garden plots in particular.  However, this would be balanced by enhancements to the significance of the heritage asset by way of the careful restoration of the frontages to gardens with front boundary walls topped with railings.   It was considered on balance that the sum of benefits resulting from the development would outweigh the lower level of less than substantial harm that would be caused to the significance of heritage assets.

 

·        Thames Water had requested additional information which could be provided through a condition, which was considered standard for these types of application.  A condition had been included to ensure that the scheme complies with the requirements of Thames Water.

 

·        The requested Oxfordshire County Council Highways Section 106 contribution was to help improve the Bevington Road junction for cyclists which would include signage and symbols.

 

·         The site allocation policy included three different sites in Oxford; this application related to one of the three allocations.

 

Councillor Kerr, having arrived at the meeting after the conclusion of the officer’s presentation, did not participate in determining the application.

On being proposed, seconded and put to the vote, the Committee agreed with the officer’s recommendation to approve the application for the reasons set out in the report and subject to the conditions and planning obligations set out in the report.

The Oxford City Planning Committee resolved 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 the 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 the report; and

 

2.     delegate authority to the Head of Planning Services to:

 

·       finalise the recommended conditions set out in the report including such refinements, amendments, additions and/or deletions as the Head of Planning Services considers reasonably necessary; and

 

·       finalise the recommended legal agreement under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and other enabling powers set out in the report including refining, adding to, amending and/or deleting the obligations detailed in the heads of terms set out in the 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 agreement referred to above and issue the planning permission.

Supporting documents: