REPORT TO PLANNING & DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE TO BE HELD ON THURSDAY, 11 December 2014 APPLICATION REFERENCE NO:14/02327/DM TARGET DATE:12 December 2014 GRID REF: 504496-488593 REPORT OF THE PLANNING SERVICES MANAGER – PSM/14/396 SUBJECT: Proposed demolition for Scarborough Borough Council(Mr Chris Bourne) Futurist Buildings Foreshore Road, Scarborough, NORTH YORKSHIRE YO11 1NU
1.0 INTRODUCTION AND PROPOSAL
1.1 Before considering the details and merits of the proposal it is important that members have clear understanding of the procedures for this application. It is not an application for planning permission. It is an application for Prior Approval of the method of demolition and proposed restoration of the site only. These are the only issues which can be considered by the Council in its capacity as Local Planning Authority (LPA) when determining this application.
1.2 The planning regulations indicate that the proposed demolition is 'permitted development', (i.e. exempt from the need for planning permission), subject to completion of the Prior Approval process. The 'restoration of the site' refers to the condition of the site immediately following demolition. It does not include proposals for the redevelopment of the site which would have to be subject of a separate future planning application. It is only since 2011 that the prior approval process has applied to non-residential buildings; prior to that date the demolition would have potentially been permitted development not requiring any application to the LPA.
1.3 The decision making process differs from a planning application and potentially has two stages. The first stage is to decide whether Prior Approval is required within 28 days following the validation of the application. This explains why the application has been brought to Committee so soon after its validation on 14 November 2014. If the applicant has not received written notice from the LPA that prior approval is either required or not required within 28 days of validation, then under the terms of the regulations, the demolition could in theory proceed. (In this case, a decision on the demolition of the Futurist by the Council, in its capacity as landowner, would also be necessary). Due to the legal time constraints, a decision on Prior Approval therefore needs to take place by 12 December 2014. A decision that Prior Approval is not required would only be appropriate if the Committee were to be satisfied with all submitted details and no additional information is required. Otherwise, the appropriate decision is to require Prior Approval.
1.4 If Committee determines that Prior Approval is required then a second decision is necessary. The options in this case, are that the application is approved, refused or deferred. The legislation does not make provision for attaching conditions to an approval of such an application; therefore this increases the importance of ensuring that satisfactory information has been submitted before an approval at this second stage is issued.
1.5 In making a decision on this application it is vital that the distinction between the Borough Council's roles as Local Planning Authority (LPA) and landowner is understood. The Committee can only consider issues material to this type of Prior Approval application. Demolition can only occur once both Prior Approval has been obtained and Full Council has made a final decision on the demolition of the Futurist in its capacity as landowner.
1.6 In parallel to this application, a notice of intended demolition has been submitted to North Yorkshire Building Control. In this Notice the Borough Council (as landowner) is required to comply with a list of legislative requirements. These include the following:
- Compliance with Control of Asbestos Regulations
- Repair and make good any damage to adjacent buildings
- Disconnect, seal or remove any sewer or drain affected
- Make good ground disturbed by removal of sewers/ drains
- Shore up any adjacent buildings
- Remove material and rubbish arising from the demolition
- Make arrangements with statutory undertakers regarding the disconnection of gas, water and electricity
- Take necessary steps to protect the public and public amenity
- Hours of working restrictions
1.7 The application comprises the demolition of the Futurist Building, comprising the Borough Council owned Futurist Theatre, and the Homes & Community Agency ownedMermaid and Chip Shop. The applicant's planning statement describes the proposed method of demolition. Key points are as follows:
- Site access will only be via Foreshore Road and the bottom of Blands Cliff, and not via the top of Blands Cliff/Eastborough.
- Any damage to services will be made good
- Comply with the Control of Pollution Act, including decibel levels
- Take all necessary precautions to prevent nuisance from vibration, fumes, smoke, dust, rubbish and other causes, ensure the efficient protection of all drains against pollution and control vermin.
- Protect from damage roads, pavements, services, boundary fencing/walling, drains, pipes, cables, etc,
- All Works and ancillary operations shall be carried out between the hours of 8.00 a.m. and 6.00 p.m. Mondays to Fridays. Work shall not be carried out on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays.
- Erect all necessary hoardings, roofs, screens, shoring, gantries, footways, guardrails, and other temporary works etc including necessary licences.
- The hoardings shall not be used for advertising
- Comply with safety, health and welfare requirements
- Comply with regulations relating to movement of vehicles, parking, deliveries etc.
- Obtain any temporary road/footpath closures or regulation orders
- Submit a Site Waste Management Plan
- All the demolition material removed to registered tip off site.
1.8 A project programme for the demolition, lasting approximately 6 months has been provided and this is explained in more detail in accompanying documents. In summary, the key stages of the programme are as follows:
- Pre-commencement matters, including footpath closures, bus stop relocation,hoarding erection and compliance with certain statutory procedures.
- Establishment of pedestrian and traffic management
- Initial Site Establishment & Welfare Arrangements
- Identification and removal of Asbestos Containing Materials
- Removal of asbestos cement roof sheets
- Pre-demolition Soft strip of fittings / fixtures
- Hand demolition of light weight partition walls
- Mechanical demolition of building using a Caterpillar 360° excavator machine, with demolition exclusion zones and dust suppression measures in place. Demolitions will progress systematically through the property from roof height to ground floor level.
- Hand demolition of exterior wing walls
- Removal of former slab & foundations. All voids and all excavated ground will be backfilled to a level of 200mm below existing site levels.
- Site Engineering & Surfacing Works including laying 200mm of tarmac and flags across the site
- Completion of works - the site to be fully tidied and plant removed.
1.9 The application is accompanied by reports relating to measures to maintain slopestability. The walls of the building on the north, south and west sides would be reduced in height to approximately 2m and finished to the top with a coping formed of cut concrete paving slabs.
1.10 The space created following the demolition of the buildings is to be finished with a tarmac finish, which will also contain a paving feature to create a space which could be used for concessions or an events space and delineated by removable planters to improve the appearance and prevent unauthorised parking.
1.11 Members will be aware that the owners of Flamingoland have been identified as preferred bidders for redevelopment of the site. Whilst illustrations of possible future development have been published in the press, these do not form part of this current application.
2.0 SCREENING OPINION REQUIRED?
2.1 An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Screening Request was submitted in respect of the proposed demolition and it was determined in September 2014 that an EIA would not be required.
3.0 PRE-APPLICATION COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
3.1 None specifically relating to this application; however, extensive public consultation took place in 2012 relating to the demolition of the building/redevelopment in the preparation the Futurist & Town Hall Development Brief and in 2010 as part of the work of the Futurist Task Group.
4.0 CONSULTATIONS AND COMMENTS The following is a summary of the key and relevant comments received from consultees and interested parties. Their full comments and any accompanying documentation are available to view on the Council's website. Any further representations will be reported verbally at Committee.
4.1 Highway Authority - recommends a number of conditions and informatives. The conditions relate to site access, discharge of surface water, a highway condition survey turning and parking, precautions to prevent mud on the highway, on-site parking storage and construction traffic during development and routing of traffic. 5.2 County Archaeologist - comments awaited. 4.2 Environmental Health (SBC) Health - comments awaited. 4.3 Ecologist (SBC) - comments awaited. 4.4 Theatres Trust - objects to the proposal. The Theatres Trust is the National Advisory Public Body for Theatres. The Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) Order 2010 requires the Trust to be consulted on planning applications which include 'development involving any land on which there is a theatre.'Our main objective is to safeguard theatre use, or the potential for such use, but we also provide expert advice on design, conservation, property, and planning matters to theatre operators, local authorities and official bodies. We help to promote the value of theatres as cultural anchors in towns and cities, as places of entertainment attracting a diversity of audiences and visitors, and as beacons for regeneration and local pride. The Trust strongly objects and is concerned that Council is proceeding with demolition of a highly valued community and cultural asset when the long term use of the site is not clear, without certainty that any proposed use is viable and won't need public subsidy,and lack of clarity regarding the community benefit by demolishing the theatre. A revitalised Futurist should play a key role in the regeneration of this part of Scarborough, and a creative developer would make it a focal part of such development. There are very good examples of older theatres being integrated within new developments, including the Grand, Clapham Junction where flats have been built on top of the theatre, and this would ensure that there was an iconic visitor attraction within the development and retain the theatre as an important cultural asset. Alternatively a replacement theatre facility could be provided as part of a new development.The argument used to justify the demolition that it has become an 'eyesore' is a result of under investment in the Council's key cultural assets. It would be possible to remove the unattractive cladding and restore the theatre's frontage to its original 1920s glory and thus re-establish the theatre as an iconic building in this prominent position. There are many examples of theatres which run conferences and daytime meetings, and also which share premises with other community and cultural functions such as libraries or museums to ensure there viability, and this should be explored before demolition is considered. Demolition of the theatre would be at odds with the development brief approved by Cabinet, which states that there should be no demolition until a final use for the for the site has been approved. The Futurist site is on the edge of the Scarborough Conservation Area, and demolition without a replacement structure will harm views of the seafront, and could possibly leave a significant undeveloped gap within the parade, blighting it for years. This demolition proposes leaving a 2m high retaining brick wall around the site and a 9m high exposed retaining wall along the cliff. Experience has shown us that demolishing a theatre to provide a more attractive development site is seldom achieved quickly. In terms of site restoration, no planning permission has been obtained to use the site as public open space, as suggested in the planning statement. Paragraph 70 of the National Planning Policy Framework, requires the Council to 'plan positively for the provision and use of shared space, community facilities... and other local services to enhance the sustainability of communities and residential environments'; and 'guard against the unnecessary loss of valued facilities and services, particularly where this would reduce the community's ability to meet its day-to-day needs'. This demolition should not proceed while there is no clear future for the theatre site and no clear public benefit for the loss of the theatre.
4.5 Publicity - In accordance with the relevant Regulations this consisted of Site Notices displayed by the applicant. The consultation period expires on 5 December 2014. Objections have been received from the following 11 parties: Mr N. Loggie, 13 Mount View Avenue, Scarborough - At what point does a Publicly owned facility become the property of theCouncil? Why go against public opinion/the wishes of the electorate? Mr T. Thorne, 32 Candler Street Scarborough - a full Council meeting has not consented to the demolition. Without the legal authority of a full Council decision, council officers do not have permission to make a planning application on behalf of the council regarding the demolition. The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 (in relation to this type of application) states development is not permitted where the building has been rendered unsafe or otherwise uninhabitable by the action or inaction of any person having an interest in the land on which the building stands; The council is not entitled to demolish the building as the council has deliberately neglected the maintenance of the building for many years.Under the Localism Act, the council has a duty to carry out a pre-application consultation with and take account of the responses of people who may be affected by the planning application, such as neighbours and tenants in the immediate vicinity. I believe that no such consultation has taken place and that tenants in the Futurist Building were given notice to leave their premises by the 13th January 2015 illegally. Because the council has deliberately not consulted anyone affected by the planning application, it will not take comments into account and this application is in breach of the Localism Act. Mrs A Wilkins, 1 Londesborough Park, Seamer- a full Council meeting has not consented to the demolition. Without the legal authority of a full Council decision, council officers do not have permission to make a planning application on behalf of the council regarding the demolition. Mr C. Whelan, 18 Newlands Park Avenue, Scarborough - the Council has already destroyed Corner Cafe, the Balmoral, The Pavilion Hotel and the McCain Stadium and now proposes the same for a superb theatre. There are many other derelict eyesores in the town. Leave The Futurist alone - refurbish it and it will be successful as it always has been in the past. Ms J Smith, The Barn, Solmain, Walton, Cumbria - there is a covenant on land behind the Futurist, that without consent the Council shall not disturb a concrete slab, which it has been suggested contains a grave. The family who raised this concern were disappointed that the council did not lift the slab as part of their investigations to establish whether a grave is present and made their intentions known that they would pursue this issue via the planning application. Until investigations by lifting the slab the family will continue to object to object to any planning applications to demolish the site. Mrs V James, 1 Tollesbury Road, Tolleshunt D'Arcy, Essex - the theatre is a valuable asset to the town. There is no valid financial reason why this cannot be refurbished to acceptable standards ensuring top West End plays could be shown here which would benefit the local community and holidaymakers. The cost of demolition far outweighs refurbishment, particularly as this is taken from the public purse. Does the town need an empty space along the seafront? Local business will certainly be affected by the loss of the evening trade from theatre attendees. Mr K. James, 1 Tollesbury Road, Tolleshunt D'Arcy, Essex - no guarantee of a developer for this site - it is purely speculative, and why is the Council paying an undisclosed sum from the taxpayers pocket? It is a valuable and historic asset to the town, its residents and its holiday visitors. Without a theatre of this size there is little opportunity to stage large West End touring productions in the town. The cost of demolition is probably larger than the cost of refurbishing the theatre to a modern standard. Mr A. Micallef-Grimaud, 10 Oxford St., Scarborough - the National Planning Policy Framework [NPPF] requires "Local planning authorities should take a positive and collaborative approach to enable development to be brought forward under a Community Right to Build Order, including working with communities to identify and resolve key issues before applications are submitted", as well as guarding against loss of valued facilities and services. The Council has failed since it has ignored anything the local community had suggested or put forward in favour of saving the Futurist, in spite of their numerous protests, petitions and objections. The Council also ignored thefindings of the consultation in 2010. The report reveals the people of Scarborough are mostly in favour of refurbishment of existing Futurist Theatre and Mermaid buildings. It also reveals the youth of Scarborough (18-24) are 90% in favour of this option and 60% in favour of a People's Trust. Only 40% are in favour of Option 6, to demolish the Futurist. It reports 79.4% of the community wishes a cinema and 72% wishes a Theatre (1st & 2nd preferences). Only 42.3% wishes a Themed Attraction (7th preference) the likes of Bidder B's proposal, supported by the Council. This shows how eager the local youth are for first class entertainment all year round, which only the Futurist can offer. Our youth are the future of our town and considered to be the long term tax paying contributors for the borough, meaning that their wishes must be respected. This application is invalid since the council has not taken a positive approach to resolve key issues before application was submitted. It is my belief that the main reason in support of the "Demolition in advance" as stated in Planning Statement is not the true reason behind this application. This can be found in the Cabinet's report (16/9/2014) which states that "Bidder B's (tender) submission requires the Council to demolish the Futurist building and stabilise the slope to the rear at its own cost." If this is found to be the case, is it legal? This application cannot be allowed to go through. Mr J. Rafferty, 26 Standale Crescent, Leeds - The building should be repaired, not replaced - it has potential to draw the public from all over the UK if managed correctly. If the Council do not have the skills to manage it then pass it on to a group or company who have the skills to do so, do not waste money pulling it down to regret it later. point? I am just one of the people who chooses to spend my wage in your town and the Futurist was one of the places we used to go to! It would be so easy to remove all that cladding and the building will be visible as the beauty it was. Many times I have pointed out the hidden carvings. Do not pull it down only to leave a mess for years. Restore what you have, cultivate the business and make Scarborough the place to go all year round for shows, conferences etc. English Heritage maintain a ruin of a castle, that is run down and would cost too much to repair! That's historic and a tourist attraction but so is the Futurist. Save it and cherish it. It has served your town well so reward it and let it continue to serve! Restore! Mr B. Blagden, 12 Manor Gardens, Hunmanby - the Council make it difficult for objectors by not advertising it in the local press and by using methods again not usual to attempt to obtain what they want ,if they had nothing to hide they would have gone about this more openly. They have not used the correct procedure. The Futurist is worthy of keeping, but have not been maintaining it as they wanted to see it demolished. It would cost a lot less to bring it up to standard than pay for it to be demolished and the ground made safe ( if that was indeed possible) and a lot if not all the cost of refurbishment could be offset by grant applications from various bodies, which have not been sought. The Futurist could again bring in top class shows which would bring in large audiences again who would also spend money elsewhere in town. Do not let the Futurist be demolished - it has lots of life left in it with proper maintenance and management. D. Hampshire (no address given) - The Futurist is part of our heritage - we need to keep a theatre for light entertainment - it caters for all ages and has better capacity than other venues. It will cost much more to clear and reinforce site than restore and not lose part of St Nicholas Gardens. 10,800 residents signed a petition to save the Futurist. Marvels is better suited for a fun park and proposals should be considered at a public meeting. The time to advertise the theatre should be extended as a private agent will restore it asthe Spa was, but it would be wonderful if the Council would support the town.
5.0 RELEVANT SITE HISTORY
5.1 Demolition of Futurist Flats - Prior approval not required 2006
6.0 PLANNING POLICY- 6.1 Section 38(6) of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 and Section 70(2) of The Town and Country Planning Act 1990 requires that planning applications are determined in accordance with the Development Plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise. Attention is drawn to the following Development Plan and other planning policies and guidance which are considered to be particularly relevant to the consideration of this application:- Scarborough Borough Local Plan (Saved Policies) E12 - Design of New Development E27 - The Protection of Significant Views L4- Reinforcement of Seaside Resort Characteristics National Planning Policy Framework NPPF1- Building a strong, competitive economy NPPF7 - Requiring good design NPPF11- Conserving and enhancing the natural environment NPPF12- Conserving and enhancing the historic environment
Scarborough Borough Supplementary Planning Documents None relevant Local Planning Policy Guidance None relevant
The guidance in the Futurist & Town Hall Development Brief is also material consideration. 7.0 ASSESSMENT Principle of Demolition
7.1 As stated in the Introduction to this report, the issues which may be considered as part of this Prior Approval process are much more curtailed than on an application for planning permission. Some of the procedures, such as those for publicity are different. It is also considered that this is a valid means of dealing with the proposed demolition. This type of application would not apply if the building had been rendered unsafe or otherwise uninhabitable by the owner - whilst the building is not currently in use it has not reached such a state of disrepair for this to apply. The starting point for the assessment is the fact that demolition is permitted development (i.e. exempt from the need for planning permission), subject to consideration of the proposed method of demolition and site restoration. Critically, an issue which is not material to the application is whether the principle of demolishing the building is acceptable or not. If the building were listed (which was considered and rejected by English Heritage in 2011/12), if it were in a Conservation Area, or part of application for redevelopment then the parameters for decision-making would be different. The landowners in this case are exercising their permitted development rights and it is within this context that the application must be considered.
7.2 As a result, many of the comments received by objectors, including those made the Theatres Trust are not factors which can be considered as material to this Prior Approval application. It is recognised that the Theatres Trust has an important designated role as a statutory consultees on planning applications relating to theatres (although the legislation does not specify this with Prior Approval applications). Only comments relating to the method of demolition and immediate post-demolition restoration of the site can be taken on board as part of this application. Consequently, this excludes consideration of the relative cultural, historic or architectural merits.
7.3 The restricted nature of applicable considerations is also important when considering a point raised by the Theatres Trust; namely, that demolition would be at odds with the Futurist & Town Hall Development Brief. This guidance is largelyconcerned with future development proposals, but it does state, "demolition of larger scale buildings, such as the Futurist/Mermaid..... should not be approved in isolation since this would result in the undesirable outcome of a 'gap site' in a key location. Conditions are likely to be imposed ensuring that demolition only occurs as animmediate precursor of redevelopment".
7.4 In response, the applicant's Planning Statement sets out a case based largely on economic grounds. Key points raised include - it has become apparent through marketing that it would be beneficial to the Council to demolish the building to establish a clear development site. - A developer would expect a return in the region of 20%. A property advisor indicated that carrying out demolition and stabilisation works could increase developer appetite for the site - In current market conditions developers ideally want to get onto the site and develop it quickly; the complexities that would come with demolishing the Futurist may make them go elsewhere.- Even if the current proposals do not proceed, it is evident a cleared site will be quicker and easier for the Council to market and subsequently develop - The 2012 condition survey noted the poor condition of the building and identified the need to spend a minimum of £2.7 million on the Theatre. A further survey in 2014 identified additional items of concern. - In the event that the Council decides not to demolish the Futurist, it can be anticipated that the building will continue to deteriorate. The Council has an established budget of £25k to fund costs which may arise due to the Futurist building being vacant.
7.5 These points, and those made by objectors, are noted. It remains the case that it is desirable that the site (especially in the long term) is occupied by an active and beneficial form of development rather being a 'gap' on the seafront. If this were a planning application, it would be necessary to evaluate the economic case put forward by the applicant against the points raised by objectors. However, the fundamental point here is that subject to pre-conditions, planning legislation presumes that demolition can take place. Assuming those pre-conditions are satisfied, it therefore follows that the permitted development rights take precedence over the guidance in the Development Brief.
Method of Demolition 7.6 Section 2.0 of this report summarises the key aspects of this. A detailed description of the main demolition process has been provided. It should be noted that many aspects of the demolition are covered by other statutory controls. It is not the role of the planning system replicate these e.g. building and environmental health controls. For example, there are strict controls relating to the removal of asbestos, but it is best that this overseen (and if necessary enforced) by the appropriate agency which has the relevant expertise and powers. The planning process can better intervene where issues are ones which are not fully covered by other legislation. However, having examined this, officers have concluded that with the exception of slope stability these issues are limited 7.7 It is important that any adverse impacts on the amenities of neighbours and the attractiveness of South Bay as a tourist attraction are not unduly affected during demolition. Comments of Environmental Health are still awaited, but it is noted that works would be restricted to normal working hours, there would be decibel limits and dust suppression measures.
7.8 The Highway Authority does not object but suggests conditions. Since it is not possible to attach conditions to a Prior Approval application the applicant has been asked to comment on and where appropriate commit to the steps outlined in suggested conditions, although in some cases they may also be covered by other legislation or are already in place in the contractor's contract. The most suitable access route for plant and machinery onto the site is Foreshore Road, but it is accepted that some access from the lower end of Bland's Cliff will be necessary given the difference in ground levels between the front and rear of the building. It is indicated that any damage to the highway shall be repaired. The applicant has been asked to confirm that that the Futurist/King Street steps will reopen following demolition. 7.9 A bat roost potential survey has been submitted with the application. The boiler room in the Futurist is identified as having high potential for roosts and recommends further survey work. This has been undertaken, which found that the site is used for foraging and commuting by pipistrelles, but no hibernating bats or evidence of bat roosts was observed. Comments of the Council Ecologist are awaited on this matter. 7.10 The proposals do not indicate any alterations to the stepped terraces to the rear of building which form the slope up to the King Street Car Park. Therefore, the trees towards the top of the slope would not be affected. It is on the lowest of these terracesthat investigations were undertaken to establish whether there is a grave on the site. The sensitivity of this matter is appreciated, but it relates to land not affected by the demolition and restrictive covenants cannot be considered as part of the planning process.
Slope Stability - 7.11 The building is built into the sharp incline to its rear. Therefore, the internal ground floor level is lower than the adjoining land to the north, south and west. To the rear the differential is 6-10m. Retaining walls within the existing buildings are not entirely visible, but where the rear wall is exposed it is brick at upper levels, of a compressed concrete/aggregate type material below and support is provided by buttresses. It is important that not only are any retaining walls secure, but also that the comrep removal of the buildings, which may help support the slope's toe, does not ultimately result in instability. Studies have been undertaken to look at this issue. A report by White Young Green in 2008 identified two possible solutions, which were the use of ground anchors linked by horizontal beams, or a contiguous bored pile wall behind the existing structure. A further study was commissioned this year to assess the ground anchorage approach and whilst it recognised it may be possible, it did not provide a clear route forward without further investigation being undertaken. The emerging preferred option now appears to be the contiguous piled wall, but a detailed method statement is not yet available. 7.12 It is clearly important that a suitable solution on the issue of slope stability is found and that any resultant planning matters (e.g. appearance of the retaining wall) can also be assessed. In the absence of a detailed method statement, there is insufficient information to make a recommendation of approval, especially in light of the fact that it is not possible for conditions to be attached.
The National Planning Policy Guidance on land stability indicates that an LPA needs to be satisfied that investigations identify that the risks are acceptable or that they may be appropriately mitigated. To secure this information it is vital that the Committee resolve that Prior Approval is required. This would allow the period to determine the application to be extended and it can then return to Committee for a decision at a later date, once the additional information is available. It is understood that the requisite further studies are underway and should be available in the next few weeks.
Restoration of the Site - 7.13 Apart from slope stability the other main issue is the appearance of the site following demolition. Not only is it a key location on the seafront, but it is adjacent to the Scarborough Conservation Area and it can be viewed within the context of nearby listed buildings. The Conservation Area includes St Nicholas Gardens, the slopes to the rear of the Futurist and the upper part of Blands Cliff. Nearby listed buildings include 1-7 Prospect Place, York House on King Street and the Town Hall, which are all at a higher level. The Council as LPA shall have special regard to the preserving or enhancing the character and appearance of conservation areas and preserving the setting of listed buildings.
7.14 Since this type of application presupposes that demolition can in principle take place, any decision can only really be based on the impact of proposed restoration of the site and not take into account the merits of building as it currently stands. The proposal would result in a relatively large area of hardstanding, to an extent mitigated by the proposed movable planters. However, this is considered to be preferable to the unkempt, unmade ground more characteristic of sites where demolition has occurred, or a site entirely surrounded by hoardings. Until a method statement to safeguard slope stability has been approved, it is not possible to have a clear understanding of the appearance of proposed retaining walls. These would likely to be clearly visible, so it is important that their materials/design are known before making a final decision on this application. This is a further reason for further details to be submitted and to be determined at a later date.
7.15 The hardstanding would gently slope in a seaward direction, allowing it to drain in the event of heavy rain or tidal flooding. The prior approval process cannot consider future use of the site, the precise nature of which is not yet known. If a temporary use/concession were to come forward, depending on its nature and duration, it may be permitted development or it could be subject of a separate planning application.
8.1 The only issues which may be considered as part of this prior approval application are the proposed method of demolition and site restoration, and subject to these points, they do not include the principle of demolition. A decision on whether Prior Approval is required is necessary within 28 days of the application being validated (i.e. at this meeting). Whilst officers are satisfied with some of the details provided, it is considered that more information relating to the methodology for maintaining slope stability and the eventual appearance of the retaining walls is needed. Prior approval of the application would in effect allow deferral to a later meeting when a second stage decision of can be made once these details have been submitted and assessed.
RECOMMENDATION : - PRIOR APPROVAL is required and a decision on the approval/refusal of details of the proposed method of demolition and site restoration shall be made at a later Committee meeting.
So, 50/50? and when it rains it pours ...