Gardens & wildlife

Carelet 2013 6 house proposal car-free


Carelet granted a car-free development

Carelet's application for 6 three-storey houses was decided by members of Brighton and Hove City Council's planning committee at their meeting on Wednesday 15th May 2013

8 members voted in favour, 1 (Round Hill's ward Councillor Ian Davey) voted against, 1 left the meeting early and 1 abstained.

BH2013/00139 differed from Carelet's unsuccessful 2010 proposal (BH2010/00083) only in one regard.

This new 6 three-storey house planning application was to be car-free, as was made possible for the first time in the context of Round Hill's CPZ, which was implemented in July 2013

The permission is subject to the condition that none of the development's prospective residents is entitled to a parking permit when Round Hill's CPZ is implemented in July 2013.

Both the Case Officer's report (The Plans List) and the officer's presentation omitted the most pertinent background information i.e. past Appeal Officers' views on whether a car-free condition could be sustained. Appeal Officers referred to the application site's hilly location and existing residents' dependence on car-use rather than bicycles. Two appeal inspectors made specific reference to the Council's policy (HO7) on car-free housing. This goes beyond the existence of a CPZ. The policy also requires the probability that the development would remain car-free over the long term. Both inspectors are of the opinion that Carelet's application site is unable to satisfy this requirement.

In promoting Carelet's application for 6-three storey houses, the Council Officers made no reference whatsoever to past appeal inspectors' concern that a car-free development on this site would not be sustainable in the long term.

The officers therefore left members of the planning committee under the impression that the existence of a CPZ was sufficient to address the central concern (impact on Round Hill's limited on-street parking space) which figured in all three inspectors' decisions to dismiss appeals against refusal.

Residents can make their own mind up by watching the Webcast of Planning Committee Meeting as to whether the officer's presentation accurately represented the position of the Appeal Inspectors.

Did the officer's presentation give members of the planning committee any outline of the TWO necessary conditions for genuine car-free housing? The appeal inspectors are not satisfied that there is genuine probability of sustaining car-free development on Carelet's application site over the long term. Therefore the second of the conditions set out in the Council's policy on car-free housing (HO7 in the Local Plan) cannot be met. This is quite apart from the CPZ, which was neither present nor in the pipeline when the 2005 and 2008 appeal decisions were made.

Lack of relevant guidance from The Officers brought the application to the vote before the central issue which differentiated it from the earlier refusal (+ dismissed appeal) had been explored. Nobody scratched the surface. There seemed to be quite a loss of concentration just before the vote was taken i.e. no questioning by any members of the planning committee on the central issue.

An intervention by Cllr Ian Davey on another tack reminded those present that prospective residents would be housed just 35 metres away from a Waste Transfer Station which existing residents at three times the distance away find noisy and smelly. This, coupled with a condition which may last over the short-term (stopping the developer from getting a higher price by claiming on-street parking space within the Area J CPZ) may leave us with another permission which turns out to be "unviable". Cllr Davey expressed a hope that the development would never be built.

The stalemate between the developer and local residents has lasted nearly ten years. Ten years ago, we had a good screen of trees between the greenfield application site and the two industrial estates.

A "barrier" would be OK here if it were made up of trees and not people's homes. Yet what we may get is another unviable permission and a developer asking for still more homes on an unsuitable site. Permission for 6 three-storey houses may not have ended this stalemate.

BH2013/00139 offers no on-street parking survey data whatsoever, but substitutes an expected CPZ which cuts off at 8pm each day When Carelet last put in this application for 6 three-storey houses (then BH2010/00083) they fell back on on-street parking space data collected when they successfully applied for 4 two-storey houses. Round Hill residents helped to get Carelet's appeal against refusal (of 6 three-storey houses) dismissed by the government's planning inspector. We submitted our own community parking survey demonstrating to the satisfaction of the appeal inspector the inadequacy of the developer's most recent survey data collected now over 4 years ago.

Carelet has offered no new survey data since. They have not even measured the added parking pressures in relation to displacement from The Viaduct-Rise area CPZ implemented on 27th September 2010.
9 of Carelet's "surplus" on-street parking spaces are outside or opposite 1 Mayo Road Flawed Survey Data
Most of the on-street spaces in the vicinity of the site which Carelet's transport identified as LEGAL/SAFE and AVAILABLE will be yellow lined under the CPZ expected in July 2013 Flawed Survey Data
The main changes in Carelet's 2013 application is that Round Hill is expected to belong to a CPZ.
The CPZ cuts off at 20:00 hrs, but peak difficulty remains until late in the evening
Note that the above data collected for Carelet was surveyed at 20:00 hours. The expected CPZ would cut off at 20:00 hours each day. The planning inspector who dismissed Carelet's appeal on the very same quantity of housing (identical application) commented in her decision that peak difficulties were experienced in the late evenings. See paragraph 19 of Isobel McCretton's Appeal Decision [APP/Q1445/A/10/2131115].

Nevertheless, the residents’ survey bears out the local concerns that demand for on-street parking is heaviest in the very late evening. More importantly, in my view it highlights the fact that, because of
the high demand, indiscriminate parking in places which could prejudice vehicle and pedestrian safety is already taking place: I observed several instances for myself within the study area during the daytime when going to and from my site visit.

Reversing the benefits of the expected CPZ
before it has even been implemented
No resident voted in favour of a scheme to reduce their parking stress only to have a developer who cannot offer any parking at all on their application site to increase parking stress within the Area J scheme by an estimated 9 extra spaces which would be claimed in the vicinity of Princes Road.

The Council has a need to roll out CPZs into neighbourhoods (Triangle / Hanover & Elm Grove / Preston Drove) which will suffer displacement from the latest round of extensions. However, if the invitation to residents is to patch up unsuitable development proposals and to have the benefits of reduced parking difficulty cancelled out by city cramming next to a Waste Transfer Station, then CPZs will surely fall into disrepute. That cannot be the purpose of parking schemes.

Government inspectorate does not see Carelet's application site as one where car-free housing would be probable to continue in the long run
In a a letter to the Council, Carelet attempts to gain the officers support for their 6 three-storey house proposal without a condition being imposed that the development should be car-free. The same proposal has already refused by elected Councillors with residents' concerns about parking being the reason why the developer's appeal against refusal was dismissed.

When The Plans List for the meeting on 15th May is published, we will know if support for the proposals (by the officers who supported it last time round without such restriction) is conditional on the development now being car-free.

If this is the case, the officers' recommendation would only partially satisfy the Council's own policy HO7 on CAR FREE HOUSING, as the latter requires both [1] the presence of a CPZ allowing the Council to control entitlement to permits and [2] the probability that the development would remain car free in the long-run.

The second requirement of policy HO7 would never be satisfied in the view of government planning inspector, J Mansell Jagger, who dismissed Carelet's very first appeal against refusal. See paragraph 16 of J Mansell Jagger's Appeal Decision [APP/Q1445/A/05/1178381]: Local residents are particularly concerned regarding traffic and pressure on parking in the area. I have to say that I share some of these concerns. It is not clear that the development could be guaranteed to remain ‘traffic free’ and that none of the residents would own or use cars. The existing residents rely heavily on on-street parking and any significant additional car usage would exacerbate the pressure for parking in the area, with the concomitant additional hazards to road safety stemming from possible indiscriminate parking and the circulation of vehicle drivers seeking a parking space. Prince's Road and several of the surrounding streets slope steeply and are not ideal terrain for cyclists or pedestrians. I note that the Highway Authority does not object, providing the details of the car club are pursued further, but the lack of a guaranteed traffic-free solution reinforces my view that the proposed development is unacceptable.

Council transport team's support for Carelet's schemes conflicts with the positions of three Appeal Inspectors
Although parking stress in Round Hill is greater now than it was six years ago, it is worth quoting the second Roger Mather’s Appeal Decision [APP/Q1445/A/08/2073223] in this context.

This relates to one of Carelet's unsuccessful applications (BH2007/04444) which (if permitted) would have generated an estimated demand for 7 on-street parking spaces. 13. Earlier applications were not refused on their traffic Impacts but the previous Inspector, when dismissing an appeal against a refusal to grant planning permission for 30 flats, considered that the lack of a guaranteed traffic-free scheme reinforced his view that the proposed development was unacceptable.

The appellant company contends that its vehicle parking beat survey identified sufficient on-street parking for occupants of the houses, within easy walking distance, that would not give rise to any material harm or inconvenience to existing residents. However, observations during the visit lead me to believe that there is merit in the argument that inadequate on-site parking would lead to further on-street parking. In an area suffering a degree of parking stress.

14. It does seem to me that it is stretching credibility to suggest that there is sufficient on-street space to provide for travel demand from eight family houses, estimated at seven cars, based on one beat survey undertaken during the early hours, on one weekday in August. Moreover, the Survey showed only 8 spaces available within 100m of the site. A further 16 were available within a 400m walk of the site. I think that would be woefully inadequate to mitigate the harm at other times, outside the holiday season, when demand would be expected to increase. It flows from this that in the absence of controls to ensure a genuinely car free scheme, one Car Club space would be inadequate.

15. I conclude on the third issue that without a guarantee that the development would be genuinely car free, it would be likely to exacerbate parking stress in the area, sufficient to warrant withholding planning permission. The requirements of Local Plan Policies TR19 and HO7 (b) would not be satisfied.

We ask the planning committee to favour the positions taken by three appeal inspectors instead of folowing the recommendations of The Council's Transport Team which override local residents' legitimate concerns
Proposal BH2013/00139 still does not provide for the future travel and parking demands which would be created as a result of the development.
We urge members of the planning committee to stand by the appeal decision on the 6 three-storey houses which continues to identify the main inadequacy of the application site. Carelet's submitted an 8-page letter to the Council to the Council after the formal 3-week consultation period for residents' comments was completed. This was an attempt to persuade the Council's officers to recommend to elected members on the planning committee that the application for 6 three-storey houses should be granted without a car-free component. However, the context of the CPZ is not relevant to the Council's policy on car-free housing UNLESS it is also probable that an application site would remain car-free in the long-run. In the view of the planning inspectorate, this probability is missing.

New noise assessment Although the proximity of Carelet's application to Hollingdean Depot was not upheld by the planning inspectorate as a reason for refusal, The Council has recently required Carelet to update their Noise Assessment. A further assessment of daytime noise levels was requested in the context of a worst case scenario e.g. if the MRF and WTS were to extend their current operating hours (Mon to Fri 06:30 to 19:00) to 06:30 to 22:00 seven days a week.

The summary and conclusions of this latest Noise Assessment (PDF) are on page 17 of 40 pages. Velfac 200 Sound Reduction Windows are proposed for the whole development and it is recommended that windows facing the railway line, MRF and WTS achieve an accoustic performance of at least 33 Rw. In addition, the Noise Assessment concludes that "acceptable external noise levels to the rear garden areas are also met". Existing residents whose homes and gardens are significantly further away from The Waste Transfer Station have different definitions of "acceptable".

This page was last updated by Ted on 08-Dec-2018
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