Agenda item

15/00692/FUL - Memorial Wing, Peterborough District Hospital, Thorpe Road, Peterborough

Minutes:

The planning application was for the construction of a new community primary school at the Memorial Wing, Peterborough District Hospital, Thorpe Road. The application included the retention of the Midland Road façade of the Memorial Hall building, and all associated landscaping, car parking and boundaries.

 

It was officer’s recommendation that planning permission be granted, subject to the conditions set out in the report. The Principle Development Management Officer provided an overview of the application and highlighted a number of key issues within the report and update sheet.

 

Councillor Fitzgerald, Ward Councillor, addressed the Committee and responded to questions from Members. In summary the key points highlighted included:

·         When the outline proposals were first granted, it was intended to retain as much of the heritage asset on site as possible. The fabric of the building, however, was in poor condition.

·         The application was a matter of balance and the proposals were considered appropriate.

·         The Council’s Heritage Team recognised the proposal as the best option.

·         In relation to the traffic measures proposed, concerns had been addressed and solutions proposed. It was not expected that traffic would increase a significant amount.

·         The memorial plaques were to be reinstated within the new building.

 

John Dadge, on behalf of Hunt and Coombs Solicitors, addressed the Committee in support of the application and responded to questions from Members. In summary the key points highlighted included:

·         Reservations had been held in relation to the highways issues, however this issues had been addressed by the applicant and an acceptable scheme was reached. As such, previous objections had been withdrawn.

·         The Thorpe Road / Thorpe Lea Road still needed designing. The applicant should be mindful that provision should be made to accommodate a right turn, with hatching or a ‘keep clear’ section.

·         It was suggested that if the right turn was extended, this would also be able to serve the Register Office.

 

Councillor Murphy and Dan Windwood addressed the Committee in objection to the application and responded to questions from Members. In summary the key points highlighted included:

·         Councillor Murphy suggested that to rely on the issue of structural integrity in case of a vehicle collision, when the building was set so far back from the road, was not relevant.

·         It was thought that, considering the air quality of the area, Thorpe Road was not the right place for a school.

·         It was believed that providing space for children to play was more important than car parking provision on the site.

·         The crossing points outlined in the report were mentioned and it was subsequently questioned where the proposed playing fields for the school would be located.

·         It was suggested that the proposal should be reworked and funding be used instead to increase the size of the playing fields. 

·         Councillor Murphy believed that traffic would increase.

·         Dan Windwood raised concerns following those set out by the 20th Century Society. It was suggested that public benefit would be achieved by the retention and strengthening of the Memorial Wing.

·         It was considered that a war memorial should not be treated in such a wasteful manner. Mr Windwood believed that the retention of the whole structure was important to keep a tribute to a working building and not just a façade.

 

The Committee accepted that decision relating to historic buildings would always be difficult, however the proposed school required a workable, safe building. It was considered that the proposals would keep the sentiment and historic memory of the building, while maintaining its use.

 

The Principal Engineer (Highway Control) commented that hatched yellow grids were limited to use within junctions, but that a ‘keep clear’ area could be investigated. A right turn to serve the Register Officer was not possible, as there was insufficient highway land width to this area. It was further noted that, on page 6 of the report, “a crossing point on Midland Road,” should read, “a crossing point on Thorpe Road”. It was further explained that reducing the occurrence of illegal manoeuvres at the Midland / Thorpe Road junction was part of the proposed alterations.

 

A motion was proposed and seconded to agree that permission be granted, as per officer recommendation. The motion was carried unanimously.

 

RESOLVED: (unanimous) that planning permission is GRANTED subject to the conditions set out in the report.

 

Reasons for the decision

 

Subject to the imposition of the conditions set out in the report, the proposal was acceptable having been assessed in light of all material considerations, including weighing against relevant policies of the development plan and specifically:

 

·         The principle of locating a school on this site was established by the granting of outline planning permission. The development would help meet the existing demand for school places and also the demand which would be created when the hospital site was redeveloped. The proposal therefore accorded with the National Planning Policy Framework and policy CS13 of the adopted Core Strategy.

·         Notwithstanding the concerns which have been raised the traffic impacts of the development were considered to be acceptable given the context of the previous use of the site as a hospital. The changes to the Midland Road junction would help prevent illegal manoeuvres into and out of the road and the inclusion of a pedestrian crossing as part of the signalisation of the Thorpe Road/ Thorpe Lea Road junction would ensure a safe route to the Thorpe Meadows where the school’s playing fields would be located in the future. On-site parking would be provided for staff, the level of which was considered to be acceptable. In addition, new parking bays would be created on Midland Road which could be used for drop off and pick up. As such the proposal was considered to accord with policy PP12 and PP13 of the adopted Planning Policies DPD. The development would also be subject to a Travel Plan and Parking Management Plan in accordance with policy CS14 of the adopted Core Strategy.

·         Notwithstanding the objection received the impact of the development upon the non-designated heritage asset was on balance considered to be acceptable given the benefits to the scheme which the proposal approach would bring. The design of the new build was also considered to achieve a satisfactory relationship with the locally listed building. The proposal was therefore considered to accord with paragraph 135 of the National Planning Policy Framework, policy CS16 of the adopted Core Strategy and polices PP2 and PP17 of the adopted Planning Policies DPD.

·         Subject to noise attenuation measures an appropriate environment would be provided for the children. It was also not considered that there would be any adverse impact upon neighbouring residents. The proposal therefore accorded with polices PP3 and PP4 of the adopted Planning Policies DPD.

·         The application sought to retain the key protected trees within the site and there would not be any adverse ecological issues. Subject to conditions the proposal was therefore considered to accord with policy PP16 of the adopted Planning Polices DPD.

·         The site could be adequately drained and the detailed proposal would include measures to promote sustainability. The proposal therefore complied with policies CS10 and CS22 of the adopted Core Strategy.

 

Supporting documents: