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Agenda item

Coal Yard, 11 Mansfield Street, York, YO31 7US (15/01571/FULM)

Erection of four storey block for student accommodation (84 units) following demolition of existing building. [Guildhall Ward]


Members considered a major full application by Horwell Bros Ltd for the erection of a four storey block for student accommodation (84 units) following the demolition of the existing building.

Members were reminded that consideration of this application had been deferred by Planning Committee on 18 August 2016 to enable further liaison to take place between the applicant and officers in order to seek satisfactory details of a  flood evacuation plan. They advised that the site was within flood zone 3a, with a high risk of flooding, and the proposal was classed as a “more vulnerable” use. The building itself was flood resilient with floor levels set 600mm above the 1 in 100 year flood level. The key issue was to ensure that occupants could safely evacuate the building in the event of a flood.

Officers confirmed that a flood evacuation plan had now been received, details of which were set out in paragraph 4.44 of the report. Although the preference was for a “dry” evacuation route to be established, this would have passed over adjacent land that was not within the ownership or control of the applicant. The applicant had investigated this option but had been unable to reach agreement with adjacent landowners in order to secure such a route. Officers advised that the revised evacuation plan would therefore consist of:

·        Two site wardens who would be in attendance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with flood warden duties including sweep clearance of the building once occupants had been evacuated

·        A flood evacuation mode for the fire alarm system

·        Environment Agency flood evacuation training for all residents and staff at the start of each academic year and for mid term occupants and new staff

·        Shuttle transfer from the site to a designated muster point in flood zone 1

Officers advised that condition 26 required the flood evacuation plan to be fully operational upon occupation of the building, and also required floor levels to be no less than 10.96m AOD, 600mm above the 1 in 10 year flood level.

Although concerns were still raised by the Council`s Emergency Planning officers in that it may create a demand for assistance from the emergency services should anyone become stranded in the building, the Environment Agency raised no objections and were involved in drafting the revised flood evacuation plan.

With the revised evacuation plan in place, officers confirmed that they considered that the development satisfied the requirements of the exception test therefore they recommended approval with a minor amendment to condition 25.

A registration to speak at the meeting in relation to student accommodation had been received from Mr Ward, a local resident, but he did not attend the meeting.

Mr Bob Beal, the applicant’s agent, addressed the committee in support of the application. He advised Members that he had worked closely with officers to resolve design issues. He acknowledged the concerns with regard to use of the site as employment land and assured Members that alternative uses for the site had been evaluated but little potential for continuation of its existing use or other employment uses had been found. He advised that the site was sustainably located, the building had been designed with flood resilient construction and the detailed flood evacuation plan had been accepted. The development would support the further education sector and relieve pressure on traditional residential accommodation in York.

Members acknowledged that this site was classed as an employment site within the draft local plan but that limited options had been found for reuse of this site. They accepted that Foss Islands Road/Layerthorpe had mixed use, with good access to the city centre and York St John University and the proposed use would be an acceptable alternative use of a brownfield site. Members acknowledged  that both universities were expanding and that without purpose built student accommodation, there would be further pressure on residential areas and houses in multiple occupation (HMOs).

Resolved:  That the application be approved subject to the conditions listed in the report and the amended condition below:

Amended Condition 25

Notwithstanding the provisions of The Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 (as amended) (or any order revoking or re-enacting that Order with or without modification), the development hereby the development hereby approved shall be used only as student accommodation and for no other purpose. It shall only be let to or hired by and occupied by either students engaged in full time further or higher education within the City of York administrative boundary or who are delegates attending part time courses or conferences within the city, and shall not be used for any other purpose.


Reason: For the avoidance of doubt and In order to control the future occupancy of the development in the event of it any part of it being sold or rented on the open market without securing adequate levels of open space, education provision and affordable housing in accordance with Policy H2a of the City of York Draft Local Plan. In addition the site is located within flood zone 3a and the sites use for other uses within Class C2 would need to set out emergency procedures in the event of flood.

Reason:     The site is previously developed land, sustainably located close to the city centre. The principle of encouraging the effective use of land by reusing land that has been previously developed is supported by the NPPF. Student housing can relieve the pressure on ‘traditional’ housing and provide a level of employment; The NPPF seeks to boost significantly the supply of housing and to encourage sustainable economic uses as such the general thrust of the NPPF is supportive of the development proposed. 

Based on the evidence submitted and the comments of policy the loss of the employment site is supported.

DCLP policy ED10 (Student Housing) says planning applications for off campus residential accommodation on windfall sites should meet a series of criteria. The applicant must demonstrate an identified need for the development and give consideration to accessibility to educational establishments by means other than the car, the scale and location of the development should be acceptable and the impact on the amenity of nearby residents should not be detrimental. Car parking must also be satisfactorily managed. In accordance with policy ED10 it is considered that the applicant has shown that there is a need for the development. Furthermore it is considered that the site has an acceptable relationship to adjacent development and will not impact on residential amenity. Management of car parking would be conditioned. The application is considered to comply with the requirements of policy ED10.

Following receipt of the revised comprehensive evacuation plan the flood risk assessment and application is considered to pass the exceptions test in accordance with the requirements of the NPPF.

Supporting documents:


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