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Agenda item

Proposed Research Centre, Lakeside Way, Heslington, York [19/02540/REMM]

Reserved matters application for approval of siting, design, external appearance and landscaping of a  research centre building with associated access, cycle parking and landscaping following outline permission 15/02923/OUT [Hull Road Ward] [Site Visit]



Members considered a major reserved matters application from the University of York, for approval of siting, design, external appearance and landscaping of a  research centre building with associated access, cycle parking and landscaping following outline permission 15/02923/OUT.


Officers provided Members with an oral update on the application and reported that:


(i)           Paragraph 5.28 of the report should be deleted.


(ii)         they had revised the officer recommendation to:




The application be recommended for Approval following a statement from the University of York setting out the type and frequency of outdoor testing of autonomous vehicles.  This statement has been reviewed by officers, including the Council’s Ecologist.  The avoidance of the bird nesting season, which is the main potential impact has been addressed in this statement.  An additional condition and informative has been added as a consequence of this.


(iii)        That additional Information had been received from the applicant: the University of York Programme Manager for the Safe Autonomy research project had submitted a statement setting out the type and frequency of outdoor testing of autonomous vehicles.  


(iv)        An additional representation had been received from the Council’s Ecologist that testing will not take place in the nesting bird season this should avoid the main potential impact.  The applicant shall be advised of this via informative.


The Agent for the applicant Mr Graham Holbeck, spoke in support of the application.  On use of lake and landscaping Mr Holbeck explained that the applicant had an indicative landscaping plan which had indicated where trees could be accommodated.  This would be to the north east of the lake and to the south of the road.  The applicant was keen to maximise opportunities for further tree planting.  He outlined the sustainability strategy for the University.  The University has a Strategy Management Group, their development strategy is revised in consultation with Council Members where new developments are proposed.  In relation to building research establishment environmental assessment method (BREEAM), he was unable to confirm their energy efficiency status at the moment. 


Members sought assurances from the applicant that the proposal was energy efficient.  The Architect, who was present at the meeting, was able to provide specific assurances in this regard.  She explained that the building had been designed with passivhaus in mind.  A ‘fabric first’ approach had been taken to ensure the highest standard of building materials.  Careful consideration had been given to the ventilation system which uses the building structure effectively for cooling.  The ‘U values’ which provide an indication of how much heat loss happens through a given thickness of a material, were exceptionally high.


In response to questions from Members regarding the height and location of the proposal, the Agent for the applicant explained that they there was limited space and that the applicant had wanted to maximise the opportunity that this build had provided.  The second floor would provide a high altitude platform with a plinth that would be raised which would provide an opportunity to monitor the lake.  The location of this proposal was ideal in terms of viewing the lake and a good standard of nearby amenities such as drainage. 


During debate a Member explained that on a site visit Members had been shown a map of the original zones and could see that the road had taken a slightly different path.  The site had evolved.  For this reason some Members considered that the height of the building would not be a good reason to warrant refusal. 


Two Member’s considered that the applicant’s Architect had been able to provide more detailed information in relation to energy efficiency and sustainability which had not been reflected in the officer report.  They considered that these matters had been pertinent to their decision making in terms of the priorities of the Council and particularly relevant to the Council’s Climate Emergency declaration.  The Head of Development Services responded that the building research establishment environmental assessment method (BREEAM) was the respected standard for measuring energy efficiency.


It was moved and seconded that the application be Approved as set out in the officer report with the additional conditions and informative referred to in the officer update and it was therefore:




1.   That the Major Reserved Matters Application be Approved subject to the planning conditions listed in the report. 


2.   Delegated Authority be given to the Assistant Director responsible for Planning and Public Protection to:


(a)    agree and accept such information relating to protecting the biodiversity and habitat of the Lake and Lake’s edge as the Assistant Director responsible for Planning and Public Protection considers reasonably necessary and thereafter to approve the application as amended and grant conditional planning permission;


(b)    finalise the recommended conditions as set out in this report including such refinements, amendments, additions and/or deletions as the Assistant Director responsible for Planning and Public Protection considers reasonably necessary.


Reason for the conditions outlined in the officer report:


(i)           The principle of the use of the site as part of a new campus was accepted when the Secretary of State granted outline consent in 2007 (and subsequently amended). The application will comply with the requirement for the developed footprint not to exceed 23% of the total area.  The outline consent also imposed a number of conditions, relating to construction noise, plant and machinery, sustainability requirements whilst also establishing highways and drainage strategies, which this application will conform to. 

(ii)         There is however conflict with the proposed main safe autonomy building by virtue of the second floor not conforming to the height parameters set out in plan C (ii) of the outline consent.  The building has a specific function and this has directed its design.  There is general compliance with the design briefs and masterplan that set out the design principles of built development on the campus and further it is noted that the alignment of the main lake has been altered from its position on the building heights approved plan.  Taking these into consideration, and that the resultant building would be of high quality design and reflect the activity inside, on balance, the building is of appropriate design and scale in this location and the exceeding of the height parameters is considered acceptable in this respect. 

(iii)        The application indicates that there will be some water based testing/activities associated with the work undertaken within this research building, however the information has not been provided to ascertain whether this could have a harmful impact upon aquatic and lake edge and habitat and biodiversity.  Officers consider that further discussion relating to this could be addressed through appropriate management and the applicant has agreed to address this issue.

(iv)        Notwithstanding the above, the overall quality of the proposal and compliance with the outline consent and subsequent design briefs and masterplans, the proposals represent an acceptable form of development.    


3.   That the addition of the following conditions be confirmed:


(i)           Additional Condition referred to in the Minutes above: The development hereby permitted shall be carried out in accordance with the following plans:-


7642-FDG-DR-XX-XX-A-1102-S2-6 Rev 6 Site Plan


7642-FDG-DR-XX-XX-A-13100-2 Rev 3 GA Elevations – Sheet 1 (received 27.01.2020)


7642-FDG-DR-XX-XX-A-13305-1 Rev 1 Street Scape – Site South Elevation (received 27.01.2020)


7642-FDG-DR-XX-XX-A-13101-1 Rev 3 External Elevation Sheet 2 of 2 (received 27.01.2020)


7642-FDG-DR-XX-00-A-11100-S2-4 Rev 4 Level 0 – GA Plan


7642-FDG-DR-XX-01-A-11101-S2-4 Rev 4 Level 1 – GA Plan


7642-FDG-DR-XX-02-A-11102-S2-4 Rev 4 Level 2 – GA Plan


7642-FDG-DR-XX-03-A-11103-S2-4 Rev 4 Level Roof – GA Plan


7642-FDG-DR-XX-XX-A-12100-S2-1 GA Sections – Sheet 1


7642-FDG-DR-XX-XX-A-12101-S2-1 Rev 1 GA Sections – Sheet 2


7642-FDG-DR-XX-00-A-08011 External Store


Statement from the University of York Programme Manager for the Safe Autonomy research project (received 06 February 2020)




(i)           For the avoidance of doubt and to ensure that the development is carried out only as approved by the Local Planning Authority


(ii)         The use of the Lake for testing of autonomous systems (underwater or surface vehicles) shall at all times avoid the bird nesting season (between 1 March and 31 August inclusive).


(iii)      In order to protect the local ecology including protect nesting birds that nest on or near to the Lake in accordance with Policy GI1 Biodiversity and Access to Nature of the Council's 2018 Publication Draft Local Plan and Section 15 of the National Planning Policy Framework.

Supporting documents:


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