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Agenda item

St Georges Field Car Park, Tower Street, York [19/02063/FULM]

Erection of 5 level multi-storey car park with canopy to roof to provide 372 no. car parking spaces, demolition of public toilet, revised highway access and associated landscaping works [Fishergate Ward]

Minutes:

Members considered a Major Full Application from Mr Andy Kerr for the Erection of 5 level multi-storey car park with canopy to roof to provide 372 no. car parking spaces, demolition of public toilet, revised highway access and associated landscaping works at St Georges Field Car Park, Tower Street, York. This application was deferred from the committee meeting held on 19 November 2020.

 

As a point of clarification, Members were advised that the applicant’s response to the justification of parking need as detailed in the second paragraph under section 1 of the committee report should not have been underlined and was done so in error and was not a point of emphasis. With regarding to the implied 1% council tax rise within that paragraph, Members were advised that this was not a planning consideration and should not be taken into account in their determination of the application. A number of Member expressed concern about this, as well as the comments submitted by York Civic Trust concerning the demand for parking provision and asked whether the application should be deferred for those reasons. They were advised that these should be disregarded and should not be given weight during debate.

 

The Head of Development Services provided an update to the Committee noting the amendment to text of Condition 34 (security condition), and additional comments further to review of proposed security Condition 34 from  North Yorkshire Police (NYP) - Secured by Design Officer. They expressed concern about the lack of physical protection for the structure, and considered that 24/7 staffing would be required. Whilst recognising that periodic flooding was is a constraint in needing the ground floor to be left open sided and external stairway to a viewing platform, NYP did not support this due to concerns about potential antisocial and criminal behaviour.

 

York Civic Trust had also provided further comments further to the justification for parking provision provided by the applicant on 18 December 2020 in which it supported ambitions of the masterplan, and commented on the parking need and access and design. It suggested that a review of supply and demand for parking provision should be carried out as part of the Local Transport Plan.

It was confirmed that the additional information has been assessed and the planning balance and recommendation are unchanged from the published report.

 

The Head of Development Services gave a presentation on the application detailing the site location plan, proposed elevations, proposed sections, proposed solar canopy, vehicular access plan, tree constraints plan and visualisations. Following the presentation, officers were asked and clarified:

The comments of the Design and Sustainability Manager

How pedestrians route to the super crossing to Skeldergate Bridge (which was conditioned under Condition 16)

The comments of the North Yorkshire Police (NYP) - Secured by Design Officer regarding the car park being unsafe in the planning balance. There was a need to take into account the mitigation measures (for example the condition regarding security) in the planning balance. [At this point the Senior Solicitor undertook to seek further legal advice on the liability of the council to potential victims of crime at the car park]

The views of the Conservation Archtiect as one of the consultees. The Conservation Architect noted his main concern in relation to the solar array.

 

[The meeting adjourned from 17:17 to 17:33]

 

Public Speakers

Gwen Swinburn expressed concern over a number of administrative matters concerning the omission of the meeting minutes at which the item was deferred, the reason for the absence of Executive Members, the absence of the parking needs appraisal, and reference to the 1% council tax rise and due diligence on reports from Corporate Directors.

Lynette Mills spoke in objection to the application. Citing the council’s declaration of a climate emergency, she suggested that the multi storey car park (MSCP) was contradictory to outcome 5 regarding sustainable transport. She noted that more cars into the city centre would increase congestion and reduce air qulity as not every driver would drive an electric car. The noted that it was a short term approach.

Johnny Hayes spoke in objection to the application. He expressed concern that the reason for the deferral of the application had not been addressed or included. He cited research which provided information on occupation analysis and impact of the closure of the car park. He suggested that the car park would be underused and noted that his main objection was the harm to heritage assets. In answer to questions from Members he confirmed that he was still the Chair of Indy York and that the work they had done on car usage showed that it was low at peak periods and people did not like using MSCP.

 

John Hey (Economics Professor and resident living opposite the proposed car park) spoke in objection to the application. He noted that it would take several years for the trees to grow around the car park. He asked whether a proper cost benefit had been undertaken and expressed concern that the car park would be demolished in 20 years. He was asked and noted that the car park could operate at a loss.

Peter Mills spoke in objection to the application. He suggested that there was a north – south divide in the city and he could not see how building a MSCP would address dereliction at that side of York. He expressed concern regarding crime and how this may contribute to the dereliction of the area.

Juliette James (York Cycle Campaign - YCC) spoke in objection to the application. She cited paragraphs 108a and 108c of the NPPF and asked what the level of footfall and number of cyclists would be on the shared path and asked who had been consulted on this. She advised that YCC was in favour of a separate cycle and pedestrian path and she highlighted principle 6 of the government ‘gear change’ for inclusion in council policies. She urged deferral of the application for more work on the walk/cycle aspects of the scheme to be undertake

Andrew Lowson (York BID) spoke in support of the application. He explained that York BID had engaged with My Castle Gateway consultation and supported the application on the basis of the benefits it brought to the city, including the quality of public realm and car parking it provided. He explained that to not provide parking at that location would be damaging. He was asked for his opinion on why Piccadilly car park was underused and he noted that a better quality of occupancy was needed, adding that the car parking strategy took a strategic look at this. He added caution to generalising the use of car parks without the data.

Paul Lambert (York Museums Trust – YMT) spoke in support of the application. He noted that YMT had worked closely with the council on the Castle Gateway masterplan, particularly in relation to the new public realm. He noted that the car park was seen as an essential part of that redevelopment to the Castle Museum. He was asked and confirmed that alternative uses of transport were encouraged to visitors and he recognised that visitors had a choice in their method of transport.

Andy Kerr (Applicant, City of York Council) spoke in support of the application. He explained that the creation of the new public realm relocated the car park and would create a new public space. He noted that key stakeholders would only support the closure of the castle car park with the installation of the car park at St George’s Field. He outlined the benefits of the new car park including the creation a new cycle route, which he acknowledged had constraints and he added that the council would work with cycle groups on this. Addressing security concerns he noted the condition on security and he noted that the car park was key to the realisation of the Castle Gateway masterplan.

 In response to Member questions he clarified that:

The car park would be monitored 24 hours a day and would be patrolled with incidents responded to.

The external staircase copied those in other locations and should there be problems at a night time, this could look to be closed.

The car park could be accessed 24 hours a day.

The applicant had been clear on the drivers for the scheme in terms of strategic and business need, both of which were not necessarily a planning consideration.

 

+ colleagues available to answer questions:

Duncan MacKay

Steve Marshall

In support - Andy Kerr is the named applicant for CYC and application forms part of implementing the masterplan and deal with specific issues which have come up during the determination of the planning applications

 

Cllr Fenton then moved and Cllr Fisher seconded approval of the application subject to the conditions outlined in the report and additional information. Following debate, and in accordance with the revised Standing Orders, a named vote was taken with the following result:

·        Cllr Craghill abstained

·        Cllrs Daubeney, Doughty, Fenton, Fisher, Hollyer, Wann, Widdowson and Cullwick voted for the motion;

·        Cllrs Douglas, Kilbane, Lomas, Myers, Pavlovic and Warters voted against the motion.

 

The motion was therefore carried and it was

 

Resolved: That the application be approved subject to the conditions listed in the report,

 

Amendment to text of Condition 34 (security condition) to read as follows;

 

Notwithstanding the details submitted, before the development is brought into use, a scheme for security at the site shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. The approved scheme shall be fully implemented before the use hereby permitted comes into operation. 6 months after the development is brought into use, a review of the implemented security measures to include an assessment of the adequacy of these measures and recommendations to improve the security of the site, if deemed required, shall be submitted to and agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority. The approved review and any agreed recommendations to improve security, shall be implemented within 3 months of the date the review is agreed in writing with the Local Planning Authority. The approved security measures shall be retained and maintained for the lifetime of the development.

 

Reason; In the interests of security at the site and in accordance with Section 8 of the NPPF and Policy D1 of the 2018 Draft Plan which advises that developments should be designed to reduce crime and the fear of crime and promote public safety throughout the day and night.

 

 

Reasons

     i.        The proposed development forms a key component of the York Castle Gateway Masterplan development proposals, which are addressed in Policy SS5 of the 2018 Draft Plan and offers the opportunity for alternative car parking arrangements to replace the existing parking at Castle car park.  The site falls within Flood Risk 3 and lies in a sensitive location within the New Walk Terrace / Terry Avenue Conservation Area and in the Area of Archaeological Importance.  In accordance with paragraph 11 of the NPPF, the more restrictive heritage assets and flood risk policies in the NPPF apply. The proposal, by virtue of its scale and massing, would result in harm to the setting of a number of designated and non-designated (archaeology) heritage assets.

 

    ii.        The Courts have held that when a local planning authority finds that a proposed development would harm a heritage asset the authority must give considerable importance and weight to the desirability of avoiding such harm to give effect to its statutory duties under sections 66 and 72 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990. The harm to result is considered to be less than substantial and is outweighed by the environmental and social benefits associated with the closure of the Castle car park and improvements to pedestrian and cycle connectivity within the wider neighbourhood. Whilst the harm is assessed as being less than substantial, such harm has been afforded considerable importance and weight in the overall planning balance.

 

  iii.        As set out in section 5, other identified potential harms to flood risk, highway safety, visual and residential amenity and other environmental matters could be adequately mitigated by conditions.

 

Supporting documents:

 

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