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Agenda item

Aubrey House, Foss Islands Road, York YO31 7UP [20/01200/FULM]

Erection of 5 storey student accommodation building with

associated car parking following demolition of existing buildings.

[Guildhall Ward]



Members considered a major full application from Urbanite, S & J D Robertson Group Ltd And Portman Land Ltd for the erection of 5 storey student accommodation building with associated car parking following demolition of existing buildings at Aubrey House, Foss Islands Road, York, YO31 7UP.


The Head of Planning and Development Services gave a presentation on the application. She then gave an update to Members advising that further comments had been received from York Civic Trust, the submission of revised plans for the application, and proposed additional conditions on the flood evacuation plan, cycle parking, and removal of a redundant crossing. She also advised Members of the following change to the recommendation:

In light of the urgent decision making procedures contained within the Council’s Constitution being invoked, this Planning Committee meeting will be held remotely. Upon considering the Application, Members will make a recommendation as to whether they are minded to approve or refuse the Officer’s recommendation. The outcome of this meeting will then be communicated to the Chief Operating Officer who will make the formal decision taking into account views of the Members.

She then outlined the recommendation to the Chief Operating Officer should Members agree.


At this point the Chair advised Members that following consultation with the Vice Chair, Chief Planning Officer (Head of Planning and Development Services), and Monitoring Officer, there was agreement on the change of procedure at the meeting to take public participants on the application first, followed by Member questions to the public participant and Officers.


Public Speaker

Emma Lancaster, Agent for the Applicant, spoke in support of the application. She explained that the applicant had a strong track record of student accommodation, including the Courtyard student accommodation in York. She noted that it was high quality accommodation. She noted that whilst Aubrey House was a reminder of the past, it was not listed and that the building behind it was temporarily used by a community group but was not suitable for community use.


In response to Member questions, Emma Lancaster explained that:

·        The layout of the cycle parking store was devised working with highways officers and as a result the cycle parking on ground level had increased. There were single and two tier cycle racks.

·        Regarding there being no windows on the rear elevation, it was the relationship with the building to the rear that led to the blank elevation to avoid the sense of overlooking into the building behind.

·        The accessible rooms on the ground, first, and second floors were in proximity to the central lift and there was level access from the car park to those rooms, which were fully DDA compliant.


In response to Member questions, Officer clarified that:

·        There was a mix of accommodation on the site, with eleven cluster flats providing 62 bed spaces. There was also communal space and a terrace. Some rooms were smaller and some larger as was the mix of other student accommodation across the city. Officers did not have any concerns about the communal space.

·        Concerning the environmental impact of demolition, there was no reason in planning policy not to allow demolition. There was no current reference to the use of environmental impact assessments in the NPPF.


[Cllr D’Agorne left the meeting at 17:20]


Planning Officers were satisfied with the revisions to the plans put forward and felt that the reduction in size and height were sufficient.

·        Regarding flooding, the lower ground floor was designed to flood and there was a flood evacuation plan.

·        The layout of the cluster flats was explained.

·        Aubrey House was a C19 building and was last in residential use. Regarding the use of the building behind Aubrey House, this was a C20 building and was last in community use in 2020 and had ceased because of asbestos. The users of that building had found alternative use at 52A Stonegate.

·        The proposed change to the condition regarding cycle parking (as detailed in the committee update) was for 81 cycle spaces.

·        Regarding the comments made by York Civic Trust, the committee needed to consider the application before it.

·        Public Protection had received no complaints regarding noise and noise was conditioned with a management plan.

Cllr Pavlovic moved and the Chair seconded the recommendation to the Chief Operating Officer to delegate authority to the Head of Planning and Development Services to approve the application. After debate and on being put to the vote with all being unanimously in favour, it was:


Resolved: That the Chief Operating Officer delegate authority be given to the Head of Planning and Development Services to APPROVE the application subject to:


a) The completion of a Section 106 Agreement to secure the following planning obligations:

·        Open Space £12,231 improve the amenity open space within the nearby St Nicholas Fields.

·        Travel Plan £10,000 towards the City of York Travel Plan support

·        Traffic Regulation Order £6,000 towards a review of parking/ loading restrictions on Mansfield street and Foss Islands Road in the vicinity of the site and associated Traffic Regulation Order


b) The conditions set out in the case officers report

ii) The Head of Planning and Development Services be given delegated authority to finalise the terms and details of the Section 106 Agreement.


c) Condition 23 being amended to being in perpetuity.



     i.        The application site is in a sustainable location. The site is within Flood Zone 3 would not increase flood risk elsewhere. The proposal meets the requirements of the NPPF sequential and exception tests (as set out above) and is acceptable when considered against national planning policy on flood risk, the sequential and exceptions tests are passed. The proposed development is not considered to result in harm to residential amenity or highway safety, nor would the proposal have an unacceptable impact on ecology on or adjacent to the site.


    ii.        The loss of the Audbury house is considered to result in harm to the setting of the Central Historic Core Conservation Area. 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 1990 Act. The finding of harm to a heritage asset gives rise to a strong presumption against planning permission being granted. Where a development proposal will lead to less than substantial harm to the significance of a heritage asset, this harm should be weighed against the public benefits of the proposal. The proposal would provide student accommodation where there is need for university accommodation within the city, and would benefit the wider housing supply. On balance it is considered that the public benefits of the scheme outweighs the aforementioned specified harm.


[The meeting adjourned from 17:44 to 17:53, during which time Cllr Hollyer left the meeting]


Supporting documents:


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