Agenda item

Enterprise Rent-a-car, 15 Foss Islands Road, York YO31 7UL [23/01647/FULM] (16:36)

Erection of 3, 4, and 5 storey student accommodation building with associated car parking and access following demolition of existing buildings [Guildhall Ward]


Members considered a full application from British Sugar for the erection of 3, 4, and 5 storey student accommodation building with associated car parking and access following demolition of existing buildings at Enterprise Rent-a-car, 15 Foss Islands Road, York.


The Principal Officer Development Management outlined the application noting the reason for refusal in July 2023. He gave a presentation on the application noting the changes in floor plans and how these had been amended following the July 2023 refusal. He was asked and demonstrated the surrounding building heights in relation to the building. He was asked and explained that all of the rooms in the building were self contained studio rooms and there was a condition for a detailed planting scheme.


Graeme Holbeck, Planning Consultant for the applicant, spoke in support of the application. He explained that the previous application for 136 bedrooms had been refused and an appeal for this had been lodged. The present application amended to a reduction to 133 rooms with additional communal facilities, a additional lift, and increased accessible car parking spaces (three spaces plus a maintenance space). He added that information regarding employment uses had been submitted and the application included a contribution to affordable housing. He detailed the building materials noting that the building was  BREEAM excellent. He noted that the application made efficient use of a brownfield site.


Graeme Holbeck was joined by Matt Parkins (Scheme Architect) to answer Member questions regarding their submission. They were asked and explained:

·        How the student management plan would work. It was noted that this was produced by Hello Student, the operator of the accommodation.

·        How the accessible car parking spaces would be used for drop offs.

·        That there were two other sites managed by the same operator.

·        All student drop off times would be allotted.

·        The access car parking spaces were compliant.

·        The retention of the cobbled sets depended on whether they could be reused.

·        Provision for wildlife was identified in the ecology report.

·        Students would be notified that there was no car parking on site. In response from a comment from the Chair, they undertook to feedback concerns regarding parking to the operator.

·        The size of the rooms had not been reduced and were 20m2 with 40% of rooms bigger than that.

·        All rooms were self-contained with a kitchenette and there was a private dining space on the communal area.

·        The roof protection was shown on the boundary.

·        Regarding affordability, students could apply for funding to help with their rent.

[At this point in the meeting, officers demonstrated the layout of rooms].

·        The three rooms in the first floor made into communal space was structural.

·        Regarding the loss of employment land they were not aware of any further expressions of interest and had submitted a statement which made a robust case for meeting the requirements for this.

·        There had not been any further of the site for employment and the applicant had used the CYC Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) charging schedule and it was explained why the use of class B was not viable on the site.

·        The site was previously marketed by the previous site owner.

·        Regarding provision for nesting birds on the site, there was limited vegetation on site. Demolition was likely to start after summer and if was outside this time the ecologist would be on site to advise.

[At this point, the room plans were demonstrated on screen and it was confirmed that that these were as the previous application].

·        The accessible rooms were distributed around the buildings and met building regulations.

·        At that point in time, the accommodation was not linked to York St John University.


Members then asked officers a number of questions to which they responded that:

·        They were satisfied that the employment land assessment was policy compliant and an explanation of this was given.

·        Student car ownership was usually written into the tenancy agreement. There were conditions for travel plans and travel surveys showed that with that type of site students should not have cars. Regarding whether this could be required as part of the tenancy agreement, the Chair noted that this would be difficult to enforce and meet the test of whether it was a reasonable requirement.

·        Regarding whether the committee could set a timescale for the marketing of the site as an employment as an employment site, officers detailed the reasons for the refusal of the application in July 2023. The Chair noted that the test of policy EC2 was discussed at that meeting and the Head of Planning and Development Services read out policy EC2 regarding the loss of employment land.

·        Reference was made to Local Plan policy H7 regarding the provision of student accommodation on campus and Members were advised that it was not possible to understand how university accommodation on campus would be developed in the future and that officers had made a balanced judgement on the application. It was noted that the application had been looked at with the Local Plan team.

·        It was confirmed that York University East Campus was not completely built and it was confirmed that it wasn’t. The Chair noted the  limitation given to Local Plan policy H7 and he suggested that information regarding student accommodation needed to be included in future committee reports.

·        The information regarding similar student accommodation in Leeds was to illustrate a baseline.

·        It was explained that the use of the S106 funding would be determined by the housing delivery team.

·        It was clarified that the Victorian Society was not a statutory consultee and the committee needed to take into account the comments of consultees.


During debate, the Chair reminded the Members that the officer recommendation needed to be tested first. The Head of Planning and Development Services advised why the committee could only afford Local Plan policy H7 limited weight. Cllr Fisher proposed the officer recommendation to approve the application. This was seconded by Cllr Steward. The Head of Planning and Development Services clarified that it was expected that affordable housing would be created using contributions from student housing. She was asked and confirmed that it would not be reasonable to condition an accommodation nomination. On being put to the vote with ten votes in favour and one abstention, it was: 



1.   That delegated authority be given to the Head of Development Services to APPROVE the application subject to the completion of a Section 106 Agreement; to make that existing legal agreement applicable to this application, and for the Head of Planning and Development Services be given delegated authority to finalise the terms and details of the Section 106 Agreement and the planning conditions.


2.   The s73 permission will repeat the same conditions as attached to the original outline permission, the conditions are only varied to incorporate the revised plans and condition 12 to include the agreed bee bank SINC protection measures.




1.   This application is made only to vary the existing outline planning consent to update the phasing plan, so phase 1 is infrastructure only (access road and public open space) and to vary the parameter plans and the details of the spine road / main street.  No material changes to the planning obligations are proposed or necessary.  Conditions are only updated to reference the revised drawings and documents and where details have been approved since the previous permission in respect of protection for the Bee Bank nature conservation area (SINC) during construction.


2.   The ecological appraisals regarding the site are up to date.  There is no material change to the environmental effects associated with the scheme, which can be suitably addressed through planning conditions and there are no objection to the scheme amendments, which are justified and aligned with NPPF policies.    


[The meeting adjourned from 18:05 until 18:16]


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