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Agenda item

DM/18/01943/FPA - New College Durham, New College Road, Framwellgate Moor, Durham, DH1 5ES

Three storey extension to existing building and associated landscape works.

Minutes:

The Senior Planning Officer, Paul Hopper, gave a detailed presentation on the report relating to the abovementioned planning application, a copy of which had been circulated (for copy see file of minutes).  Members noted that the written report was supplemented by a visual presentation which included photographs of the site.  The application was for a three storey extension to existing building and associated landscaping works and was recommended for approval, subject to conditions as set out within the report.

 

The Senior Planning Officer, PH noted the setting of the existing college and the proposed extension.  He explained that it was proposed in order to provide specialist IT classrooms, workshops, conference rooms and also include an external storage hardstanding area. 

It was added there had been no objections from statutory consultees and no objections from internal consultees, subject to conditions, including those relating to landscaping.

 

Members noted the key consideration and the Senior Planning Officer, PH noted NPPF paragraph 11 and Part 8 in terms of the application and noted the previous redevelopment of the college in 2005.  He noted that the design and scale were well considered and deemed acceptable subject to conditions.  The Senior Planning Officer, PH noted that access would be unaltered, however, there would be a loss of 21 parking spaces, though no objections had been raised in relation to this by Officers.

 

The Senior Planning Officer, PH noted that Local Members had raised concerns in relation to the loss of parking, though he reiterated there had been no objections from the Highways Section, though a condition relating to an update to the travel plan could be included.  He concluded that the recommendation was for approval.

 

The Chairman noted that Councillor A Hopgood, Local Member for the area was in attendance to speak in relation to the application.

 

Councillor A Hopgood thanked the Committee for the opportunity to speak in relation to the application.  She noted she wished to make it very clear that she, fellow County Councillor Divisional Members and Parish Councillors welcome the facilities as described and considered New College Durham to be an excellent asset and did not object to the application in principle.  She added that however there were a number of concerns in relation to the increase in the number of students and the lack of an up-to-date travel plan.  Councillor A Hopgood noted the Highways Section had offered no objections, however, she asked were they aware of the additional numbers that would attend the college and in turn how this would affect highway safety.  She noted there were several examples where applications had asked for travel plans and these had not been brought forward or had been unenforceable.  Councillor A Hopgood noted that the application should be considered in conjunction with other activity and proposed developments within the area, including: the strategic site at Aykley Heads, including the current County Hall site; extensions to Accident and Emergency at the University Hospital of North Durham; the Arnison Centre; and Northumbrian Water. 

 

She therefore asked if the Committee would defer the application, in order for an amended travel plan to be produced, with the opportunity to work with Local Members in this regard.

 

The Chairman thanked Councillor A Hopgood and asked Mr I Lambert representing the Applicant to speaking in support of the application.

 

Mr I Lambert reiterated the many virtues of the college, noting with was outstanding, and added that in general the Further Education sector was “on its knees” from a lack of funding.  It was explained the application was important in terms of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).  He added it was felt that issues of parking were overshadowing the benefits of the application and that the college offered free bus passes, with a 90% uptake. 

He noted that not all 16-18 year olds were able to afford a car and that not all students were timetabled 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday, some only three days a week.  He concluded by noting it was not felt that parking was an issue and that approximately 10 spaces may be needed in approximately 3 years.

 

The Chairman thanked Mr I Lambert and asked the Council’s Strategic Traffic Manager, Dave Wafer, to comment on the issues raised.

 

The Strategic Traffic Manager noted that there was already a significant car park already and that it had been assessed that it would be unlikely that there would be impact to the highways network as a result of a reduction of 21 car parking spaces. 

He reiterated the point made in relation to a 90% uptake in free bus passes by students and noted there was not the opportunity for students to park outside of the college as residents’ schemes prevented this.  It was noted the existing travel plan had been produced a while ago and a condition could be used in terms of seeking a new and updated travel plan to be provided.  He added that as parking at Framwellgate Moor was time-limited this would not be impacted upon.

 

The Chairman thanked the Strategic Traffic Manager asked Members of the Committee for their comments and questions.

 

Councillor M Davinson noted the issues that had been raised by the Local Member, Councillor A Hopgood, and agreed that an updated travel plan and speaking to Local Members would be useful and therefore proposed deferral of the application, Councillor A Laing seconded the proposal.

 

Councillor O Temple noted that it was not known what the impact would be on numbers of students and teachers, as there was not up-to-date evidence in terms of the current usage and he agreed with the motion for deferral.  He added that he felt all Members were supportive of New College and applauded the important work they undertook, however, there was a duty to protect local residents.

 

RESOLVED

 

That the application be DEFERRED.

 

Supporting documents:

 

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