I wish to object to the further development of the Mill Road Depot site as proposed by the planning application 19/0175/FUL as it contravenes the adopted SPD for the site on a number of grounds:
Size and views
This proposal completes the development of the Mill road depot site, which was subject to extensive planning consultations in 2015 and ‘16 and resulted in the “Mill Road Depot, Planning and Development Brief” published and approved by the Cambridge City Council in March 2017 and “carried forward for adoption as a Supplementary Planning Document at the same time as the Local Plan” to become effective in April 2018.
In December 2017, between the agreement to adopt the SPD and its activation, the CIP applied to develop 75% of the site. The plan, approved by the planning committee exceeded the recommendation of the SPD in terms of both density, number of dwelling and height of building, but provided none of the community facilities that were recommended by the SPD. It was suggested that these would be addressed in a Phase II proposal.
I submitted an objection to the phase I development sent to the planning officer [Sav Patel] on 1st Feb 2018 and posted on the council’s planning portal “idox” site. The text of the objection can be read at http://goldfin.blogspot.co.uk/p/blog-page.html.
This application fails to meet the recommendation of the SPD in terms of density, urban grain, sustainability and the size of the building.
The 2017 application increased the proposed density of the site by almost 40% from the SPD. Since then the developers have submitted two further applications:
18/1947/S73 “application to vary condition 2 of planning permission …” and
19/0175/FUL “The erection of an apartment building (45 dwellings) ...”
Both of these applications request that more dwellings are developed on the site. The table below summarises the process of development creep:
Mill Road Depot SPD
Phase I application 17/2245/FUL
Section 73 application
Phase II application 19/0175/FUL
It must be noted that this density is substantially more than the surrounding St. Mattews area and more than almost all of the development sites listed in the Cambridge Local Plan 2014. Indeed the site opposite the depot of Mill Road, R9, Travis Perkins DevonshireRoadhas a proposed density of only 35dph.
Urban Grain and Scale
The SPD states:
“3.2.3 Proposals should provide a contextual approach to scale and massing in response to the typical domestic scale of development on surrounding streets”
The proposal for the apartment building B.01, as shown for example on page 13 of the “Views assesment” document, dwarfs the existing buildings as seen from Mill Road and the railway bridge.
Having relocated the building from the position in the SPD adjacent to the Old Library, B.01 is now more closely related to the language school buildings and the buildings opposite on Mill Road. To respond to the “ scale and massing” of these buildings, a 5 storey building, orientated North/South is entirely out of context.
Figure 27 on Page 40 of the SPD shows a block as “new mixed use zone with courtyard” of appximatley 13m x 37m located in the 3 and 4 storey zones of figure 42 on Page 54 which would suggest a height of no more than 13 metres. Ignoring the suggestion of a courtyard, the potential block has a volume of no more than 6,253 cubic metres.
On p31 the D&A states:
“The site layout is also consistent with the framework plan (Fig 27) in the Planning and Development Brief (SPD) with the exception of the location of the linear building, which has moved further east to mitigate any impact on the Language School ...”
The plans show a block B_01 as 18m x 50m and the elevation shows 5 stories and 16m to the eaves. The volume of B_01 exceeds 14,400 and so is almost two and a half times more massive than the allocation in the SPD.
SustainabilityThe SPD specifically mentions the importance of sustainability issues, for example:
4.8.3 A combination of passive design solutions and building design solutions should form the basis of site energy strategies for future schemes.
4.8.11 There are likely to be opportunities to enhance the ecology and biodiversity of the site.
4.8.13 Flat and low pitched roofs could provide an opportunity to improve the ecology of the site and contribute to the general increase in biodiversity.
However, there is no evidence that Block B_01 has been designed with sustainability in mind.
The Cambridge Investment Partnership’s Design and Access Statement (prepared by Allies and Morrison) does refer to issues in the SPD, but then refers to the Ecology and Tree reports by consultants, Property Risk Consultants Ltd for more information These make no specific recommendations or design proposals.
The statements in the Design and Access statement refer Block B_10. Block B_01 is the most massive structure in the proposal and contains the greatest number of dwellings. However, it is orientated east-west, limiting the use of passive solar design or PV solar panels. It has no measures to enhance the ecology and biodiversity of the site
The current proposal exceeds the requirements of both the SPD and the Local Plan and does nothing to enhance the site in relation to Phase I.
I hope the Council will recommend rejection of this proposal to the planning committee.