REFERENCE NO - 17/502432/FULL
Full planning application for demolition of existing buildings, and development of 295 residential units, including 218 x 1-2 bed apartments and 77 x 2-4 bed houses, associated car parking, public realm and landscaping works, Grade II Listed Rag Room to be preserved and re-used for community (D1), office (B1) or residential (C3) use
ADDRESS Springfield Mill, Sandling Road, Maidstone, Kent, ME14 2LD.
SUMMARY OF REASONS FOR RECOMMENDATION (See Report for detail)
· The proposals comply with site allocation policy H1(11) and other relevant policies within the Local Plan.
· The design, layout and appearance of the development are considered to be of high quality, particularly the proposed finishes of the buildings which will be secured by condition.
· The loss of 6 non-listed buildings (mainly from the steam powered era of the Mill) would result in ‘less than substantial’ harm to the significance of the 3 listed buildings on site (predominantly the Rag Room). However, their removal is considered reasonable and the public benefits of the development are considered to outweigh the ‘less than substantial’ harm in accordance with policy DM4 and the NPPF.
· Suitable heritage mitigation will be secured by a section 106 legal agreement and conditions.
· Subject to mitigation secured by conditions, there would be no detrimental impacts in terms of highways, ecology, air quality, flood risk, or on local amenity.
· A section 106 agreement will ensure any impact upon local infrastructure will be mitigated.
· A lower level of shared ownership properties than targeted by policy SP20 and lower provision of public open space are not considered grounds to refuse the application.
REASON FOR REFERRAL TO COMMITTEE – The Head of Planning has referred the application to Committee on the basis that it raises a number of complex issues.
APPLICANT Redrow Homes LTD
AGENT G L Hearn
DECISION DUE DATE
PUBLICITY EXPIRY DATE
RELEVANT PLANNING HISTORY
Listed Building Consent for the demolition of existing buildings, except the Listed Rag Room, and development of 295 residential units (Use Class C3), including 218 x 1-2 bed apartments and 77 x 2-4 bed houses including associated car parking, public realm and landscaping works. Grade II Listed Building (Rag Room) to be preserved and re-used for community/leisure (D2), office (B1) or residential (C3) use.
EIA Screening Opinion for residential-led development for up to 450 residential units (C3) with associated access, car parking and landscaping, the change of use of Grade II listed Former Rag Room at Springfield Mill (C3, A1, A3, D1) and the demolition of remaining buildings on the Site.
EIA not required
Applications associated with previous industrial use
Most recent 2001
1.0 DESCRIPTION OF SITE
1.01 Springfield Mill is located on the northern edge of Maidstone town centre, along the River Medway and approximately 500m north of Maidstone East Railway Station. The site is bound by the River Medway to the west and Royal Engineers Road (A229) to the east, the southern boundary is defined by Mill Lane, a minor road, beyond which is the Kent History and Library Centre and the Gallagher Stadium. The site falls within a housing allocation in the Local Plan under policy H1(11) and covers the majority of this allocation. The allocation also covers land to the north where there is an extant permission (lawfully implemented) for offices and 192 flats (which includes 3 six storey housing blocks), and permission granted in 2017 for 310 residential units, in two buildings ranging between 8 and 18 storeys. Further north of this is the Grade II listed ‘Springfield House’.
1.02 The site is 6.5 hectares in size and is predominantly brownfield/previously developed land as it contains buildings formerly operating as Springfield Mill (papermill). This comprises a range of predominantly 2-3 storey buildings across the central part of the site, including the Grade II listed Rag Room. There is also a listed beam from the original steam engine and a listed chimney on the eastern edge of the site, by the A229 (both Grade II). The mill was the first steam powered papermill in the world and was in continuous production for over 250 years. The industrial use of the site has evolved over this time as the demands of business and technology have altered, but many features remain, including the timber Drying Room, where the paper was dried, as well as a range of attractive Victorian and Edwardian industrial buildings typically built from rag stone. The unlisted buildings were assessed by English Heritage (as was) in 2015 and while not considered to be of listable quality, were considered to be non-designated heritage assets.
1.03 The northern half of the site contains woodland/scrub areas and a number of the trees across the site are protected by individual and group Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs). There is also a large pond in the southwest corner of the site. The site slopes east to west from the A229 to the River Medway and there is a level change of 15 metres across the site. The western section of the site which lies adjacent to the River Medway falls within Flood Zones 2 and 3.
1.04 Vehicular access to the site is provided by James Whatman Way and Mill Lane from the south. There is a tow path alongside the river Medway on the western edge of the site which is a public right of way.
2.01 Permission is sought for the provision of 295 dwellings (218 x 1/2 bed apartments and 77 x 2-4 bed houses), with associated car parking, public realm and landscaping works. Affordable housing would be provided at 20% of the provision (59 units) in line with the site policy. The proposals would involve demolition of all unlisted buildings/structures at the site (apart from an unlisted extension of the listed Rag Room). The Rag Room and unlisted part would be retained and a change of use for community (D1), office (B1) or residential (C3) use is sought. The listed chimney and beam would also be retained.
2.02 The scale and massing of the development consists of 4 and 5 storey apartment blocks along the eastern and western boundaries fronting the River Medway and Royal Engineers Road with lower 2, 2.5, and 3 storey houses within the centre of the site. The eastern-most blocks are separated from the A229 by an existing retaining wall and the retained listed Chimney provides a focal point for an east-west road. Towards the Kent History and Library Centre at the south of the site, terraced blocks are proposed and within the centre of the site are mainly semi-detached houses. The existing pond in the south west corner would be retained. For the apartment blocks adjacent to the River Medway, the basement car parking for these flats is within Flood zone 3 and designed to flood. The design will be discussed in more detail in the assessment below.
2.03 The site would remain accessed by vehicles from James Whatman Way to the south. Pedestrian links are provided to the towpath on the east side of the River Medway and a link to the adjoining site to the north is proposed. Areas of open space are provided around the site including an are at the northern extreme of the site.
3.0 POLICY AND OTHER CONSIDERATIONS
· Maidstone Borough Local Plan (2011-2031): SS1, SP1, SP18, SP19, SP20, SP23, H1, ID1, H1(11) , DM1, DM2, DM3, DM4, DM5, DM6, DM8, DM12, DM19, DM20, DM21, DM23
· Kent Waste and Minerals Plan 2016
· National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)
· Planning Practice Guidance (PPG)
· Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2011 (as amended)
· MBC Air Quality Planning Guidance (2018)
· MBC Public Art Guidance (2018)
4.0 LOCAL REPRESENTATIONS
4.01 Local Residents: 2 representations received raising the following (summarised) points:
· Impact on infrastructure.
· Traffic impact.
· Highway safety.
· Access road is not suitable.
· Mill buildings should be recorded/photographed before demolition and displayed.
4.02 Ringlestone Community Centre Development Group (includes representatives from the Ringlestone Community Association and St Faith's Church): Support application and propose that the listed Rag Room becomes a community centre to be managed by the above-mentioned groups to meet the local need (in summary).
4.03 Kent Wildlife Trust: No objections, subject to condition including detailed mitigation plan.
(Please note that summaries of consultation responses are set out below with the response discussed in more detail in the main report where considered necessary)
5.01 Natural England: No objections.
5.02 Highways England: No objection in terms of any impact upon any M20 motorway junctions.
5.03 Environment Agency: No objection subject to conditions relating to groundwater/contaminated land; detailed designs of under croft parking; ensuring landscaping near the river is native and managed; and securing that any land raising does not result in any loss of flood storage.
5.04 Historic England – Raise concerns regarding the loss of non-designated heritage assets and design of the development and the consequent harm to the listed buildings on site. Consider this harm should be assessed against paragraph 134 of the NPPF (less than substantial harm) which requires that harm to be weighed against the public (including heritage) benefits of a proposal. (See report for further discussion)
5.05 KCC Highways: No objections subject to off-site works (secured by condition) for the following: Provision of the three pedestrian crossing upgrades (on Fairmeadow, Staceys Street and Royal Engineers Road), Provision of a pedestrian link to the north via the prospective 310 unit scheme; new section of cycle route (connecting National Cycle Network Route 17 to the Medway towpath via James Whatman Way); and raised kerbing on all bus stops on Royal Engineers Road.
Other measures (which pass the test for conditions) being securing Travel Plan and monitoring; Provision and permanent retention of the vehicle parking spaces and/or garages; Provision and permanent retention of the vehicle loading/unloading and turning facilities; Provision and permanent retention of the cycle parking facilities; Completion and maintenance of the access; and provision and maintenance of 2 metres x 2 metres pedestrian visibility splays behind the footway on both sides of the access with no obstructions over 0.6m above footway level.
5.06 KCC Lead Local Flood Authority: No objection subject to conditions.
5.07 Kent PROW: No objections.
5.08 KCC Archaeology: Share on-going concerns expressed by both Historic England and the Conservation Officer in regard to the impact of the scheme on the post medieval industrial heritage of this site and the limited nature of the mitigation for Cultural Heritage. If minded to approve, recommend conditions relating to building recording; archaeological impact assessment, field works and mitigation; historic landscape survey; fencing protection for listed buildings; and interpretation strategy.
5.09: KCC Minerals: No objections as site is within urban boundary it is excluded from the need to comply with minerals safeguarding requirements.
5.10 KCC Ecology: No objections subject to conditions covering a detailed mitigation strategy, management, and enhancements. Comment that connectivity between the woodland in the north and the park area in the south should be improved possibly with a wider area of habitat on the eastern boundary.
5.11 KCC Contributions: Requests the following contributions:
· Primary Education: £521,563 towards Phase 1 of the new North Maidstone Primary School.
· Secondary Education: £271,377 towards enhancement of Maplesden Noakes School to accommodate the additional pupils.
· Community Learning: £9,056.50 towards IT equipment for St Faiths Adult Education Centre, St Faiths St, Maidstone.
· Youth Service: £2,504.55 towards Infozone Youth Centre, Maidstone internal expansion and equipment.
· Libraries: £14,165.90 towards Kent History & Library Centre additional bookstock.
· Social Services: £15,894.60 towards Trinity Foyer Sensory Garden, Maidstone.
5.12 MBC Landscape: No objections subject to conditions requiring a detailed landscape scheme, arboricultural method statement which covers arboricultural supervision and regular reporting, and includes a tree protection plan.
5.13 MBC Conservation Officer (03/01/18): In summary, considers that the removal of the unlisted factory buildings is practically inevitable due to the nature of the development itself and the constraints posed by the flooding issues. Advises that the loss of the unlisted buildings would cause ‘less than substantial harm’ to the significance of the listed buildings as the buildings have been heavily compromised by the C20 alterations. Considers that the new development is overly domestic in design and should be replaced by more characteristically industrial blocks. Conditions should ensure digital recording of the pre-1948 mill buildings; assemblage of on site and online interpretive resources (explaining the origins of the site as a C19-C20 paper mill and why and how this came to be developed in Maidstone); and recovery of materials, especially the buff-coloured bricks in the historic buildings, which can be incorporated into the new build housing. (See discussion below)
5.14 MBC Parks and Open Spaces: Request a contribution of £243,375 to mitigate the additional pressure on local public open space through improvements to footpaths and accessibility on eastern side of Whatman Park connecting with Springfield Mill via footbridges, and improvements to treetop walk; improving accessibility to the natural open space including work on the towpath and pathways at Monktons Lane/Foxglove Rise; and improvements to access on the north/west side of the gardens, restoration of the historical water fountain, and improvements to the planting on the north-west and north-east edges of the gardens to improve accessibility at Brenchley Gardens.
5.15 MBC Environmental Health: No objections re. noise, contamination or air quality subject to conditions.
5.16 West Kent CCG: Request a health care contribution of £195,192 to support improvements to primary care infrastructure by way of extension, refurbishment and/or upgrade to existing buildings at Brewer Street, Albion Place, or Bower Mount practices or as a contribution towards the cost of a new primary healthcare facility serving this population.
5.17 Southern Water: Confirm sufficient foul drainage capacity and pipe diversion will require separate consent.
5.18 Kent Police: State that under croft car parking will need careful design to avoid attracting crime.
5.19 UK Power Networks: No objections.
6.01 As outlined above, the site is part of an allocation in the Local Plan for housing under policy H1(11) for approximately 692 dwellings, and which seeks an average density of 180 dwellings per hectare (dph). This application proposes an average density across the site of approximately 85dph. However, this part of the allocation includes listed buildings, and other constraints including protected trees, land level changes, contamination, and flood risk so it is considered that a lower density is appropriate in principle on this part of the allocation site. This would leave a requirement for approximately 400 units on the northern part, which has extant permissions for 192 and 310 units (total 502), and so the policy estimate could potentially be fulfilled.
6.02 The main considerations are as follows with the relevant site policy criterion (1-14) shown in brackets. A copy of the site policy is attached at the Appendix.
· Heritage (3)
· Design, Layout & Landscaping (1, 2, 3)
· Access, Highways and Transport (4, 10, 11)
· Ecology (5)
· Air Quality (6)
· Open Space (8, 9)
· Flood Risk (13)
· Infrastructure & Affordable Housing
· Any Other Matters (7, 12, 14)
6.03 As outlined above, the site contains two listed buildings and a listed beam from the original steam engine. The other buildings associated with Mill are not listed but many of the older buildings are considered to be non-designated heritage assets (NDHA) by the Council’s Conservation Officer (CO) and Historic England.
6.04 As background, Springfield Mill was home to the first steam powered paper mill and also the largest producer of hand-made paper (in the world) during the early 20th Century. The listed buildings date from the Mill’s foundation in 1805 and the other buildings show the evolution of paper making processes over the 19th and 20th centuries. The mill consisted of a drying room at the northern end and the listed rag room at the other, with rooms for various other processes, and the engine and its boilers, set between them. The mill, despite the rebuilding of much of its fabric following a fire of 1862 and with later enlargements, retains the essential layout of the original mill of 1807.
6.05 When assessing the entire site in 2015 for listing purposes, Historic England decided that apart from the already listed building/structures and the chimney (which they listed), the remaining buildings did not warrant listed status. They state:
“It is clear that overall Springfield Mill has a high degree of historical interest. As the first practical application of steam power to the paper making process it is clearly of interest for its technological innovation and its association with William Balston who, along with his former master, James Whatman II, was one of the principal paper makers of the late C18 to early C19. This is reflected in the existing Grade II listing of the former Rag Room and the beam from the 1806 Boulton and Watt beam engine. However, the other parts of the mill complex are not from the original early C19 mill but, partly as a result of rebuilding after the major fire in 1862 and partly because of later expansion in reaction to changing operational requirements, date from the 1860s to the late C20. Importantly, apart, notably, from the chimney, and possibly a pair of gable ends, nothing survives of the structures relating to the early period of steam power which provides much of the mill’s interest, aside from the existing listed structures.
Some of the later buildings, such as the re-built drying room with timber louvers and the c1863 former Salle and late-C19 Finishing Room with large, close-set, windows to ensure adequate light, retain elements of their character that relate to their former function. However, the central core of the building has seen continuous alteration into the late C20, so that the original stages of the paper making process within this area are no longer legible. This is compounded by the loss of all historic machinery relating to the paper making process, making it hard to determine how the internal spaces of the central core were used in the production of paper. Other elements of the mill such as the detached former rag store and the smithy have been greatly altered by subsequent rebuilding or later accretions so that their original character has been lost. Two other paper mills in Maidstone have been listed, Turkey Mill at Grade II and Hayle Mill at Grade II*. Both are earlier than Springfield Mill and Hayle is generally a better preserved example.
On balance, because of their relatively late date and degree of alteration, the currently unlisted parts of Springfield Mill do not meet the criteria for listing, despite the mill's historic interest. They do, however, have clear local interest as later elements of the first paper mill to be powered by steam.”
6.06 HE clearly did not consider the other buildings warranted listed status, however, this does not automatically mean it is acceptable to demolish them. They obviously still form part of the Mill’s history, provide context/setting for the listed buildings, and are considered to be NDHA’s. Both the CO and Historic England consider that their total loss (as is proposed) would be harmful to the significance of the listed buildings as it would be difficult to understand the chain of activities which historically took place across the site, and the way in which listed buildings derive significance from this aspect of their settings. I do not disagree with this view and the applicant has explored the re-use of buildings in further detail, both assessing their historic merits and the practicalities of their re-use.
6.07 The applicant considers that it is the small number of buildings which continue to accurately demonstrate the 90 year period of innovative and successful steam powered paper milling at Springfield that are considered to be of ‘special interest’. In pre-application discussions, officers advised that 7 buildings should be explored for retention (of which 6 originally related to the important steam powered era). This includes the listed rag room and an unlisted extension to it, which are both proposed to be retained. An individual assessment of the remaining 6 buildings has been provided by the applicant and their retention/re-use for residential or other uses has been discounted.
6.08 In heritage terms, five of the buildings originally date from the steam powered phase of the Mill (Drying Room, Packing & Weighing Room, Salle, PMC Plant Building, and Smithy). The assessment considers that these buildings are not considered of sufficient historic interest either due to extensive alterations that have occurred so the buildings are no longer representative of their origins, or due to unsympathetic changes. For the other building (Warehouse), this is of 20th century construction and not considered to have any historical significance or interest. On balance, I consider these conclusions are reasonable and therefore retention of the buildings solely on their heritage merits is not a strong argument.
6.09 In terms of practicality, for 5 buildings (excluding Smithy), due to their age they are not considered to be equipped (e.g. with resilience or resistance mitigation measures) to withstand the present and future flood risk; requirements to raise floor levels would not be practicable due to limited floor to ceiling height; and there would be risk to occupants from flood waters outside buildings. It is also considered that their conversion would utilise large areas and sterilise site, meaning higher density development would not be achievable. Again, on balance I do not consider these constraints to be unreasonable grounds for discounting re-use of the buildings.
6.10 In view of the loss of these buildings, the applicant’s assessment recommends mitigation in the form of Historic England Level 3 Building Recording (analytical record) including 3D surveys, website and/or book, heritage boards including a ‘heritage trail’ around the site highlighting the site’s valuable industrial history including the use of salvaged features from the site’s industrial past, arranged in the open space areas, and art installations through the provision of public art, which can all be secured by condition.
6.11 Therefore in conclusion, whilst it may be desirable to retain some buildings, I do not it is reasonable for the reasons outlined above. Nonetheless, the loss of the buildings would still cause some ham to the significance of the listed buildings at the site (predominantly the rag room) as it would be difficult to understand the chain of activities which historically took place across the site, and the way in which listed buildings derive significance from this aspect of their settings. This harm is considered to be ‘less than substantial’ by Historic England and the CO, and I agree. In terms of the Local Plan, policy DM4 (Development Affecting Designated & Non-designated Assets) requires new development to conserve the significance of a heritage asset. Harm to significance, however low, does not strictly conserve significance but criterion 4 covers situations where some harm is caused, requiring the relevant test within the NPPF to be applied. As such, Local Plan policy DM4 and the NPPF requires that this harm is weighed against the public benefits of the proposal.
6.12 The public benefits are considered to be as follows:
· Economic and social benefits of providing 295 dwellings including affordable housing through:
· Job creation including 194 temporary jobs (direct employment), indirect and induced employment and additional employment supported in local shops and services: 20 jobs.
· Increased local spending including total new household expenditure of £9.7M per annum and additional local resident spending of £1.8M per annum (anticipated spending captured in local shops and services).
· Securing planning permission for potential uses of the Grade II listed Rag Room with commitment to submitting a listed building consent application for any works to facilitate one of the uses. In the event that none of the uses are progressed, preservation and protection through on-going maintenance which would be included in the management company’s responsibilities (see further detail below).
· Preservation and protection of the 2 other listed buildings on site (Chimney and Beam) through on-going maintenance which would be included in the management company’s responsibilities.
· Opening up the listed buildings to public view.
· History of the site to be recorded (Historic England Level 3 Building Recording).
6.13 It is considered that these benefits, particularly the social and economic benefits of providing 295 dwellings (including affordable housing), do outweigh the less than substantial harm to the listed buildings at the site. In reaching this view, I have given special regard to the desirability of preserving the listed buildings and their settings in accordance with Section 66(1) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990.
Design & Landscaping
6.14 The layout has buildings and roads generally sited along north/south and east/west lines parallel with, or at right angles to the River Medway and the slope of the land. It is therefore a fairly regimented layout but this is understandable due in part to the slope of land and so is considered to be an appropriate approach here. Five storey apartment blocks are proposed alongside the river with the bottom floor being under-croft parking which is able to flood due to them being located in flood zone 3. There would be four storeys blocks along the A229. The heights of these blocks is considered appropriate when set against the wide span of both the river and the road corridors, and in the context of the apartments to the south (around 9 storeys), and tall buildings (8-18 storeys) granted permission to the north.
6.15 At the entrance, the tall protected pine trees would be retained with terrace houses set behind which is appropriate. From here, the existing entrance road would be used which leads down to the listed Rag Room. With buildings cleared around it (notably the more modern buildings of no great merit) and open space provided, the listed building would become more prominent and create a positive focus building at this part of the site. A new apartment block to the west would also provide an end stop to this area, being in the position of some existing buildings and framing the listed building. The proposed new setting for the listed building is therefore considered to be acceptable.
6.16 Areas of open space accessible to the public would be provided leading down to the river and alongside it. A ‘square’ feature would link this area to the northern part of the site and there would be a landscape space running from north to south with pedestrian links to the river, which would provide a ‘green’ link from the wooded area in the northeast corner to the riverside. This area would have apartments alongside the river and at the northern end, 3 storey terraces and 2 storey semi-detached houses on the east side. Block 4 would provide an appropriate end stop to the road here with 4 storey gables providing interest on the elevations. Landscaped open spaces with tree planting to the front of buildings would be provided within this area provide attractive frontages. A large area of public open space would be provided further north also providing links to the river.
6.17 The central/eastern section has a rectangular layout with 2 storey semi-detached houses and 4 storey apartments fronting roads, and there would be a tree-lined road through the middle with terrace blocks either side. Buildings appropriately address roads and landscaped areas would be provided to the front. The parking areas for the apartments would be hidden behind buildings at the east end here. Between this section and the south east part of the site would be a straight road which leads directly to the listed chimney providing a long clear vista when approaching. The chimney would be set within a ‘pocket park’ area of public open space and be framed by matching apartment blocks either side. These would be set back 8m from the chimney and importantly would not obscure views of the chimney from the A229 from where it is a key local feature.
6.18 The south east section would feature 3 storey terrace blocks fronting the entrance and set back from the tall pine trees. Parking would fill the frontages but there would be landscaped blocks between with space for tree planting to provide relief. Apartment blocks would provide a presence to the A229 and their parking areas would be hidden behind.
6.19 In terms of appearance, houses and the apartment blocks fronting the A229 are traditional in form and the applicant’s typical house types have been modified to reflect the character of the site. This is through picking up on features such as sash windows with pre-cast cills and brick detailing with quoins and splayed lintels, quoin detailing on corners of buildings, slate roofs, stock bricks to match those currently on site, and green coloured doors. Almost half of the houses would also feature ragstone plinths and dark brickwork projecting bands to match existing buildings on site. The apartments alongside the river would be of different design but still largely traditional in form with strong gables. They would be slightly more contemporary having modern windows and balconies but still include ragstone to parts of the lower floors, brick detailing on windows, brick on edge coping on the gables, stock bricks to match those currently on site. These apartments are tall but there mass and scale is suitably broken up by the strong gables, windows and balconies. Surface materials are block paving for all roads apart from the main entrance and for all parking spaces.
6.20 The landscape proposals reflect different character areas within the site. The northern open space would be a semi-natural area with wildflower and native tree planting; the riverside area would be more parkland in character with clearance of lower quality existing trees and overgrown vegetation with planting of new specimen trees; the woodland in the northeast corner would be retained and managed with no public access; the pond and entrance would be enhanced with further tree planting; and the chimney pocket park would be a formal area with raised lawn and ornamental planting. Otherwise tree and shrub planting would be provided throughout the development to a suitable level to ensure an attractive environment. The details of plant/tree species have been provided but should include more native/near native species, including only native species within 8m of the river (as per the request of the Environment Agency), and this can be dealt with by condition.
6.21 Protected trees will need to be removed to facilitate the development as they would effectively sterilise a large proportion of the site and so a balance must be struck. In total, 51 individual trees and 7 groups of trees would be removed to facilitate the proposed development. Of the removals, 6 are considered to be of high arboricultural quality (category A), and 11 are considered to warrant category B (moderate quality) on their individual merit. All remaining removals are considered to be of low arboricultural quality. The loss of trees is inevitable to achieve the housing numbers which is also due to the other constraints on site. Trees are generally retained on the outside boundaries of the site where possible, including the woodland area in the NE corner, and I consider this is an acceptable approach and in accordance with the site policy.
6.22 Overall, the layout, design, appearance and landscaping is considered to be of a high quality, particularly the proposed materials and detailing which is of a high standard and this can be specifically conditioned. The proposals are considered to be in accordance with site policy H1(11) and policy DM1 of the Local Plan. I note the CO’s view that the proposals are too domestic and a more industrial aesthetic would be preferable but I consider the proposals are acceptable.
6.23 In terms of densities, the provision of apartments alongside the river means that it is quite high here, however, this is mainly because they are made up of smaller 1/2 bed units (rather than the 2/3/4 bed houses elsewhere). As the blocks are set within large open areas with good space between the buildings and the river, and to the north and south ends of the site, the density is acceptable. The highest density is otherwise towards the south east corner in line with criterion 1 of the site policy.
Access, Highways and Transport
6.24 No objections are raised by KCC Highways with regard to the access, and the impact of traffic upon the local highway network is not considered to be severe (the threshold test under the NPPF). Upgrades to the existing crossings on the White Rabbit roundabout would be secured in line with policy H1(11) criterion 10 to improve connections to the local area and town centre, as would a new section of cycle route (connecting National Cycle Network Route 17 to the Medway towpath via James Whatman Way) which would run through the site. The proposal shows a link to the site to the north to provide good connectivity/permeability and the site connects with the river towpath in a number of places. Upgrades to all bus stops on Royal Engineers Road would also be secured through raised kerbing. It is considered that these measures would suitably promote walking and cycling for future occupants.
6.25 Criterion 11 of the site policy requires improvements to the eastern bank of the river towpath for pedestrian and cycle use but these upgrade works have already taken place as this has been recently been upgraded with a tarmac surface.
6.26 In terms of parking, a maximum of 385 parking spaces (including up to 59 visitor spaces) are required to accord with parking standards (which are based on number of bedrooms). In total, 348 private car parking spaces, plus 24 detached garages and 30 visitor spaces are provided across the site (total 402). Whilst this exceeds the total maximum by 17 spaces, the applicant has stated that the garages do not meet space standards for parking. Internally, the garages measure 2.4m x 5.5m which is below the preferred standards (3.6m x 5.5m). Whilst smaller cars could potentially use them, I consider it is reasonable not to include them. For all properties with garages, there is still sufficient space on the driveways to provide two parking spaces. Parking spaces (16) for the listed Rag Room are also proposed to its north to cover the potential uses. I consider a condition is necessary for this to be finalised dependant on the final use. I also consider the impact upon the setting of the building would be acceptable balancing the need for parking against the impact.
6.27 The applicant proposes a residential Travel Plan to promote the reduction of car dependency and to promote and support the use of non-car modes where and when possible. This is considered appropriate to promote sustainable transport for this scale of development, and can be secured by condition.
6.28 Appropriate surveys have been carried out at the site in relation to protected species. With regard to bats, two buildings were recorded to support roosting activity which would be demolished; a number of trees to be removed have potential to support roosting but no evidence was recorded during survey work; and low levels of foraging occur within the site with most occurring along the river corridor. The buildings support a small number of Common Pipistrelle roosts, and for the reasons outlined above it is considered that retention of the buildings would not be reasonable, and it is also advised by the applicant’s ecologist that re-use would be likely to result in loss of the existing bat roosts in any case. Safeguarding measures during building demolition and tree removal would be carried out, and mitigation is proposed in the form of bat boxes and roosting units on new buildings and retained trees, which would be secured by condition.
6.29 With regard to reptiles, surveys reveal a ‘good’ population of Slow Worm and ‘low’ population of Grass Snake. Under the proposals a large proportion of the existing green space is to be retained, with new buildings largely concentrated within the existing built footprint. However, some areas of reptile habitat will be lost to development or temporarily affected (around the pond and river) totalling approximately 1.3ha. In order to safeguard the population of reptiles, translocation to the area at the north end of the site is proposed. This area is currently overgrown scrubland and will be improved to create suitable reptile habitat as mitigation (0.6ha). The area temporarily affected (0.75ha) would in the long term re-establish and be maintained as open space, which will provide habitat of use to reptiles. A proportion of this will be amenity in character, forming areas of short mown grass, however areas of longer sward grass and herb vegetation would be retained along the river margin and the surrounds of the pond, providing reptile habitat, and these measures would be secured by condition.
6.30 With regard to water vole and otter, despite an extensive search, no evidence of either species was recorded. In any event, no direct works are proposed to the river bank, with the footpath along the river forming separation between the site and the river banks.
6.31 With regard to Great Crested Newts (GCN), for the ponds subject to survey the results were negative, confirming the absence of GCN. One pond was not surveyed due to health and safety restrictions, however, it is advised that based on the likely pollution of the pond, the rapidly drying nature of the pond, the recorded waterfowl population, and its heavily shaded character, the likelihood of GCN presence is low.
6.32 KCC Ecology has reviewed the information and considers suitable assessment has been carried out and that the mitigation is acceptable. They have commented that there should be better connectivity between the woodland in the north east corner and the park area in the south east corner and that there should be a wider area of habitat along the east boundary to ensure that connectivity is retained and maintained. I note this view, however, I consider that sufficient connectivity is provided around the north and west sides of the site.
6.33 Overall, any impact upon ecology would be low and can be mitigated and secured by condition. Enhancements would also be secured through the mitigation and I consider swift and bat measures integral to buildings, and cordwood retained on site should be provided.
6.34 An air quality assessment has been carried out in line with the Council’s guidance. This shows that whilst the A229 is within an Air Quality Management Area, monitoring opposite the site reveals that concentrations are well below the relevant objectives and therefore future occupants (who would be set back from the A229) would not be exposed to unacceptable levels of air quality. The report then outlines that the impact up air quality for vehicles associated with the new dwellings would be negligible, with the greatest impact being an increase of 0.1μg/m3, and predictions for 2031 all below the required objectives. Due to the negligible impact from the dwellings, the report considers mitigation is not required. The Environmental Health section consider the assessment is robust and conservative in its approach and raise no objections. They do recommend the standard air quality off-setting mitigation condition, which I do consider is reasonable due to the scale of the development. In addition, measures such as electric charging points and landscaping would provide some mitigation which is proportionate in this case. Mitigation to limit any impact from dust during construction through management can be secured. This is in accordance with the site policy and policy DM6 of the Local Plan.
6.35 The site policy requires approximately 4.8ha of open space within the wider H1(11) site (application site and sites to the north). The application would provide around 2.9ha of open space (natural and semi-natural area, parkland, and pocket park) and around 0.8ha would be provided on the approved permissions to the north. This would fall short of the policy requirement by 1.1ha. However, a balance must be struck between achieving a high density development and providing public open space. I consider that a provision of 3.7ha across the site is an acceptable amount and there would also be an off-site contribution of £243,375 to mitigate the additional pressure on local public open space, which will be discussed below. This conflict with the site policy criterion is not considered grounds to refuse the application.
Flood Risk & Drainage
6.36 The western edge of the site falls within Flood Zones (FZ) 2 and 3a/b and a Flood Risk Assessment (FRA) has been carried out. No development is proposed in FZ3b (functional flood plain) as required by the NPPF. Most of the apartment blocks along the west edge are proposed within FZ3a and the Environment Agency comment that they discourage development in FZ3, but as buildings already exist here, it is acceptable for new development to replace existing, if floodplain volume and conveyance is improved as a result. The apartments are classed as a ‘More vulnerable’ uses and need to pass the Sequential Test (which seeks to steer development to lower risk areas) and the Exception test under the NPPF. The site is obviously allocated for housing in the Local Plan and high density development is sought by the policy. As such it is considered reasonable to provide some development in FZ3a and so the Sequential Test is considered to be passed.
6.37 The Exception test requires demonstration that the development provides wider sustainability benefits to the community which outweigh flood risk and that the FRA demonstrates that the development will be safe without increasing flood risk elsewhere, and where possible reducing flood risk overall. To my mind, the wider economic and social benefits of providing 295 dwellings on an allocated housing site provide sufficient benefits that outweigh flood risk. Notwithstanding this, the finished floor Levels (FFL’s) for all habitable accommodation have been set sufficiently above the 1 in 100 year (plus Climate Change) flood level and to achieve this the apartments within FZ3 would be constructed with under croft car parking on the ground floor and allow for conveyance of flood water. There will be flood resilient construction provided to the lower car parking areas. By using the car parking areas under the residential blocks for flood storage, this actually creates lower levels and so the flood plain volume has been increased. In this respect a floodplain volume balancing exercise has been undertaken, which shows a gain in each of the 200mm depth bands and a total increase of 2,239m3 to the floodplain to allow storage of water. Safe access to dry land would be achieved with occupants able to make their way to the main roads as all entry to the units will be well above the peak flood level.
6.38 The Environment Agency have raised no objections provided the design is demonstrated to increase conveyance, and users have safe access and egress from the car park via internal staircases to the upper ground floor. They also state that there must be no land raising in FZ3b, and this is not proposed. For any land raising in FZ3a, (which is proposed), they advise that a condition securing ensuring there is no loss of storage or conveyance as a result. As outlined above, flood storage would actually be increased and the recommended condition can be attached to ensure this. Therefore in terms of flood risk, the proposals are in accordance with the site policy and DM1 of the Local Plan, and the NPPF.
6.39 In terms of surface water drainage, porous surfaces would be used and a small swale. It has been agreed with KCC that discharge direct to the river would be acceptable and this would result in a more efficient system than at present. KCC have raised no objections subject to conditions to finalise the specific detail and management.
Infrastructure, Affordable Housing & Other Heads of Terms
6.40 In line with policy DM20, major residential development will put pressure on existing services and requests for monies to mitigate the impact of the development towards health (local practices), primary (new North Maidstone Primary School) and secondary education (Maplesden Noakes School), public open space (Whatman Park, Monktons Lane/Foxglove Rise, Brenchley Gardens), social services (Trinity Foyer Sensory Garden), Community Learning (St Faiths Adult Education Centre), youth services (Infozone Youth Centre), and libraries (Kent History & Library Centre), have been requested (see consultation section above). I have assessed these requests and consider them to be reasonable, related to the development, and necessary to mitigate the impact of the development due to the additional pressure future occupants would place upon these services, and consider them to pass the legal tests for securing financial contributions.
6.41 The residential Travel Plan will require monitoring by the County Council and a monitoring fee is therefore required which is a standard £1,000 per year. Monitoring would be expected for a 5 year period and so £5,000 is considered necessary and reasonable.
6.42 Affordable housing would be provided at 20% (59 units) which is in line with site allocation policy. The unit sizes are considered acceptable, however, the tenure split is 58% shared ownership and 42% affordable rent whereas policy targets a 70/30 split in favour of rent. (The original proposal was for 100% shared ownership). The justification provided by the applicant are concerns raised by three affordable housing Registered Providers (RPs) as to the high management and subsequent service charge costs (House £409 per annum & Flats £1,362 per annum) applicable to this development (from matters such as upkeep of private roads and lighting, public open space, the woodland block, the pond, and listed chimney). This potentially affects the viability for the RPs as well as the affordability of the units. Other comments from the RPs are that the mix and type of units as well as the location are more suited to shared ownership and would be attractive to first time buyers. The Council’s housing officer considers that this may be the case to some degree but the greatest need is for affordable rent and this is a prime location which would be more suitable for this form of tenure. He has also suggested that a change from smaller shared ownership units to larger units could potentially create greater subsidy to support a greater proportion of affordable rent. This change of unit sizes has been put this to the applicant to investigate but they do not wish to re-visit this matter.
6.43 On balance the housing officer does not have a major objection. Policy SP20 (affordable housing) sets a target of a 70/30 split and allows for negotiation for an appropriate tenure split. Some relatively sound evidence has been provided to justify the tenure split from RPs but the change to the unit sizes has not been explored. However, on balance I do not consider this is grounds to object to the application.
6.44 The description of the proposal includes three uses for the listed Rag Room including D1 use (day centres, public halls, galleries etc.), office (B1), or residential (C3) which would all be acceptable in the context of the proposed houses/apartments. Members may be aware of a feasibility study commissioned by the Council on the need for Community Facilities in North Ward (May 2017), and which identifies a need for a community facility/centre. Reference is made to the Rag Room but that it is potentially seen as lacking the flexibility of space required that could be provided by a purpose-built centre and may be complex to convert so as to provide for the needs. The report recommends the preferred option as a “dual site approach, requiring two community centres on either side of Royal Engineers Road A229 using a combination of MBC/ KCC owned sites”, although it does not specifically identify a site(s). However, in the short to medium term it recommends securing a community facility on the Springfield Mill site (new build or Ragroom conversion if suitable) to meet the immediate demands of the growing community as a result of the current developments.
6.45 This feasibility study identifies a need for a community centre, and policy DM20 states that residential development which would generate a need for new community facilities or for which spare capacity does not exist, will not be permitted unless new, extended or improved facilities (or a contribution towards such provision) is secured. This development can therefore provide for a community centre to help towards mitigating the need for such community facilities. I therefore consider it is necessary to secure such use in full or part of the rag room through the legal agreement to comply with policy DM20, and in the event that this was not forthcoming (noting the study suggest it is not ideal), a financial contribution is provided towards community facilities in the locality. I consider a payback period of 15 years (should the monies not be used) is appropriate to allow sufficient time to search/find a suitable facility. The permission to the north of the site which is being implemented (05/235) secures approximately £400,000 and officers are in the course of negotiating an amount, and seek delegated authority to finalise this.
6.46 In terms of securing use and maintenance of the listed rag room (heritage benefits identified above), approval would secure planning permission for a use as outlined above. The legal agreement would then secure submission of a listed building consent application for any changes required for the community or other uses. Should none of the uses come forward, the legal agreement would secure management and maintenance of the Rag Room in perpetuity. For the other two listed buildings, (Chimney and Beam), these would be maintained by a management company and this can also be secured under the legal agreement. I consider this is reasonable, related to the development, and necessary to help towards securing the public benefits of maintaining the listed buildings.
Any Other Matters
6.47 The separation distances to dwellings opposite on Sandling Road, flats to the south, and dwellings to the northwest are such that there would be no harmful impact in terms of privacy, light, or outlook. The new dwellings would be sufficiently spaced to ensure appropriate privacy and outlook, and have sufficient gardens spaces. The apartments would have good access to open space at the site and in the vicinity.
6.48 In terms of noise, an acoustic report has been submitted which identifies that some of the residential units will require uprated glazing and alternative ventilation provision, which is acceptable and can be dealt with by condition. In terms of land contamination Environmental Health recommend a condition.
6.49 With regard to minerals, KCC advise that as the site is within the urban boundary it is excluded from the need to comply with minerals safeguarding requirements, which is in line with the Kent Minerals and Waste Local Plan. Site policy criterion 12 requires the development to connect to the nearest point of adequate capacity. Southern Water have confirmed sufficient capacity in the local network, and this would be agreed/carried out under the Water Industry Act.
7.01 As outlined above, the loss of 6 non-listed buildings (mainly from the steam powered era of the Mill) would result in ‘less than substantial’ harm to the significance of the listed buildings (predominantly the rag room). This is because it would remove the context/setting for the listed buildings and it would be difficult to understand the chain of activities which historically took place across the site and the way in which listed buildings derive significance from this aspect of their settings. However, the retention of these buildings is not considered reasonable because the buildings are not considered of sufficient historic interest either due to extensive alterations that have occurred so the buildings are no longer representative of their origins, due to unsympathetic changes, or lacking quality in their own right. In addition, for most buildings it is not practical due to the problems in securing safety during flood events. With this in mind, their demolition is considered reasonable, and as outlined above, the public benefits of the development are considered to outweigh the ‘less than substantial’ harm in accordance with policy DM4 and the NPPF. Heritage mitigation will also be secured by condition.
7.02 The design, layout and appearance of the development are considered to be of high quality, particularly the proposed finishes of the buildings which will be secured by condition. The lower level of shared ownership properties and open space are not considered grounds to refuse the application and otherwise the proposals comply with site policy H1(11) and other relevant policies within the Local Plan. For these reasons, permission is recommended subject to the Heads of Terms and conditions set out below.
8.01 Subject to the prior completion of a legal agreement to provide for the Heads of Terms set out below and subject to the conditions as set out below, the Head of Planning and Development BE DELEGATED POWERS TO GRANT to grant planning permission, and to be able to settle or amend any necessary Heads of Terms and planning conditions in line with the matters set out in the recommendation and as resolved by the Planning Committee.
Heads of Terms
1. £521,563 towards Phase 1 of the new North Maidstone Primary School.
2. £271,377 towards enhancement of Maplesden Noakes School.
3. £9,056.50 towards IT equipment for St Faiths Adult Education Centre, St Faiths St, Maidstone.
4. £2,504.55 towards Infozone Youth Centre, Maidstone internal expansion and equipment.
5. £14,165.90 towards Kent History & Library Centre additional bookstock.
6. £15,894.60 towards improvements to the Trinity Foyer Sensory Garden, Maidstone.
7. £243,375 towards improvements to Whatman Park to mitigate the additional pressure on local public open space through improvements to footpaths and accessibility on eastern side of Whatman Park connecting with Springfield Mill via footbridges, and improvements to treetop walk; improving accessibility to the natural open space including work on the towpath and pathways at Monktons Lane/Foxglove Rise; and improvements to access on the north/west side of the gardens, restoration of the historical water fountain, and improvements to the planting on the north-west and north-east edges of the gardens to improve accessibility at Brenchley Gardens.
8. £195,192 to support improvements to primary care infrastructure by way of extension, refurbishment and/or upgrade to existing buildings at Brewer Street, Albion Place, or Bower Mount practices or as a contribution towards the cost of a new primary healthcare facility serving this population.
9. 20% affordable Housing (58% shared ownership and 42% affordable rent).
10. Implementing use of the Rag Room in full or in part to provide community floorspace ready for use for community facilities prior to 75% occupation of the development.
11. In the event that the Rag Room is not used in full or in part for community facilities prior to 75% occupation of the development, a financial contribution towards community facilities in the locality will be secured (amount to be finalised by officers). Payback of such monies if not used being 15 years.
12. Requirement for a Listed Building Consent application for any works to the Rag Room (Grade II Listed Building), to facilitate one or a combination of the approved uses, to be submitted to the Local Planning Authority prior to 75% occupation of the development.
13. In the event that the Rag Room is not in use for one or a combination of the approved uses before 75% occupation of the development, securing management and maintenance of the Rag Room in perpetuity.
14. Securing management and maintenance of the listed Chimney and Beam in perpetuity.
15. £5,000 Travel Plan monitoring fee.
1. The development hereby permitted shall be begun before the expiration of three years from the date of this permission;
Reason: In accordance with the provisions of Section 91 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 as amended by Section 51 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004.
2. Excluding the ‘Landscape Drawings’, the development hereby permitted shall be carried out in accordance with the approved plans as listed on the ‘Updated Document Schedule’ dated 16/01/18.
Reason: In the interest of visual and residential amenity and to clarify which plans have been approved.
3. No demolition shall take place until the applicant, or their agents or successors in title, have secured and implemented a programme of building recording of the pre-1948 mill buildings in accordance with a written specification and timetable which has been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. The building recording shall be to Level 3 as defined by the Historic England ‘Understanding Historic Buildings - A Guide to Good Recording Practice’ (2016) guidance document.
Reason: To ensure that historic building features are properly examined and recorded.
4. No demolition or development shall take place until the applicant, or their agents or successors in title, have secured and implemented an archaeological impact assessment in accordance with a written specification and timetable which has been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority.
Reason: To ensure that the archaeological mitigation is suitably informed.
5. No development including site clearance and demolition shall take place until an Arboricultural Method Statement (AMS) in accordance with the current edition of BS 5837 has been submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority. The AMS should detail implementation of any aspect of the development that has the potential to result in the loss of, or damage to trees, including their roots and, for example, take account of site access, demolition and construction activities, foundations, service runs and level changes. It should also detail any tree works necessary to implement the approved scheme and include a tree protection plan.
Reason: In the interests of landscape, visual impact and amenity of the area and to ensure a satisfactory appearance to the development.
6. No development shall take place until the applicant, or their agents or successors in title, have secured the implementation of
(i) archaeological field evaluation works in accordance with a specification and written timetable which has been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority; and
(ii) following on from the evaluation, any safeguarding measures to ensure preservation in situ of important archaeological remains and/or further archaeological investigation and recording in accordance with a specification and timetable which has been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority
Reason: This information is necessary to ensure appropriate assessment of the archaeological implications of any development proposals and the subsequent mitigation of adverse impacts through preservation in situ or by record.
7. No development shall take place until details of tree protection in accordance with the current edition of BS 5837 have been submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority. All trees to be retained must be protected by barriers and/or ground protection. No equipment, plant, machinery or materials shall be brought onto the site prior to the erection of approved barriers and/or ground protection except to carry out pre commencement operations approved in writing by the local planning authority. Nothing shall be stored or placed, nor fires lit, within any of the protected areas. No alterations shall be made to the siting of barriers and/or ground protection, nor ground levels changed, nor excavations made within these areas without the written consent of the local planning authority. These measures shall be maintained until all equipment, machinery and surplus materials have been removed from the site.
Reason: In the interests of landscape, visual impact and amenity of the area and to ensure a satisfactory appearance to the development.
8. No development shall take place until details of the proposed slab levels of the building(s) and the existing site levels have been submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority and the development shall be completed strictly in accordance with the approved levels;
Reason: In order to secure a satisfactory form of development having regard to the topography of the site.
9. No development shall take place until the developer has developed a scheme detailing and where possible quantifying what measures or offsetting schemes are to be included in the development which will reduce the transport related air pollution of the development during construction and when in occupation. The report should be submitted to and approved by the Local Planning Authority, prior to development. [The developer should have regard to the DEFRA guidance from the document Low Emissions Strategy -using the planning system to reduce transport emissions January 2010.]
Reason: In the interests of protecting health.
10. No development shall take place until a Construction Management Plan and Code of Construction Practice has been submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority. The approved details shall be fully implemented. The construction of the development shall then be carried out in accordance with the approved Code of Construction Practice and BS5228 Noise Vibration and Control on Construction and Open Sites and the Control of dust from construction sites (BRE DTi Feb 2003) unless previously agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority.
Reason: In view of the scale of the development and in the interests of highway safety, and air quality/local amenity.
11. No development shall take place until the following components of a scheme to deal with the risks associated with contamination of the site shall have been submitted to and approved, in writing, by the local planning authority:
1) A preliminary risk assessment which has identified:
- all previous uses
- potential contaminants associated with those uses
- a conceptual model of the site indicating sources, pathways and receptors
- potentially unacceptable risks arising from contamination at the site.
2) A site investigation, based on (1) to provide information for a detailed assessment of the risk to all receptors that may be affected, including those off site.
3) A remediation method statement (RMS) based on the site investigation results and the detailed risk assessment (2). This should give full details of the remediation measures required and how they are to be undertaken. The RMS should also include a verification plan to detail the data that will be collected in order to demonstrate that the works set out in the RMS are complete and identifying any requirements for longer-term monitoring of pollutant linkages, maintenance and arrangements for contingency action.
4) A Closure Report is submitted upon completion of the works. The closure report shall include full verification details as set out in 3. This should include details of any post remediation sampling and analysis, together with documentation certifying quantities and source/destination of any material brought onto or taken from the site. Any material brought onto the site shall be certified clean;
Any changes to these components require the express consent of the local planning authority. The scheme shall thereafter be implemented as approved.
Reason: In the interests of protecting the health of future occupants and the prevention of pollution.
12. No development shall take place until a long-term monitoring and maintenance plan in respect of groundwater contamination including a timetable of monitoring and submission of reports to the Local Planning Authority, has been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. Reports as specified in the approved plan, including details of any necessary contingency action arising from the monitoring, shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. Any necessary contingency measures shall be carried out in accordance with the details in the approved reports. On completion of the monitoring specified in the plan a final report demonstrating that all long-term monitoring requirements and targets have been achieved shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority.
Reason: For the protection of Controlled Waters.
13. No development shall take place until detailed designs of the under croft car parking, demonstrating the effective use of floodable grills, have been submitted and approved by the Local Planning Authority. Detailed designs should include safe means of escape for all users in a flood event and all utilities must be located above the design flood level. The development shall be carried out in accordance with the approved details and maintained thereafter,
Reason: To minimise risk of internal flooding and to maintain or increase flood plain volumes.
14. No development shall take place until the applicant has demonstrated that the final land levels within Flood Zone 3a will not result in any loss of flood water storage or conveyance, and that flood risk is not increased to the surrounding area. It must be demonstrated that final land levels increase the overall flood storage capacity for the site as outlined in the Flood Risk Assessment (August 2017). The development shall be carried out in accordance with the approved details.
Reason: To minimise risk of flooding and to maintain or increase flood plain volumes.
15. No development shall take place until a detailed sustainable surface water drainage scheme for the site has been submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority. The detailed drainage scheme shall demonstrate that the surface water generated by this development (for all rainfall durations and intensities up to and including the climate change adjusted critical 100yr storm) can be accommodated and disposed of without increase to flood risk on or off-site.
Reason: To ensure the development is served by satisfactory arrangements for the disposal of surface water and to ensure that the development does not exacerbate the risk of on/off site flooding.
16. No development shall take place (including any ground works, site or vegetation clearance) until a detailed ecological mitigation strategy has been submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority. The content of the method statement shall include the:
a) Updated ecological surveys (if older than 2 years from the date of the surveys)
b) Purpose and objectives for the proposed works:
c) Detailed design(s) and/or working method(s) necessary to achieve stated objectives;
d) Extent and location of proposed works, including the identification of a suitable receptor site, shown on appropriate scale maps and plans;
e) Timetable for implementation, demonstrating that works are aligned with the proposed phasing of construction;
f) Persons responsible for implementing the works, including times during construction
when specialist ecologists need to be present on site to undertake / oversee works;
g) Use of protective fences, exclusion barriers and warning signs;
h) Initial aftercare and long-term maintenance (where relevant);
i) Disposal of any wastes for implementing work.
The works shall be carried out in accordance with the approved details and shall be retained in that manner thereafter.
Reason: In the interest of biodiversity protection.
17. No development shall take place until A Landscape and Ecological Management Plan (LEMP) has been submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority. The content of the LEMP shall include the following.
a) Description and evaluation of features to be managed;
b) Ecological trends and constraints on site that might influence management;
c) Aims and objectives of management;
d) Appropriate management options for achieving aims and objectives;
e) Prescriptions for management actions,
f) Preparation of a work schedule (including an annual work plan capable of being rolled forward over a five-year period;
g) Details of the body or organisation responsible for implementation of the plan;
h) Details of annual habitat and species monitoring.
i) Details of how the monitoring will inform updates of the management plan.
j) Enhancements including bird and bat boxes, and swift bricks.
The LEMP shall also include details of the legal and funding mechanism(s) by which the long term implementation of the plan will be secured by the developer with the management body(ies) responsible for its delivery. The plan shall also set out (where the results from monitoring show that conservation aims and objectives of the LEMP are not being met) how contingencies and/or remedial action will be identified, agreed and implemented so that the development still delivers the fully functioning biodiversity objectives of the originally approved scheme. The approved plan will be implemented in accordance with the approved details.
Reason: In the interest of biodiversity protection.
18. No development above slab level shall take place until details and timetables for the implementation of the historic mitigation measures as outlined within the mitigation section of the Cultural Heritage Impact Assessment (November 2017), and details of the heritage trail including the use of salvaged features from the site’s industrial past, arranged in the open space areas, have been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. The approved details shall be carried out in accordance with the approved timetable and maintained thereafter.
Reason: To ensure that history of the site is recorded.
19. No development above slab level shall take place until a written statement of public art to be provided on site (which relates to the history of the Springfield Mill site) in the form of a Public Art Delivery Plan has been submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority. This shall include the selection and commissioning process, the artist's brief, the budget, possible form, materials and locations of public art, the timetable for provision, maintenance agreement and community engagement. The development shall be carried out in accordance with the approved details.
Reason: In the interests of the history of the site and place making/shaping in accordance with the provisions of the Maidstone Borough Council Public Art Guidance.
20. Notwithstanding the submitted plans, no development above slab level shall take place until a landscape scheme using indigenous species and designed in accordance with the principles of the Council’s landscape character guidance has been submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority. The implementation and long term management plan shall include long term design objectives, management responsibilities and maintenance schedules for all landscape areas, other than small, privately owned, domestic gardens. The landscaping of the site and its management thereafter shall be carried out in accordance with the approved details over the period specified. The landscaping scheme shall specifically include the following:
· A strong emphasis on native tree, hedge and shrub species.
· The provision of mixed native hedges.
· The planting of only native species within the riparian buffer zone.
· Details of retained cordwood on site.
· Measures to soften any retaining walls/structures.
Reason: In the interests of landscape, visual impact and amenity of the area and to ensure a satisfactory appearance to the development
21. No development above slab level shall take place until a scheme to demonstrate that the internal noise levels within the residential units and the external noise levels in back garden and other relevant amenity areas will conform to the standard identified by BS 8233 2014, Sound Insulation and Noise Reduction for Buildings has been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. The work specified in the approved scheme shall then be carried out in accordance with the approved details prior to occupation of the premises and be retained thereafter.
Reason: In the interests of amenity.
22. No development above slab level shall take place until written details and samples of the materials to be used in the construction of the external surfaces of the building(s) hereby permitted have been submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority and the development shall be constructed using the approved materials. Materials shall include the following:
· The use of reclaimed ragstone on the plots as shown on the materials drawing no. 021 RevA.
· Multi stock bricks including those which are similar in appearance to those used on the listed Rag Room.
· Dark brick banding on the plots as shown on the materials drawing no. 021 RevA.
· Timber windows on plots 187-192.
· Slate roof tiles.
· Pre-cast cills and brick detailing with quoins and splayed lintels on windows
· Quoin detailing on corners of buildings.
Reason: To ensure a satisfactory appearance to the development.
23. No development above slab level shall take place until a sample panel of the ragstone for the buildings and walling has been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. Such details as approved shall be fully implemented on site.
Reason: To ensure a good quality design.
24. No development above slab level shall take place until, written details and samples of the surface materials to be used in the construction of the development hereby permitted have been submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority and the development shall be constructed using the approved materials. The details shall follow the principles of materials drawing no. 021 RevA including all roads block paved (with the exception of the entrance section) and all parking spaces block paved.
Reason: To ensure a satisfactory appearance to the development.
25. No development above slab level shall take place until, details of all fencing, walling and other boundary treatments, including any retaining walling/structures, have been submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority and the development shall be carried out in accordance with the approved details before the first occupation of the building(s) or land and maintained thereafter. The details shall follow the principles of enclosures drawing no. 020 RevB including ragstone walling, and ragstone facings shall be used for prominent retaining walls/structures.
Reason: To ensure a satisfactory appearance to the development and to safeguard the enjoyment of their properties by existing and prospective occupiers.
26. No development above slab level shall take place until details of any external meter cupboards for all dwellings and any external meter cupboards, vents, pipes, flues, and guttering for the apartment blocks have been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority and the development shall be carried out in accordance with the approved details. Such features shall be installed to limit their visibility from public view points.
Reason: To secure a high standard of design.
27. No development above slab level shall take place until details of any lighting to be placed or erected within the site have been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. The submitted details shall include, inter alia, details of measures to shield and direct light from the light sources so as to prevent light pollution, illuminance contour plots covering sensitive neighbouring receptors, and lighting of the car park area. The details shall also be designed in order to minimise any impact upon bats. The development shall thereafter be carried out in accordance with the subsequently approved details.
Reason: In the interest of residential amenity and safety.
28. No development above slab level shall take place until details of how decentralised and renewable or low-carbon sources of energy will be incorporated into the development have been submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority. The development shall be implemented in accordance with the approved details and all features shall be maintained thereafter.
Reason: To ensure an energy efficient form of development.
29. No development above slab level shall take place until details of plots where electric vehicle charging points can be installed have been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. The approved plots shall not be occupied until a minimum of one electric vehicle charging point has been installed on each property, and shall thereafter be retained for that purpose.
Reason: To promote the reduction of CO2 emissions through the use of low emissions vehicles.
30. No development above slab level shall take place until a Residential Travel Plan in accordance with the Planning Practice Guidance has been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. The approved Travel Plan shall be thereafter implemented and maintained.
Reason: In the interest of sustainable transport.
31. No development above slab level shall take place until details of any slopes, ramps and retaining structures necessary to connect the new cycle route to the river towpath have been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. The development shall be carried out in accordance with the approved details prior to the occupation of the development.
Reason: In the interest of sustainable transport.
32. The access as shown on drawing no 03 RevB shall be completed before the commencement of the use of the land or buildings hereby permitted and include the provision and maintenance of 2m x 2m pedestrian visibility splays behind the footway on both sides of the accesses with no obstructions over 0.6m above footway level.
Reason: In the interests of road safety.
33. No building hereby permitted shall be occupied until the following off-site highways works have been fully implemented:
(i) Three pedestrian crossing upgrades at the White Rabbit roundabout (on Fairmeadow, Staceys Street, and Royal Engineers Road).
(ii) A new section of cycle route (connecting National Cycle Network Route 17 to the Medway towpath via James Whatman Way) with any necessary signposting through the application site.
(iii) Kerbing for low floor bus access at the nearby bus stops (on Royal Engineers Road).
Reason: In the interests of highway safety and sustainable transport use.
34. No building hereby permitted shall be occupied until a Verification Report pertaining to the surface water drainage system, carried out by a suitably qualified professional, has been submitted to the Local Planning Authority which demonstrates the suitable operation of the drainage system such that flood risk is appropriately managed, as approved by the Lead Local Flood Authority. The Report shall contain information and evidence (including photographs) of earthworks; details and locations of inlets, outlets and control structures; extent of planting; details of materials utilised in construction including subsoil, topsoil, aggregate and membrane liners; full as built drawings; and topographical survey of ‘as constructed’ features.
Reason: To ensure that flood risks from development to the future users of the land and neighbouring land are minimised, together with those to controlled waters, property and ecological systems.
35. No building hereby permitted shall be occupied until details of the implementation, maintenance and management of the sustainable drainage scheme have been submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority. The scheme shall be implemented and thereafter managed and maintained in accordance with the approved details. Those details shall include:
a) a timetable for its implementation, and
b) a management and maintenance plan for the lifetime of the development which shall include the arrangements for adoption by any public body or statutory undertaker, or any other arrangements to secure the operation of the sustainable drainage system throughout its lifetime.
Reason: To ensure that any measures to mitigate flood risk and protect water quality on/off the site are fully implemented and maintained (both during and after construction).
36. The approved details of the vehicle parking/turning and cycle parking areas shall be completed before the commencement of the use of the land or buildings to which they relate and shall thereafter be kept available for such use. No development, whether permitted by the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England ) Order 2015 (or any order revoking and re-enacting that Order, with or without modification) or not, shall be carried out on the areas indicated or in such a position as to preclude vehicular access to them;
Reason: Development without adequate parking/turning provision is likely to lead to parking inconvenient to other road users and in the interests of road safety and sustainability.
37. Notwithstanding the parking provision shown on drawing no. 067, the use of the Rag Room shall not commence until details of parking provision relating to the specific use have been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. The approved details of the vehicle parking/turning and cycle parking areas shall be completed before the commencement of the use of Rag Room and shall thereafter be kept available for such use. No development, whether permitted by the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England ) Order 2015 (or any order revoking and re-enacting that Order, with or without modification) or not, shall be carried out on the areas indicated or in such a position as to preclude vehicular access to them;
Reason: To ensure appropriate parking for the use.
38. Where infiltration is to be used to manage the surface water from the development hereby permitted, it will only be allowed within those parts of the site where information is submitted to demonstrate to the Local Planning Authority’s satisfaction that there is no resultant unacceptable risk to controlled waters and/or ground stability. The development shall only then be carried out in accordance with the approved details.
Reason: To protect groundwater resources.
39. Piling or any other foundation designs using penetrative methods shall not be permitted other than with the express written consent of the Local Planning Authority, which may be given for those parts of the site where it has been demonstrated that there is no resultant unacceptable risk to groundwater. The development shall be carried out in accordance with the approved details.
Reason: To protect groundwater resources.
40. If, during development, contamination not previously identified is found to be present at the site then no further development (unless otherwise agreed in writing with the Local Planning Authority) shall be carried out until the developer has submitted, and obtained written approval from the Local Planning Authority for, a remediation strategy detailing how this unsuspected contamination shall be dealt with. The remediation strategy shall be implemented as approved, verified and reported to the satisfaction of the Local Planning Authority.
Reason: Reason: In the interests of protecting the health of future occupants and the prevention of pollution.
41. Notwithstanding the provisions of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 (or any order revoking and re-enacting that Order with or without modification), no extension of any residential properties or enlargement of any roofs shall be carried out without the permission of the local planning authority;
Reason: To safeguard the character and appearance of the development and the enjoyment of their properties by existing and prospective occupiers.
Case Officer: Richard Timms