Tetlow King Planning (TKP) has assisted AA Design Ltd of Sheffield and Meedhurst Project Management in obtaining planning permission on behalf of Methodist Homes for the Aged to demolish an existing care home and construct a care facility comprising 33 individual suites for the more vulnerable elderly in Southport. TKP’s principal role was in articulating to Sefton Borough Council how and why the development should be classified as a C2 Use Class, residential institution, rather than as standard C3 dwellings; and in addressing both the principles and levels of financial contributions arising from the development plan policies.
The application followed on from a previous refusal of planning permission in 2011 for a slightly larger proposal of 35 care suites. The previous application had been refused for a number of reasons; including the design and scale and because of the failure to agree sufficient financial contributions. Furthermore, the Council considered the existing building to be a non-designated and non-statutory heritage asset of value under the then current PPS5 on the historic environment. This is unusual because the building was neither Listed nor in a Conservation Area. As such, no planning permission was required for the building’s demolition; yet the loss of the building was seen as a planning issue worthy of its own refusal reason.
TKP had in that earlier application persuaded the Council that the proposed development was indeed a C2 Use Class; and the refusal reason on this issue had been removed at the Committee meeting. This had important implications for the application of affordable housing policies.
AA Design Ltd amended the design and scale of the buildings to satisfy the Council’s concerns and ensured that the proposed design took a higher degree of reference and features from the existing building. TKP and Meedhurst persuaded the Council that the building could be demolished without planning permission.
TKP helped to resolved the further issue of financial contributions. Policy DQ3 of the Local Plan requires the provision of new tree planting for new development which is calculated on the basis of 1 tree per 50 sq m of new gross floorspace. In addition to this any trees removed as part of the development must be replaced on the basis of at least two for one and if they are not then a contribution must be paid for any not replaced. Policy DQ4 requires the provision of a financial contribution for open space where there is a clear and justified shortfall within an area.
TKP argued successfully that the contributions on open space should take into account the existing floorspace of the care home and that this should be deducted from the proposed floorspace in calculating the amount of the financial contribution. The negotiations on the financial issues were extensive and it was evident that the Council, like many others, was determined to secure as high a financial contribution as it could. TKP was able to advise the client on the best approach to these negotiations in the context of what was reasonable and justifiable.