Application 17/03431 - The Landing - King St/Broadway/Queen St

Comments on Application 17/03431 - The Landing - King St/Broadway/Queen St

Request for Scoping Opinion to develop residential floorspace, office floorspace, retail, community and leisure floorspace.

While the documents are unclear about the purpose of this exercise, we assume that a Scoping Report is meant to identify the issues that will need to be addressed in an EIA and by the subsequent Planning Application. Outline planning permission was granted for this "Triangle" site under Application 15/00420 in 2015. From the current application, it is understood that there has been a change of direction and a consequent re-evaluation of the project.

The shift from commercial to residential use may reflect the market trend and the pressure for much needed homes but we have serious concerns about the impact of the changes on our compact town centre’s character, access and movement.

We would want to ensure that the Environmental Impact Assessment covers:

- Traffic and Transport: Traffic flow, pedestrian links and connectivity to Railway Station, Nicholsons Centre / High Street and the York Road Opportunity Area.

- Biodiversity: inclusion of trees, grass, green roofs etc.

- Townscape and Visual: Vistas of / through the site, a sense of a safe welcoming space, broad walkways, high quality landscaping and planting, etc.

- Daylight and sunlight – the effect of unusually high buildings, especially in the winter months.

- Microclimate and wind conditions: Need to avoid windy canyon effect with the open aspect of entrances to the scheme, especially at the South West Corner, and main thoroughfares on the axes of prevailing winds.

The scoping exercise indicates that significant changes to the approved outline application are proposed, though these are as yet unclear.

The number of residential units has been increased from 225 to 550 which is understandable bearing in mind the pressure to deliver housing targets though, regrettably, all these units will be yet more flats. Moreover, the failure to provide any parking is a real concern.

There is increasing evidence that town centre residential dwellings require parking spaces. The permitted outline application included 150 spaces for residents which, though inadequate, was perceived as a positive. This scoping exercise contains no reference to any on-site parking provision which is a major negative.

The office space has been reduced from 34,500 sq mtrs. to 15,000 sq mtrs. But at the same time the maximum height of office blocks has been increased from 14 storeys in the permitted outline application to an unacceptable 19 storeys in this scoping exercise.

Office parking is assumed to be made available in the extended and refurbished Nicholsons Car Park - which will have to accommodate vehicles belonging to residents of the scheme in addition to office employees.

Retail and Leisure space has been increased from 5,000 sq mtrs. in the approved scheme to 6,000 sq mtrs. in the scoping exercise. It is not clear what has happened to the originally proposed parking provision for these businesses.

A number of positive changes are mooted, including an improved pedestrian link to Nicholsons Centre, but on balance when it comes to a further planning application we will be objecting to many of the changes, especially the failure to provide parking and the increased building heights.