Planning Committee Report February 2015

This is a report of a face-to-face Planning Sub-committee meeting held in February.

Pre-Application Notifications & Associated Applications with Major Developments

14/05147/FUL Change of use from student accommodation to Class 1 (Shops), Class 2 (Financial, professional & other services) and/or Class 4 (Business) uses and residential apartments, proposed alterations and ancillary works.
27, 29, 31 James Craig Walk Edinburgh EH1 3BA

The property is included within the St James Master plan. Proposal to redevelop from existing student accommodation (in use since 2002) to 6 ground/lower ground floor commercial units & 20 residential flats. Proposal includes significant restoration of the building exterior to its original form as well as managing the change in street level elevation from current (& historic) through new entrances. It also acknowledges the transition from the proposed contemporary St James development to the cat B listing building. NTBCC representation made – broadly in support but expressing concerns over the omission of a through route from West Register Street. 9 comments submitted – decision pending.

14/05143/FUL Change of use to Class 3 (Food and Drink) and Class 4 (Business) uses, proposed alterations, erection of extension and ancillary works.
3 St James Place (aka St Andrews House) Edinburgh EH1 3JH

Extension to existing listed building towards JL to form significant contemporary extension & associated public realm improvements to Little King Street. It would seem that there has been much discussion between CEC Planning department on the proposal & whilst it does seem to be borderline vs. Edinburgh Council guidance for extensions to listed buildings and the public realm improvements seem little more than a flight of steps with minimum public seating, any representation will be ultimately unsuccessful. No NTBCC representation made. 1 comment lodged from the Cockburn who opposed the contemporary extension. Decision pending.

14/03550/PAN 42 St Andrews Square, 19-23 South St Andrews Street, West Register Street & West Register Street Lane

Includes the '(ex)-Romanov' building in the south-east corner of St Andrews Square & Register Street / West Register Street. Grade A offices, serviced apartments (or a hotel), and Class 1 (Retail), 2 (Professional offices), 3 (Restaurant/café).

Public Exhibition attended on 27th November with Chris Stewart architects and Scott Hobbs as agent. Representatives from Gareth Hoskins, Chris Stewart group and Morgan McDonnell presented at January NTBCC meeting.

NTBCC supported the developer’s aspirations. NTBCC representation to the PAN submitted – with objection to 42 St Andrews Square roof top extension & objection to demolition or gutting of listed buildings on West Register Street. Supportive of the vision to create a more vibrant entrance to the proposed St James Quarter development with various food / drink establishments fronting Register Lane & the ground floor of 42 St Andrews Square and the restoration of the banking hall. Transport comments covering recommendation to minimize vehicle access, manage trade waste more appropriately and no provision for cycle route through West Register Street.

Edinburgh St James Information Forum

NTBCC attended the update to St James Quarter Plans on Monday 27th October & subsequently summarized the development to NTBCC. Outline PP was granted in 2009 which established the principles of redeveloping the centre for a mix of uses and provided detailed approval for siting & maximum height of buildings. Various 'reserved matters' applications are being progressed for the detailed design of the development which will be lodged for full PP in early 2015.

Meeting with Martin Perry (TIAA Henderson Real Estate (THRE) Director of Development attended by NTBCC Planning Sub-committee prior to submitting representation on the latest AMC application (see below) – due 11th February 2015.

14/05263/AMC Approval of matters specified in condition 23 (i), (iii), (vii), (ix), (x), (xi), (xvi) and (xvii) of Planning Permission 08/03361/OUT relating to number of residential/commercial/business units, design of external features and materials, pedestrian and cycle access arrangements, treatment to adopted roads or footways, car parking venting, servicing, surface water and drainage, and hard and soft landscaping details St James Centre Edinburgh EH1 3S

NTBCC Planning Committee attended the Cockburn Case Study meeting on the above and has had sight of the Cockburn representation.

Main areas of proposed NTBCC representation :

  • Desirable to further improve vitality of Leith Street
  • No objection to removal of Greenside link
  • Concerns over public realm and proposed use of Little King Street (exclusive vehicle access for residential apartments) & future impact of relocated Picardy Place tram stop on pedestrian flows through LKS..
  • Regret absence of offices in latest plans
  • Support Cockburn Association proposal for sustainable development – design should accommodate change of use of retail to offices or other.
  • Concerns over impact of construction and amount of spoil to remove to Leith Docks. (4 levels of car parking proposed with final level requiring significant excavation into bedrock).
  • Outward looking development rather than inward looking – permeability of development to St Andrews Square etc.
  • Strong support that the development goes ahead.
  • Propose no comment on facing materials (limestone vs. sandstone).

15/00223/PAN Change of use, alterations to and restoration of principal Former Royal High School building and pavilions (original Thomas Hamilton designed school buildings), demolition of ancillary buildings, including the former gymnasium and gatehouse, new build development, new/improved pedestrian and vehicle access, landscaping, parking and public realm works to create a world class hotel of international standing.
New Parliament House 5 - 7 Regent Road Edinburgh EH7 5BL

Development proposal is generating significant community interest & in addition to this AHSS-sponsored discussion on Monday 23rd February at 6:30pm, there are 2 series of Public Consultations - one later this week & the second in early March.

The first series will take place on 6th February from 12:00pm until 7:00pm and from 11:00am to 5:00pm on Saturday 7 February 2015 at the former Royal High School. A second consultation event would then take place on Thursday 5 and Friday 6 March 2015 again from 10.00am to 7.00pm again at the former RHS but timing to be confirmed.

This will be discussed further at the March NTBCC meeting but at that stage the opportunity to see the plans in detail at these consultations will have passed. Clearly, the 'do nothing' option is unacceptable and there is an urgent need to ensure that the buildings do not deteriorate further but this leaves open the question of whether this scheme, although the only option on the table currently, is good enough ... more to come.

Planning Applications / Representations

14/04840/FUL Proposed extension at rear of coffee pavilion in St Andrew Square Gardens. 43 St Andrew Square Edinburgh EH2 2AD

Further to December NTBCC discussion, the Cockburn Association was contacted regarding their position on the above. They provided useful historical perspective on the original 2005/6 and DMC discussions at that time. Based on this input, a representation was made by NTBCC. In summary, NTBCC fully supports opening St Andrew Square gardens to the general public and believes this forms a valuable additional public space in the city, which will become even more important when the adjacent, already consented, developments are completed. However, we also support the view that the gardens should be maintained as far as possible as an oasis of 'tranquillity at the heart of the city'. We believe that this application is contrary to this.'' 4 comments received – decision pending.

14/04044/FUL 52-52A Annandale Street Demolition of Existing Building & Construction of a Flatted Residential Development with Assoc. Parking & Landscaping

Representation submitted to PAN and to full PP application – broadly in support. Full application has undergone Edinburgh Urban Design Panel review & incorporated some changes proposed by NTBCC (improved landscaping / revision of types of accommodation). Proposal for 60 units – mainly 2 bed with 25% allocated to Affordable Housing. 15 representations made. CEC Environmental has recommended refusal on grounds of noise and air quality impacting amenity of residents (from bus depot). Amended scheme submitted - determination pending.

Update on Previous Planning Applications / Representations

14/03513/FUL Erection of mixed use development comprising student accommodation, retail, cafe and restaurant uses. 34B Haddington Place Edinburgh EH7 4AG

Application granted – work on site has commenced subject to satisfactory Section 75 agreement (for tram etc. contributions).

Summary from Edinburgh Urban Design Panel The Panel welcomes the opportunity to review the proposal at this early stage of the design process. The Panel's comments are set in the context that the proposal is based on the 'minded to grant' application and therefore welcomes any improvements to the design being considered under this proposal which may allow the proposal to add maximum value to the streetscape. Regarding the proposed use the Panel consider it important that it is fully demonstrated that the proposal is easily converted to other uses particularly residential.

ENA-230-2093 Batleys Cash And Carry, 30 McDonald Place, Edinburgh, EH7 4NH

Extended opening hours (Sundays) refused and applicant has now appealed to DPEA. No other details available.

14/01419/FUL Garage at rear of 8 Bellevue Crescent & 14/00049/REVREF

NTBCC has not yet objected (retrospectively) to the Enforcement Officer’s decision despite clear guidance from DPEA & the Local Review Board.

14/02786/FUL 1-6 Canonmills Bridge (currently Earthy’s)

Change of use from class 3 to retail, erection 6 flats and 3 town houses and minor alterations to elevations

Original representation submitted by NTBCC against the 2009 application but subsequently granted in May 2013. NTBCC proposed refurbishment of existing premises rather than demolition & redevelopment (which has now happened). Subsequent application to vary elevation details attracted 230 comments – mostly mistaken objections to the 2009 application.

Planning Committee discussion & site visit in November. Planning Officer originally recommended to grant.

DMC on 17th December reached the following decision: To indicate intention to refuse planning permission for the reasons that the development would be detrimental to the character of the conservation area – application now refused.

14/04241/FUL & 14/04242/LBC 35A Howe Street

Erect basement level extension to replace existing out-shot. Remove two existing rear windows and form opening for new French doors. Erect glazed porch at front entrance beneath stair platt.

Application for a large contemporary rear extension replacing non-original small out-shot as well as linking front elevation to 2 newly-developed cellars. Representation made along with representations from Cockburn Association and Great King Street Association. Historic Scotland as a statutory consultee has also supported points raised by NTBCC. 6 comments submitted.

Plans now resubmitted reducing scope of rear extension & proposing a 2 bed flat (vs. 3 bed previously). Planning officer minded to grant amended scheme.

Disposal of Common Good Land for St James Quarter development

NTBCC have been consulted on the proposal to sell 3 small parcels of Common Good Land in support of the St James Quarter development.

CEC plan to dispose of these 3 parcels as part of a larger land transaction to St James Edinburgh Unit Trust (managed by TIAA Henderson Real Estates). The 3 parcels constitute a relatively small total area. Letter received proposes an independent valuation for this land & the developer contribution will be paid into the Common Good Fund. It is also stated that there is no perceived detriment to the public in the sale of these areas of common good land. 2 parcels will ultimately be reinstated as public realm land with public access. The other parcel will be used as a site for a new sub-station to the north of Cathedral House. NTBCC did not make a representation.

Disposal of Common Good Land for Scottish National Gallery

NTBCC have been consulted on the proposal (although technically outwith our area) to dispose of a small area in Princes Street Gardens to permit an extension of the National Gallery. Essentially this would extend the National gallery eastwards by ~5m and relocate the existing path in line with the Weston Link. We believe that the land would be 'gifted' to either the Scottish Government or the Board of Trustees. Gareth Hoskins Architects are again involved in the design of this extension. Recommended to reply with 'no objection' in principle.

George Street proposals

NTBCC Planning Sub-committee met to consider what we would propose for George Street public realm improvements given the position regarding the current CEC trial.

Intent is to draft a position paper by end February (or more accurately after the March NTBCC meeting). Suggestion also to engage more closely with Essential Edinburgh to better understand their aspirations etc. both with George Street & St Andrews Square gardens but after their CEO transition in April. .

Initial thoughts on George Street were:

  • Believe that there is a need to redefine George Street objectives given the significant proposed increase in retail in the east end (St James Quarter etc.) – 'do nothing' may not be an option.
  • We believe that the current one-way trial system has not had an adverse impact on traffic flows within the New Town.
  • Unclear whether a 2 lane cycle way is the best option either for George Street or for increasing cycle provision.
  • We believe that George Street uses vary from west to east.
  • The current disposition of cafes and bars for those who my want to avail themselves of outside seating is at odds with where one might otherwise want to create pedestrianized café culture spaces – should the provision of outside tables therefore be ignored as a factor as they may not add to the ambience ?
  • The aim should be to create a street which it is pleasant to stroll down because it is aesthetically pleasing.

Richard Price

February 2015