Plans to build 98 flats on land next to Crawley College have been approved by the borough council – but the support was by no means unanimous.
The application for a part eight-storey, part six-storey L-shaped block on a former college car park, in Northgate Avenue, was put before the planning committee on Monday (July 2).
It was approved by six votes to four.
Permission had been given to the applicant – Arcus PDC – in March to build 90 flats on the site. A number of changes were then made to the application, the most obvious being the addition of eight flats.
The council’s planning policy states that 40 per cent of a residential development needs to be affordable housing – the Northgate development will be 100 per cent affordable.
While the report from officers described this figure as “a significant improvement”, there were concerns about changes to some of the brickwork layout and windows in the new application, which they said reduced the design quality of the scheme.
Councillors discussed concerns about potential emissions from the college’s boiler room chimney, which would be 25m from the development.
Officers assured them that no objection had been raised by the environmental health team, adding that it was hoped the college would eventually become part of the town’s planned District Heating Network.
The council was awarded £1.4million in April 2017 by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to establish the network, and it is due to be discussed by the Cabinet on September 5.
The meeting was told that, once the college joined the network, the understanding was the chimney would be demolished.
The major concerns from residents who contacted the council centred around parking and the flats overshadowing their gardens.
The application allows for 52 parking spaces for the 98 flats.
While the council’s minimum standard called for 90 parking spaces, officers said the central location would give residents plenty of alternative transport options, meaning they would be less reliant on cars.
Planning permission for the original application included a Section 106 agreement for the developer to pay a total contribution of £278,928.
The meeting was told that if that agreement was not completed by January 2 2019, the head of economic and environmental services was authorised to refuse the planning permission.