The Principal Development Management Officer (PDMO), Be First Development Management Team, introduced a report on an application from the Peabody Trust & Dagenham Dock Ltd seeking an outline permission with all matters reserved on the site of the former Ford Stamping Plant and Tooling Operations Site at Chequers Lane, Dagenham RM9 6SA. The application sought the demolition of existing buildings and structures, the erection of buildings comprising residential homes and non-residential floorspace including flexible industrial workspace; flexible employment, retail, community and leisure uses; a school, and associated infrastructure; new streets, open spaces, landscaping and public realm; car, motorcycle and bicycle parking spaces and servicing, utilities and other works incidental to the proposed development.
The application being an EIA development was accompanied by an Environmental Statement. The formal description of the development as set out above omitted the unit numbers and heights, which on the basis of an approval, would allow for changes to occur in the future, if required by the applicant, in a streamlined and flexible manner.
Following the publication of the agenda a supplementary report was circulated as referred to by the PDMO in their presentation clarifying/changing a number of procedural aspects, none of which had any material bearing on the assessment of the application or the recommendations set out in the published report.
In addition to internal and external consultations, a total of 1102 notification letters were sent to neighbouring properties together with the requisite statutory press and site notices. Two responses were received, the full material planning considerations relating to which were addressed in the planning assessment set out in the report.
The Committee then received a brief overview of the outline application from the applicant who were represented by James McMylor, Peter Cross & Andrew Mott, who set out the key benefits of the residential led mixed use redevelopment of the site.
In response to the presentation the Deputy Chair sought and received clarification as to how the 47% affordable housing figure was reached and was given assurances that any additional profit derived from the scheme at the mid stage review would be split significantly in favour of the local authority in order to reach the 50% target set for affordable housing across the development.
Officers concluded that the outline application before Members had sought the redevelopment of a key, underutilised and allocated brownfield site in an area of the borough undergoing significant regeneration, which had, for over 15 years, been identified as an Opportunity Area for growth and regeneration.
The redevelopment of the site to provide a residential led development would contribute to the Borough’s housing stock through the provision of up to 3502 high quality units compliant with relevant standards. The delivery of a minimum of 47% affordable provision on a habitable room basis (1550 affordable homes) across the site would meet an identified need in the Borough. Other benefits and uses as detailed in the application description included the delivery of a new 10FE secondary school to be facilitated through a land transfer to the Council to provide much needed identified school places for the local community. The provision of employment opportunities and flexible floorspace to incorporate social infrastructure such as health and community uses were also proposed.
The application would also delivery at least 10 acres of open space, including a 5-acre Urban Park, a Linear Park, a Central Green, public squares, urban greening and landscaped public realm, all of which had been highly supported by officers. Significant employment opportunities through the provision of industrial, commercial and office floorspace would also be secured as would the establishment of new sustainable transport measures, including the provision of a bus route and new bus stops and electrical vehicle charging points as detailed on the accompanying masterplan. The proposal would also deliver wider connectivity to surrounding sites and to and from the key transport hub of Dagenham Dock Railway Station.
Whilst it was acknowledged by Members that the scheme would deliver a wealth of benefits to the local community and the borough as a whole, officers also recognised that there were some aspects of the scheme that fell short in meeting planning policy. These had been acknowledged in the report with appropriate mitigation measures put in place where possible.
In that respect it was noted however that the NPPF had recognised that the presumption in favour of sustainable development should apply in as much that proposed developments should be granted planning permission unless their adverse impacts "significantly and demonstrably" outweigh their benefits.
Officers confirmed that there were no such adverse impacts and that on balance the application would deliver substantial public benefits. The outline proposals had been developed taking into account the site’s existing and emerging context, pre-application consultation and the requirements of national, regional and local planning policies and guidance.
Accordingly, the Committee RESOLVED to: