Agenda item

Planning Application CR/2017/0997/OUT - Town Hall, The Boulevard, Northgate, Crawley

To consider report PES/281 (b)of the Head of Economic and Environmental Services.






The Committee considered report PES/281 (b) of the Head of Economic and Environmental Services which proposed as follows:


A hybrid application comprising:

(a)  detailed application for demolition of the existing council offices and civic hall, and erection of a replacement town hall, offices and a public square, and associated access, car parking, landscaping and ancillary works.

(b)  outline application for residential development comprising up to 182 units including commercial space with details of access, all other matters reserved (layout, scale, landscaping and appearance).


Councillors Boxall, Fiveash, Irvine, Jaggard, Sharma, Skudder, P Smith, Stone, Tarrant and Thomas declared they had visited the site.


The Principal Planning Officer provided a verbal summation of the application and the following updates:


Replacement Condition 1:

i) Details of the appearance, landscaping, layout, and scale (hereinafter called 'the reserved matters') in relation to the Block B development comprising up to 182 residential units including commercial space shown on drawing 764-CPA-ZA-SK-010 Rev P1 submitted on 17 May 2018 shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority before any development on the Block B site begins and the development shall be carried out as approved.

ii) Application for approval of the reserved matters shall be made to the Local Planning Authority before the expiration of 3 years from the date of this permission.

REASON: To enable the Local Planning Authority to control the development in detail and to comply with Section 92 of the Town & Country Planning Act 1990.


Replacement Condition 21:

Notwithstanding the plans hereby approved, a scheme for proposed signage, artwork and other features to create a clear and legible environment for users of the development and to create a strong civic identity for the Town Hall element of the scheme shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. The approved scheme shall be implemented in full prior to the first occupation of the Town Hall and office building hereby approved and shall be maintained as such thereafter unless otherwise agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority.

REASON: To enable the Local Planning Authority to control the development in detail to achieve a user friendly environment, to define a clear civic character to the Town Hall element of the scheme and to achieve a development of visual quality in accordance with Policy CH3 of the Crawley Borough Local Plan 2015-2030 and the Urban Design Supplementary Planning Document.


Replacement Condition 31:

Within three months of the first occupation of the Town Hall and office building (Block A) hereby approved, a copy of a post-construction report, verifying that the development has achieved the minimum Energy and Water standards for BREEAM ‘Excellent’, shall be submitted to and agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority.

REASON: In the interests of sustainable design and efficient use of water resources in accordance with policies ENV6 and ENV9 of the Crawley Borough Local Plan 2015-2030.


Mr Charles Crane addressed the Committee in objection to the application, whilst Mr Peter Rainier, the Agent, addressed the Committee in support of the application.  Many of the objections raised reflected those detailed in the report, including the design, the amenities of the flats and the heritage of the Town Hall building.


The Committee then considered the application.  The Committee discussed the issues arising, including the comments raised by the speaker and concerns raised by objectors.  A number of Councillors expressed their own concerns regarding the application, including in particular those in relation to the design, loss of the historic Town Hall building, overshadowing, proximity to the District Heat Centre, vehicular access, parking provisions within the multi storey car park, sustainability and renewable energy, civic accommodation within the new Town Hall and impact on the streetscene and the use of a hybrid application.  In addition, a Councillor queried whether an additional condition was required relating to the provision of broadband for the flats.  In response to issues and concerns raised, the Principal Planning Officer:


·         Advised that, should the District Heat Centre be granted planning permission and be delivered, the application could meet the energy and water standards for BREEAM ‘Excellent’ without solar panels.  Should the District Heat Centre not be delivered, solar panels could be installed to meet BREEAM ‘Excellent.’  Any proposal to site solar panels on the roof of the new Town Hall would require approval by Gatwick Airport/NATS.

·         Confirmed that West Sussex County Council (WSCC) had not raised any concerns regarding the proposed disabled parking at the front of the site.

·         Advised that the majority of traffic movements to/from the site would be along Exchange Road, into the multi storey car park.

·         Advised that the Transport Assessment suggested there would be sufficient parking in the multi storey car park for staff, residents, office workers and shoppers.  In addition, the recent Town Centre parking survey raised no concerns regarding the wider provision for parking.

·         Confirmed that the provision for amenity space, screening, tree replacement and distance of separation between the buildings would be dealt with under reserved matters.

·         Provided further information relating to the nature of hybrid planning applications, outline planning permission and reserved matters.

·         Acknowledged that a condition relating to broadband would normally be included for a development such as application (b).  It was suggested to the Committee and agreed that a condition be inserted as follows:


Broadband condition:

Provision shall be made for combined television reception facilities and superfast broadband to serve all units within the residential development and commercial space (Block B) hereby approved in outline only in accordance with details to be submitted to and agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority.  The approved facilities shall be made available to each individual unit prior to that unit being first brought into use.

REASON: In the interests of visual amenity, to help reduce social exclusion and to allow good access to services in accordance with policies CH3 and IN2 of the Crawley Borough Local Plan 2015-2030.


At the request of Councillor B Burgess, and in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 25.5, the names of the Councillors voting for and against the proposal above were recorded as set out below:


For the Proposal:


Councillors Fiveash, Irvine, Malik, Rana, Sharma, Skudder, P Smith, Stone and Thomas (9).


Against the Proposal:


Councillors A Belben, Boxall, B Burgess, Jaggard and Tarrant (5).






With the vote being 9 for the proposal and 5 against the proposal, the proposal was therefore CARRIED, and it was




Permit, subject to:


    (i)        The conclusion of a Section 106 agreement to secure the provision of affordable housing units, and financial contributions towards Memorial Gardens, Southgate Play Areas, additional tree planting; implementation and operation of a District Energy Centre; two on-street car club bays; car club vehicle and/or membership, Car Park Management Plan and Developer and Partner Charter all as detailed in report PES/281 (b).


   (ii)        The conditions set out in report PES/281 (b), and the three replacement conditions and additional condition above.

Supporting documents: