To consider report PES/287 (b)of the Head of Economy and Planning.
RECOMMENDATION to PERMIT
The Committee considered report PES/287(b) of the Head of Economy and Planning which proposed as follows:
Erection of a District Energy Centre building and associated control room/store, underground pipe work route to provide heating and electricity to the buildings included within the wider Town Hall Redevelopment Master Plan and other developments within Crawley Town Centre.
Councillors A Belben, Boxall, B Burgess, Fiveash, Jaggard, P Smith, Stone and Tarrant declared they had visited the site.
The Principal Planning Officer (HW) provided a verbal summation of the application. He also provided an explanation of how a district energy centre operates and the benefits of such a scheme.
Ms Lisa Da Silva (the agent) addressed the Committee in support of the application.
The Committee then considered the application and, in particular, raised concerns regarding air quality, noise levels and the proximity of the proposed flats to the proposed plant building. In response to the various planning issues and concerns raised by the Committee, the Principal Planning Officer:
· Advised that the scheme was predicted to save 213 tonnes of carbon per year if the Town Hall development, Kilnmead development and 11-13 The Boulevard were connected to the plant and that this figure would increase if other developments also connected.
· Confirmed that the capacity of the proposed plant could be expanded in the future should the need arise. Such expansion in capacity would not require the physical space of the plant to be increased.
· Clarified that current underground services and tree roots had been taken into account when planning the pipework for the proposed plant.
· Stated that the location of the thermal store was included in the plans.
· Confirmed that Environmental Health was satisfied that the noise produced by the proposed plant could be mitigated. Measurements from existing plants had been used to determine the expected level of noise and Environmental Health had advised that additional insulation could be provided if necessary. The Committee noted that it would only be possible to obtain exact noise levels once the plant had been built and a site specific noise survey had been completed.
· Confirmed that a limited number of flats would face the proposed plant, however those flats would already look towards the western and southern elevations of the significantly higher multi-storey car park. Officers did not consider that the proposal would significantly worsen the outlook from that which had been previously approved in the outline planning permission. The Committee also noted that any windows facing the proposal were likely to be secondary.
· Advised that the height of the flue had been increased at the request of Environmental Health, to address air quality issues associated with the former lower flue height. The Committee also noted that Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR), which would abate the more harmful gases, was proposed and that air quality tests would be conducted once the proposal was in place.
· Clarified the different types of noise that could be emitted.
· Confirmed that, should any physical revisions to the scheme be required as a consequence of new Regulations coming into force in December 2018, any such changes to the scheme might need to be resolved through future planning applications.
Permit subject to conditions and informatives set out in report PES/287(b).