Agenda item

Application - 22/00070/FUL - Alto House, Ravens Bank Drive, Redditch, Worcestershire


This application was reported to Planning Committee for determination because theapplication was for a major development (more than 1000 sq metres of new commercial / industrial floorspace). As such, the application fell outside the Scheme of Delegation to Officers.


Officers reported that following submission of a Bat Survey Report and Mitigation Strategy, that there was an additional and amended Condition attached to this application as detailed in the Planning Update Report.


Officers presented the report and in doing so, drew Members attention to the presentation slides on pages 15-26 of the Site Plans and Presentation Pack.


This application was for the demolition of existing buildings at Alto House on Ravens Bank Drive. This included erection of a new commercial unit delivering up to 5,575 sq meters GIA of development falling within Use Classes B2, B8, E(g)(iii). The development included ancillary offices, access improvements, drainage, landscaping, vehicular parking, boundary treatments and associated works.


Officers drew Members’ attention to Existing Site Layout and Proposed Site Layout, as shown on paged 18 and 19 of the Site Plans and Presentations Pack. Officers highlighted that vehicular and pedestrian access remained the same.


Officers highlighted the potential bat roost in a single storage garage on site which needed to be carefully considered during demolition, as outlined in the planning approval conditions. Officers highlighted the building’s location on the Existing Aerial View on page 23 of the Site Plans and Presentations Pack.


Officers commented that most of the tree cover on site would be retained as a screen. Officers also commented that they considered the materials for construction to be appropriate and in keeping with the surrounding buildings.


Officers drew Members’ attention to the statement from Worcestershire Highways on page 21 of the main agenda pack, stating that they had no objections, subject to the conditions regarding improvements to the nearby bus stops.


In conclusion, having had regard to the development plan and to all other material considerations, Officers recommended that the application be approved.


Members then asked questions of the Officers.


Members drew Officers attention to page 25 of the main agenda pack, in particular the provision for 60 car parking spaces and 139 bicycle spaces. Members asked that if the application supplied only 20 bicycle spaces why was it deemed satisfactory. Officers referred highlighting to the record of dialogue detailed on page 26 of the main agenda pack; evidence was presented which Worcestershire County Council (WCC) had taken into consideration and which they were satisfied with.


Members asked for clarification that the 60 car parking spaces did not include HGV parking.  Officers replied that HGV parking was on a separate (north) part of the site.


Members asked if there were any planned changes to the egress. Officers informed Members that the egress would still be the same location however, there would be some small changes to the geometry and gradients of the curbs.


Members questioned the 80-100 full time employees expected but only 60 car parking spaces were being provided. Officers explained that there was a travel plan as part of the scheme to promote alternative forms of transport. This included three dedicated carpool spots, pedestrian access, and bicycle spaces. Officers also detailed the contributions to improve the existing bus stops in the area.


Members then considered the application, which Officers had recommended be approved.


Members expressed concern that the 60 spaces could not be enough to cover the expected 80-100 full time employees that the development project could generate. Members also highlighted that the site was very compact so there was not enough room to accommodate more spaces which could lead to parking on Ravens Bank Drive.


Members also commented that it was a speculative guide regarding the number of jobs created, however, Council guidance was sought, and it was deemed an appropriate level of parking provision. Additionally, a working day could be 24 hours a day in 3 shifts so that could reduce the number of car parking spaces required at any one time.


Members welcomed the regeneration of the site and the generation of employment opportunities. Members also considered the application attractive and in keeping with the area and surrounding buildings.


Members sought clarification regarding the use of the money generated and how it would be used to improve the bus service. Officers clarified that the WCC had requested the financial contribution to improve the infrastructure and in this instance, it was deemed a valid request.


Members commented that other such businesses started off as B2 but ended up as a storage warehouse which had led to an increase in HGV frequency in the area.


Members commented that even if there was an increase in HGV frequency, there would be jobs coming into the area which was very important.


All Members were in agreement with the Officer’s recommendation




Having regard to the development plan and to all other material considerations, authority be delegated to the Head of Planning, Regeneration and Leisure Services to grant planning permission subject to:


  1. The satisfactory completion of a Planning Obligation (Unilateral Undertaking) ensuring the provision of
    1. a financial contribution of £2,400 towards the upgrade of the bus stop at Ravensbank Drive, 110m south of site and
    2. afinancial contribution of £5000 towards the upgrade of the bus stop at Moons Moat Drive


  1. Conditions and Informatives as summarised on pages 27 to 31 of the main agenda report; subject to Additional Condition 12 and Amended Condition 7, as detailed in the Planning Update Report.

Supporting documents: