18.10.16…..By now I think many of us were expecting to see a newly submitted and registered application for Medina House, out for public consultation. The public exhibition on 17th September has been and gone and perhaps before writing this, I should have made an enquiry….but I did this instead.
The Planning Register contains details of previously registered applications (those which were not withdrawn), the documentation and decision notices. Without the planning application ID numbers it can be tricky to get to everything. Put in Medina House, put in MEDINA HOUSE, put in Kings Esplanade, put in 9 Kings Esplanade and differing info comes up in spite of the Planning area IT having been overhauled recently.
For the record, the last (most recent) application was BH2014/03898. Its delegated decision notice providing REFUSAL is dated 4 March 2015. So why am I looking at this stuff now….. There are specific issues which the new owners/applicants will seek to address in order to achieve a planning consent. They will be looking at Decision Notices, at previous reasons for refusal and addressing them.
Height is an issue for residents behind Medina House, which needs to be as existing. Underdevelopment as a single family dwelling MAY exercise BHCC who are desperately seeking increased units of housing. Building Condition and structural integrity are a further serious sticking point for the developer because of its status in planning policy documentation. Just how open to professional interpretations and opinions the keep/demolish issue is must be tested by any new application. When the new application appears, consultees will need to look at their structural survey which will almost certainly be there to justify demolition. In our meetings with the current architects, there has been criticism of Taghan’s structural reports. When the time comes, you may wish to ‘compare and contrast’ – because proof Medina House is “beyond economic repair” has to be proved.
Here are a few links for you:
1. The 2014 application initially submitted a 2012 10-page letter from Powell Williams Building Consultancy, uploaded 19 November 2014 – labelled ‘structural survey’ on the council website, but called ‘initial findings’ by Powell Williams. They concluded it was “technically feasible” to convert the building to “3 flats”. The March 2012 ‘structural inspection report‘ from Design Consultancy Civil and Structural Engineers Ltd was also uploaded 19 November 2014
2. In February of 2015, further documentation was added, no doubt in an attempt to prevent a refusal. A Stiles Harold Wilson ‘Building Condition Survey‘ carrying a January 2015 date, was prepared by a Building Surveyor and uploaded 9 February 2015 and VERY misleadingly labelled on the council’s planning register list of documents as a Structural Survey. Four of the five appendices were uploaded behind it. The one not uploaded was (c) Feasibility – so basically, all this last-minute additional material addressed cost. (a) Asbestos Remediation quote (b) A 2013 Viability Assessment (d) The 2012 (again) Powell Williams Building Consultancy 10 page letter (e) The March 2012 (again) Design Consultancy 2012 Structural report
3. And the application was refused a month later, the case not having been made for demolition. Decision Notice for BH2014/03898
So what has changed, 18 months on? What is the difference between a ‘Structural Inspection Report’, a ‘Building Condition Survey’ and a ‘Structural Survey’ – more than just fiddling with semantics I hope.