Saturday 20 April 2024
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191 apartments approved near Nottingham Station

A scheme for 191 flats near Nottingham Station has been given the green light following a lengthy debate over the developer’s failure to provide money to the local community.

The block, which will step down from eight storeys on Crocus Street to five and three storeys in Meadows Way, will feature 191 apartments made up of 122 one-bed apartments and 69 two-bed apartments.

Developer Rainier Developments (Nottingham) Ltd is behind the plans.

The proposal includes 26 car parking spaces, including four disabled parking
spaces, which is considered appropriate given the site’s location within the city centre and proximity to public transport links.

Nottingham Civic Society raised concern regarding the height of the
scheme and said it “considers the scale of the new building is seriously overbearing”.

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During a Planning Committee meeting on March 20, Cllr Michael Edwards (Lab) spoke on the issue before the formal debate took place, making a representation on behalf of the Meadows ward where he sits.

“This is Crocus Square, this is special,” he said. “When we have all this talk about gateways, this is a gateway to the city.

“Look at it. It is a bit big and a bit brutal. It’s square. I think much more needs to be done to tackle that sense of its bulk and to reduce that sense of its brutality.”

During the meeting, Cllr Graham Chapman (Lab) went on to ask officers to attempt to do as much as they could to break up the “homogeneous” sides of the structure to make it more attractive and look less like a box.

However, the main topic of the debate turned to the fact the developer will not have to provide any financial contribution to the local area under what is known as a Section 106 planning obligation.

Planning obligations are legal obligations to mitigate the impacts of a development proposal, and developers typically agree to provide a financial payment to help with affordable housing targets, creating more open space, increasing biodiversity as well as education, employment and training opportunities.

But where a developer feels it cannot provide these contributions due to costs, they may be waived subject to a viability assessment.

The minimum amount that can be provided by a developer is set nationally and cannot be changed by councils, meaning they receive nothing if an assessment rules the development would be unviable in providing Section 106 money.

The committee was told developer Rainier was anticipating between a 17.5 and 20 per cent return or around £1.2m of the £7m development total.

A viability assessment was submitted by the developer, which was independently reviewed by an assessor appointed by the council, and it was determined the development would be unviable if it had to provide Section 106 contributions.

Labour councillors Pavlos Kotsonis, Sam Lux and chairman of the committee AJ Matsiko all raised issues with the lack of Section 106 contributions from developers.

They said it had become a “constant battle” and that it needed to be fought not only at the planning committee level but also within central government.

Cllr Kotsonis said: “This is something we need to keep fighting.

“Not only at planning committee but also lobbying in the Labour Party and in the work we do as politicians in general, to change the fabric of how the planning system works, to make it more fair and allow for better development to take place.”

However, on the advice of officers, councillors approved the plans by 10 votes to two.

Councillors AJ Matsiko and the leader of the Nottingham Independents and Independent Group, Kevin Clarke, both voted against the proposals.

Demolition of offices planned for 8-storey 191-apartment block in The Meadows


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