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19/1417/FUL | Demolition of existing buildings and redevelopment of site to provide co-living accommodation with associated accesses/egresses, landscaping and other external works (Revised Scheme). | Ambulance Station Gladstone Road Exeter Devon EX1 2EB
  • Total Consulted: 187
  • Comments Received: 134
  • Objections: 128
  • Supporting: 2

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Mr Mark Worsfold (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Mon 09 Nov 2020

I have reviewed the revised documents.

The objection of many people (including myself) were to the appearence, size and height of the building.

According to the revised documents, no changes whatsoever have been made to the appearence, size or height of the building.

It appears that the only difference has been to the change of usage of the building from student to residental accomodation.

This does not address any of the objections made by residents, the police or NHS. In fact - this change makes many of the foreseen issues worse.

For this reason, I am again, recording my objection to this plan.

Comment submitted date: Fri 11 Sep 2020

I live opposite the proposed building site.

There are a range of historical buildings in the area, the University campus, the chapel and the old terrace houses in Sandford walk and the surrounding areas.

The proposed plans are out of keeping with the area on several levels.
It is twice as high as the highest residential structure in the immediate area (the 3 storey apartment blocks in St Matthews Close).
It conflicts with the historical architecture in the area in violation of the Councils' duty to preserving the historical character of Exeter.

Due to its height, it overshadows a great number of properties on Sandford walk and St Matthews Close, and it will reduce available sunlight and privacy (privacy is already an issue in the area).

Due to the proposed number of occupants, there will invariably be people who are car owners. Even if only 5% of them own cars, there will no longer be any available parking for all residents (including the residents of the proposed building).

This will increase traffic and make the roads unsafe for children who often play in the street. The roads in the area have many blind spots and increasing traffic will hugely increase the possibility of accidents.

The best solution would be to:
Lower the property to 3 stories as opposed to 6.
Either add parking to the development, or prevent occupants from obtaining parking permits.

Mrs Lorraine Hayes (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Sun 04 Oct 2020

I strongly object to the planning application as I have commented previously for the earlier plans. The new proposal appears more attractive design but it is still too high and too close to our Sandford Walk and St Matthews' properties and is not in keeping with the surrounding residential area. The position of the bin store for 134 beds is of concern as very close to the rear properties of Sandford Walk and arrangements for the recycling collection will likely involve more times a week in a very narrow area in our residents parking, although no mention in the plans regarding this.
i object to the felling of the tree at the Gladstone Rd site of the plan

Mr Len Gammon (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Sat 03 Oct 2020

After reading most of the comments re this application, I must agree with the person who wrote 'why can't ECC officials see what the local residents see' - we don't need or want this development
What is needed is accommodation for older people as one of the DCC councillors said

Comment submitted date: Wed 22 Apr 2020

I have already made an objection
Still waiting for a phone call back after I left my number on the council planning ansamachine re the new submitted plans which I could not find
I strongly object

23.04.20: I strongly object to this development for all the reasons I gave in my precious protests, which I now understand may not be heard, because of the resubmitted plans.

Comment submitted date: Mon 06 Apr 2020

I strongly object, both to the original application and to the newer proposed application, the latter I cannot find on the planning website.
I don't seem to be the only person who can't find this 'revised' application as the other comments seem to say it as well.
It is easy to say 'A set of revised plans has been received for this application.' on the ECC website...but if you can't find them....
What are the city councillors doing about this monstrous planning application?

Comment submitted date: Wed 13 Nov 2019

I think any member of the public, or more important any local councillor, can see there is a great deal of objection and opposition to this proposal. Firstly the tree: I agree totally with the comment 'removing the lovely tree on Gladstone Road; whoever proposed that, should be ashamed' At a time when trees are so valuable for our children etc

Secondly, I went to the Jury's Inn presentation - it was for a few hours only, it should have been for a couple of weeks, again the local council should have made it longer.

Thirdly, an application on this scale, and height should be rejected outright. Why not social housing, family housing, sheltered housing, anything if the site has to be sold and built upon.
It is next to a major transport (bus) road link and close to a supermarket
At the very least, this development should be considering co-housing where students would live alongside social housing tenants and it should be much smaller in size
This planning application will go on and introduce other applications on the much larger site of the Police station and possible the Magistrate Courts
Family housing is needed ECC, not student accommodation

Mrs Sheila Ward (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Fri 02 Oct 2020

Planners should read all my previous comments on the development of this site as they are still relevant. I continue to object to the proposed scheme for reasons of scale, over development, negative detrimental effect on the local community and inappropriate proposed use.
As others have commented, the proposed monolithic style of build, housing 134 studio flats is but a small and disappointing change to the original proposed accommodation for students. The need is for modern family accommodation in Exeter; in this area a terraced style would complement existing housing.
The opportunity to sympathetically develop such accommodation in Newtown, and to work with the Police Commissioner on a plan which could include the current Police station site should not be lost.
The revised proposal is still one for high density, possibly transient living in a high rise block; an unwelcome precedent for future applications. This scheme needs to truly go back to the drawing board and I hope the Planners will heed the views of Exeter residents.
The proposed felling of the mature Ash tree must also be prevented.

Comment submitted date: Wed 22 Apr 2020

We have not received a reply to our request for further information from the Council Planning Team on the following:
1) Summary document to confirm where changes have been made from the original application, to this revised application and
2) Confirmation of the GDPR process to follow in order to receive details regarding purpose built student accommodation in the city.
As the overall intention of the developer appears to be unchanged, therefore, and as long term city residents, we continue to object to the proposed development of the ambulance station on Gladstone Road for reasons of:
- Change of use to student accommodation
- Over development of the site
- Negative, detrimental environmental impact including proposal to severely reduce a mature tree
- Precedent for future high rise buildings within the city boundary
- Detrimental effect on the amenities and quality of life to nearby residents and those who work in the area
We repeat the objections we provided to the original application and would wish them to be read alongside these comments.
As before, we urge the Planning Committee to ensure they are informed of the number of purpose built student accommodation blocks (actual and planned) across the city, together with their current occupancy and usage (pre-Covid-19). Given the University of Exeter's own plans to expand its student accommodation, is this private scheme really to be prioritised over other types of housing for Exeter Citizens? Let's address wider policies if we need to.
Those acting for the Police and Crime Commissioner objected previously to the scale of the proposed development, reducing (in their view) the opportunity to fully develop the site of the adjacent Heavitree Road Police Station. The Council must take responsibility to look further to the future and acknowledge the reality of the Police Station sale and re-development. Should the Ambulance Station and Police Station sites not be seen as an opportunity to sympathetically develop a much larger area of this important city centre area? Surely this is the time to encourage a mix of attractive, low energy, affordable residential housing, using the terrace model of the existing properties in Newtown.
The revised application includes details to show that the potential reduction in daylight to existing properties, should the build go ahead, is within building regulation tolerance. The principle is surely not the % of light lost, but the overall effect of a solid monolithic building immediately next door to smaller residential houses and their outside areas. Would the Planners wish to reside in a terrace house in such close proximity to this proposed build? Any amendment to the plans has not addressed real concerns about the overall effect of this build on the amenity and quality of life to existing residents, to say nothing of the potential value or future saleability of their homes.

Comment submitted date: Wed 13 Nov 2019

As long term residents of the area, we object to the proposed development of the ambulance station on Gladstone Road, as detailed on the application for reasons of:
- Change of use to student accommodation
- Over development of the site
- Negative, detrimental environmental impact including proposal to severely reduce a mature tree
- Precedent for future high rise buildings within the city boundary
- Detrimental effect on the amenities and quality of life to nearby residents and those who work in the area

Before the Planning Committee considers this application, we trust members will ensure they are fully informed of the number of purpose built student rooms (University and privately owned) which have been approved and constructed within the past 5 - 10 years in Exeter; how many of the finished developments are fully occupied by students?; how many students is the city is seeking to accommodate? Compare these numbers with the approved plans for housing for city residents and those waiting for social housing. The Council should be encouraging house building for Exeter Citizens and not pandering to outside speculators who wish to develop properties for tax breaks and short term profit.

Members must be clear on the Council's strategy and the effect of the over-development of this type of accommodation within the city; when exactly will the city reach saturation point for this type of project? Surely it has already.

We strongly object to the development of any further student accommodation, particularly of this size and capacity, being out of all proportion with the neighbouring buildings, having a particular detrimental effect on nearby residential housing and placed on one of the highest areas of land in the immediate vicinity. This development will have just 2 staff on site to manage the proposed student population of 150, not a reassuring ratio and the individual character of the Newtown area will be inevitably negatively affected.

The current student accommodation being constructed on the site of the old Honiton Inn and the vast unfinished monolith on the old Bus Station site are both conveniently close to St Luke's; there is no need for even more rooms on this particular site.

The scale of the proposed development, particularly the height, is overbearing and out of proportion with the immediate buildings. Approving this plan will set an unfortunate precedent for buildings of this scale, within the immediate city limits and with no account of the size of neighbouring properties or the effect on their amenity - light, privacy and quality of life. The unsympathetic development of the former RD&E building next to Waitrose, for student accommodation, may not be to everyone's taste but it is at least more in proportion with its neighbours along Heavitree Road.

The significant reduction of the mature Ash tree at the boundary of this site is also unwelcome and unnecessary; the submitted report confirms the tree is free from disease but suffering some effects caused by the use of tarmac or parked cars near its roots, very easily remediable. The report suggests this tree has another 5 - 15 years life left. Surely the plan should be to plant more trees now, to ensure they are mature if/when this one needs removal. The volume of traffic in Gladstone Road and Heavitree Road is such that all possible measures to improve air quality - by way of mature trees such as this one - should be taken. The Waitrose development on the opposite site of the road included a tree preservation zone during demolition and building works, something which could happen here. The Ash tree also adds to the local amenity in Gladstone Road and a preservation order should not simply be conveniently trumped by a planning application.

Councillors will need to account to Exeter citizens, not to the transient student population, for decisions made regarding student accommodation and tree preservation. University terms usually include some 30 weeks per year; what benefit to our city is there in having such vast buildings which are potentially unused for the remaining 22 weeks?

Ms Marina Williamson (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Tue 29 Sep 2020

19/1417/FUL Comment September 28 2020

The proposed building is still far too big for the site it will occupy, which gives rise to the main issue concerning it: the height of the new building/distancing. If the site were larger I would have no real issue with the main plan, since the building itself is not unattractive. The principal issue is the distance between the main spine of the building and the houses on Sandford Walk, behind which it runs between St Mathews Close and Gladstone Road. The submission, in Design and Access Statement Part 2, 19082020,7.4.1, quotes the Residential Design Guide PDF, 7.24 of Chapter11 and claims under 7, Outlook 7.4, that the distance of 24.5 metres between the proposed building and the Sandford Walk houses satisfies the recommendation made in 7.24,"Where habitable room windows face on to a blank wall of another building, a minimum distance equal to twice the height of the blank wall measured from the ground floor level to eaves or parapet must be provided between the two buildings. Where there is a level distance between the two buildings the distance must increase accordingly."( the blank wall in this case, is, I presume, the wall of the proposed building viewed from the backs of the Sandford Walk houses.)

Whether or not 24.5 metres represents adequate distancing, depends on how one reads the phrase " the distance must increase accordingly." Largely, I imagine, because of the inadequate size of the site for the building proposed to occupy it,"accordingly"has been interpreted in literal mode simply as metres. The Sandford Walk Houses are 2 floors ground/eaves, approximately 6 metres, and the new building has four floors, ground/eaves, approximately 12 metres; therefore 24-5 metres is adequate. But "increase accordingly" could also be construed as applying to the ratio "double." Then the distancing would not be twice twelve metres, but twice the ratio 2:1, making it 4:1., i.e. 48 metres. If the site were large enough to allow for this more generous reading, then I would have no objection to the main plan. The proposed building is attractive, well landscaped and built of brick (in the illustrations, that is). It just needs to be further away from the Sandford Walk houses. This is not a quibble, since distancing impacts heavily on the light amenity of the houses The Wing on the St Mathews Close end, similarly satisfies the 7.24 requirement, although not that on the Gladstone Road end, but then the fact that the apex of the sloping roof makes the whole structure 10 metres high and that this structure is practically on top of the houses ( being a mere 14.5 metres distanced)will damage their light amenity considerably.

It seems to me that the whole tenor of the CONSIL Report on Daylight/Sunlight, betrays the fact that the Report's writer and maybe the developers who commissioned it are possibly aware that the Report and certain aspects of the whole submission may well represent an attempt to normalise what is unacceptable. This impression is underlined by the constant reference in the CONSIL report to properties with lower levels of light in order to justify any impairment of the light amenity in the Sandford Walk houses due to the development, and the chilling comment (pointed out to me by a neighbour).Reviewing their relatively unobstructed view over the current site, the writer adds "As such, the windows currently receive uncharacteristically high levels of daylight for a semi-urban area such as that within which the site is located." Is there then some level of light prescribed beyond which houses in certain areas should not expect, or indeed need, to receive more? Minimum levels indicate those below which a building should not fall. There is no upper limit to how much light can be enjoyed.

Finally, the Bin Store. As I have twice commented, this facility is far too near the backs of the Sandford Walk houses, being a mere 10 metres away, approximately, and also countermands the requirements set out in 8.8 of Section 11 of the Residential Design Guide, which states "Communal Bin Storage located within the envelope of the building should be used for flats....Freestanding bin stores will not normally be acceptable because of their detrimental impact upon the public realm. This one, so close to the houses will be noisy, smelly and if the residents of the flats leave garbage sacks outside when the bin storage is full, will attract rats. As such it cannot but have a "detrimental impact on the public realm.

Comment submitted date: Wed 26 Aug 2020

I appreciate the detailed discussion outlined in the preamble to the Proposed Co-Living Scheme submission, which demonstrates the careful attention paid to our objections to its previous Student Accommodation counterpart. I acknowledge the improvements made in mass/height to the Wings of the structure. However, these do not solve the fundamental problem that this building is just too big for the site it will occupy.

Building and Distancing
The spine of the building is now a five storey structure (it was four storeys previously) running all the way down the backs of the Sandford Walk houses on the relevant side. Yes, it is set further back than the three storey wings but to comply with the policy of Exeter City Council outlined in the Residential Design Guide (which is apparently agreed to by the developer) Section 11, Chapter 7, 7.24 plus Figures 7.5 and 7.6 it should be set back 40 metres, and this would be difficult to achieve given the restricted size of the site. It will therefore inevitably still make a negative impact on the amenity of the houses on the relevant side of Sandford Walk.

The Bin Store
In this submission the bin store is even closer to the houses on the relevant side of Sandford Walk than it was in the previous submission, being directly behind number 33 and partly behind numbers 31 and 35. It countermands the requirement set out in 8.8 of Section 11 of the Residential Guide, which states: "Communal Bin Storage located within the envelope of the building should be used for flats.......... Freestanding bin stores will not normally be acceptable because of their detrimental impact upon the public realm, and consequent difficulties in complying with BFL criteria." As it stands this bin store is not only freestanding but will certainly have a "detrimental impact upon the public realm." It appears to be a maximum 10 metres from the windows of the relevant house backs behind which it is positioned. It will be noisy, smelly, and if the residents of the flats are not scrupulous in its usage (which people often are not, leaving garbage outside the bins when they are full), it will attract rats.

Daylight and Sunlight
Finally, I take exception to some of the argument in the CONSIL Report on Daylight and Sunlight. There is a specious and recurring use of comparison to properties with daylight and sunlight provision inferior to that already enjoyed on the relevant side of Sandford Walk, in order to justify reducing the latter amenity. There is constant reference made to minimum requirements as if they represented some desirable level. Minimum requirements are an indication of the level below which buildings should not fall. There is no upper limit to the desirable level of daylight/sunlight. Such argument seems to me to betray, sub-textually, a spurious attempt to normalise the unacceptable and as such should not form any part of an objective report on the affect of a development plan. I am astonished that a reputable developer such as the company proposing the Co-Living Provision should allow such a devious rhetorical device to form part of its submission.

Mrs Emma Stafford (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Tue 22 Sep 2020

The revised application does little at all to address previously submitted concerns. The scale of development on site is totally out of perspective to the situation and usage around the site. The impact on local residents will be significant and it seems little value if any has been placed on the nature of the community of Newtown in these plans.
Although not an immediate neighbour I live very close by with a young family. Newton is a very delicate balance of permanent and transient residents and the scale of capacity and volume of this proposal will have a significant impact on this tipping things into a more divisive position.
I am also very disappointed to see the continued viewing of the very mature tree on site which provides significant impact on the surrounding area.

I don't think anyone objects to the site being developed but this proposal totally overpowers the surrounding area and shows real disregard for the people who live in and around this area. Irrespective of who the accommodation is for, it should be proportional.

Comment submitted date: Sat 02 Nov 2019

The area around the existing ambulance station is already a delicate mix of family and student accommodation. There has already been significant student accommodation built on the other side of Waitrose and much of the immediate residential streets are (and will.continue to be, HMOs for students). Any further student accommodation is such a small area will help to tip the balance too far. It is already be problematic trying to live with a young family around some of this area due to noise, rubbish etc.
There is a much greater need in this area for social housing with good accessibility although the return for developers is less attractive. Additionally the scale of this proposed development is too large for the local area, too imposing on local housing, and the proposition to remove the mature tree on site I particularly object to.

Ms Claire Benians (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Sat 12 Sep 2020

Totally unsuitable for the area.
The building is far too high and not right for this area.
Co-housing is basically the new slum housing - see the proposed co-housing in the Harlequins building plans, another objectionable building proposal in the centre of Exeter.
There is too much of a young and transient population in this part of Exeter already, as it's saturated by student building,and they give nothing to the local community because they don't stay in it for long enough. They don't build lives here.
What about affordable housing for Exeter families? Much better use of this space.

Ms Deborah Rudman (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Sat 12 Sep 2020

I continue to object to the development on the Gladstone Rd site as proposed. This is a densely populated area that is becoming saturated with a transient population. The extremely large student accommodation that has been allowed to go ahead is totally out of keeping and I agree with other comments that Exeter is becoming characterless. Sandford Walk will be overshadowed and I can see parking being a potential issue. I'm unsure what co-living really means but I'd suggest that what's needed are modern terraced houses to match the area and to be available for families who are struggling to buy ie affordable housing for local families please. Students have got enough accommodation and should be concentrated on the university site, not in the City centre.

Comment submitted date: Thu 23 Apr 2020

I wish to express my concerns at the developers re-submitted plans, having previously expressed my objections. Living here in Newtown, we feel surrounded by large blocks of student flats which are completely out of character with the area. This development is far too large for the plot and as with the others, will dwarf everything else around it. The plot is in a residential area and will block light from neighbouring properties and cause additional noise and activity which is unwanted. I would ask why we need yet more student flats and why another one in an area that feels quite saturated with these unattractive buildings.

Mrs Jackie Holdstock (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Fri 11 Sep 2020

The latest plans submitted show only one revision on 02.09.20 of 2nd floor plan.
Trying to compare this with other plans of 2nd floor on computer is very difficult, but I assume this is to accomodate dimensions for co-living.
My earlier comments still stand on the suitability for co-living in this town and I understand that other councils are not agreeing to it in their plans.
Is this revision to get the council to agree to the plans or just a way of extending the time scale?

Comment submitted date: Tue 01 Sep 2020

From the plans provided in August 2020, I still object to the plans for the now 'Co-living' buildings on the Ambulance station site. I note the building will reduce from 154 units in 7 stories to 134 units in 6 stories. it states that the building nearest to Sandford Walk will be reduced in height, but there is no mention of the type of windows overlooking our properties.

As the developers do not seem to have any co-living establishemants running at present in Exeter I will be interested to see who CHOOSES to live like those of students. Are some of these units to accommodate double occupancy?

The site is 'no car' except for deliveries. Will residents be able to apply for Perking Permits in Newtown? These spaces are too few during term time at present.

I object to the patronising comment by Consil in 5.4.2 that our properties receive "uncharacteristic high levels of day light and sunlight for a semi-urban area". We chose to live here with the daylight and sunlight as it is.

During the demolition there does not seem to be comment of Asbestos removal which will surely be present in a building of this age.

I also note that the developer is going to submit further palns, I wonder why they are doing this and look forward to seeing them.

Comment submitted date: Thu 16 Apr 2020

Having read the new plans which refer to co-living, I am not clear what this means, will it enable non-students to live there? and will they then be able to apply for Residential Parking permits? Residential parking is already at a premium.
The size of the development now allows for more rooms, therefore more residents, although reduced in height in parts still seems to be on the same footprint as before. This is out of character with the local residential area and the beautiful St Luke's Campus opposite.
I am still concerned about the sun-light and privacy of my property and courtyard garden. I cannot find reference to Daylight/Sunlight report. I bring your attention to 'Building for Life, Lifetime Homes' document. Para 7.21.
I therefore object to these new plans whilst I understand that this site will be redeveloped along with that of the Police Station, the present plans are not suitable.

Comment submitted date: Tue 31 Mar 2020

Thank you for your letter, but Having found the documents you say have been revised, they are the same as those provided last year October 2019, which we discussed with you and your colleague when you visited on December 13 th2019.
I was also aware that there had been more than 89 comments.
If I have misread these plans, please confirm what has been changed from the plans already submitted and provided for us.
Kind Regards
Jackie Holdstock

Comment submitted date: Fri 25 Oct 2019

Concern about the height of the building, as it is not clear of the final height and how this will impact the light.
I am also not clear on the windows on the Sandford Walk side which could overlook my property.

Miss Naome Glanville (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Wed 02 Sep 2020

I stand by my previous comments submitted on 2 September 2020 which I would still like to be taken into consideration.
I would also like to add that the world has changed, and the proposed co-living arrangements are surely now not going to be feasible in a Covid world which could last for the long-term. People living in such a building would in reality end up being isolated and confined in their small living units and unable to safely use shared facilities due to the risk of infection. This does little for mental wellbeing.
I also note that the co-living proposal mentions that staff would be present 8 am - 8pm Monday to Friday. In other words there will be no staff present at evenings and weekends to ensure good behaviour of residents (or indeed non-residents) in shared areas of the building and/or outside and around the building eg on Friday and Saturday nights. Additionally, the co-living management arrangements such as they are, are a commercial venture which means there is no guarantee that this arrangement would continue in the long-term.
Yours sincerely
Naome Glanville

I object to this planning application as it is for a building which would be totally out of keeping with Newtown, one of Exeter's last precious low-rise 'village' areas, which currently has great character and community feel.

The height and size of the building would totally overshadow Sandford Walk, making life dark and unpleasant for residents there, and it would dwarf the domestic scale of surrounding streets. It is also architecturally out of keeping, bearing no relationship with its surroundings. I note that the proposed site would have a bin store backing on to Sandford Walk, making life even more unpleasant for residents there.

I assume that the people who would be living in this proposed development would be likely to have cars or other vehicles. There is just enough residential parking provision in the area for the existing homes, and such a proposal would result in particular pressure being put on residents of Sandford Walk and East John Walk who must use the small car parks in the area as their streets are pedestrianised.
Any development proposals for this site should only be considered where residents parking provision is included as part of the plan.

This planning application proposes that residents would be co-living. These living arrangements could result in residents who end up 'passing-through' rather than making a permanent 'home' in the building. It appears to me that this planning application is just a 'speculative repurposing' of an existing application for student accommodation. Exeter City Council should aim higher than this and only agree to applications for quality dwellings which provide privacy, a space of one's own and place to make a 'home'.

Exeter is fast becoming a landscape dominated by large ugly blocks (mainly for students). The monster buildings already built are of random design and out of human-scale, resulting in Exeter losing its sense of place and becoming an unpleasant environment to live in or visit. Please do not add to it by agreeing to this inappropriate planning proposal.

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