Islington Gazette reports that the Whitbread hotel application for York Way/Wharfdale Road was approved at planning committee on Wednesday evening 11 February and permission will formally be granted when the paperwork is complete. As we reported previously the issue was bumped from the 14 January meeting at short notice to seek a better community gain. Would be interested to hear in the comments or by mail from any local people who went to Wednesday’s meeting. The officers report for the 11 February meeting that took the decision is slightly impenetrable on whether there had in fact been the need for delay:
‘It is the view of Development Management and Legal Services that the existing lawful use of the site is the operational car wash and vehicle car businesses sui generis use as previously reported. Therefore the land use assessment remains the same as that previously presented to Committee in January 2014; however the land use sections are updated to consider in greater detail the implications of the Site Allocation (KC3).’
But I think it’s officers saying that says that they were right first time. And indeed, checking the report for the original 16 January meeting and the 11 February meeting both seem to have the same community benefits – which are set out below (Appendix 1 – page 31 onwards) it’s about £650,000 for local community things. The trick, as we know from Network Rail and Camden is to keep a good track on how this is spent. And it is something Islington Council and our local councilors in particular are MUCH better at than Camden, thank goodness. For instance the wonderful green sculpture on Wharfdale Road was part funded by S106 money from local development as was the refurbishment of Bingfield Park and local youth and community groups have also benefited from this sort of funding. Intelligent use of this sort of money is often, in fact the way that regeneration actually has tangible community benefit.
From officers report to 11 February Planning Committee – Appendix 1
1. In the event that the hotel is disposed of to a different hotel operator within five years of completion, the new operator would be obliged to submit their proposed employment levels to the Council 3 months before the start of operations at the latest. Additional relevant contributions would become due for any proposed increase in employment on site.
2. A contribution towards Crossrail of £579,209 (please note that the Mayor of London’s CIL would be off-set against this amount).
3. A contribution of £423,203 towards transport and public realm improvements within the vicinity of the site.
4. A contribution of £206,391 towards public open space improvement works within the vicinity of this site.
5. A contribution of £12,430 towards sport and recreation facilities within the vicinity of the site.
6. A contribution of £3,190 towards community facilities within the vicinity of the site.
7. The repair and re-instatement of the footways and highways adjoining the development. The cost is to be confirmed by LBI Highways, paid for by the applicant and the work carried out by LBI Highways. Conditions surveys may be required.
8. Compliance with the Code of Employment and Training.
9. Facilitation of 21 work placements during the construction phase of the development, lasting a minimum of 13 weeks, or a fee of £5,000 per work placement not provided to be paid to LBI Developer/ contractor to pay wages (must meet national minimum wage). London Borough of Islington Construction Works Team to recruit for and monitor placements.
10. Payment of a commuted sum of £8,250 towards employment and training for local residents.
11. Applicants to work in good faith with Islington’s Business Employment Support Team (BEST) to use best endeavours to recruit at least 50% of new employees from unemployed Islington residents in the ‘NEET’ category (‘not in education, employment or training’) and as many as feasible from other Islington unemployed residents. Dialogues with BEST to commence 3 months before the hotel is due to start operating at the latest, to ensure timely and successful recruitment.
12. Compliance with the Code of Local Procurement. 13. Compliance with the Code of Construction Practice, including a monitoring fee of £20,653 and submission of site-specific response document to the Code of Construction Practice for approval of LBI Public Protection, which shall be submitted prior to any works commencing on site.
14. The provision of 43 accessible parking bays or a contribution of £86,000 (£2,000 per accessible bay not provided) towards bays or other accessible transport initiatives.
15. A contribution towards offsetting any projected residual CO2 emissions of the development, to be charged at the established price per tonne of CO2 for Islington (currently £920). Current total amount due as communicated by the Council’s Energy Conservation Officer is £379,960.