During the preparation and determination of the planning application there were a vast array of complexities to resolve:
- Overcoming a recommendation of refusal from the Council’s Conservation Officer for the demolition of a locally indexed building,
- Part of the site had been purchased at the height of the market, and viability was an issue.
- The size of the site and its varied context meant that scale and architecture were difficult to resolve.
- The engagement with the public was complicated with action groups set up to ‘Save the Odeon’.
Notwithstanding all of the above, SF Planning secured a resolution to grant planning permission (and conservation area consent for demolition) from the Council’s Planning Committee by July 2013, just two months after submission of a highly complicated Planning Application and application for Conservation Area Consent. This impressive turnaround followed on from successful pre-application discussions, significant public engagement and creative solutions to many obstacles arising.
With the help of a Heritage Consultant, SF Planning were able to persuade both planning officers and the Committee that the benefits of the redevelopment scheme justified the loss of this locally listed building.
With regard to viability SF Planning provided relevant case law, made a convincing case on the importance of the site to the town centre generally, and were ultimately successful in securing agreement from the Local Planning Authority to accept the purchase price to determine viability (with regard to S106 contributions and affordable housing) as opposed to market price.