RU.22/0844 - Nexus, Station Road, Egham, TW20 9LB


Proposal: Redevelopment of the site to provide a mixed-use scheme consisting of two buildings of five storeys to accommodate commercial (Class E) and residential (Class C3) uses, including the relocation of the existing vehicular accesses (including the entrance to the Egham Station Car Park) landscaping, car & cycle parking and associated works.


(The planning officer corrected a typo in section 7.24, page 38 of the agenda: ‘The Local Planning Section however advise that the latest AMR reveals a current over delivery of larger smaller units.’)


The committee thanked officers for their perseverance on this scheme, with the application being the sixth iteration on the site.  However, there was concern that the viability assessment deemed that there would be no requirement to provide affordable housing.


The Head of Planning explained that the lack of affordable housing could not be considered a negative factor, as national planning policy stated that a developer did not need to provide affordable housing if its provision tipped the balance to make a scheme unviable.


To mitigate this, a committee member proposed that a clawback mechanism was put in place that stipulated that should the price of any sold assets exceed the value demonstrated in the viability assessment then the Council could clawback any excess profit above the threshold.  The proposal was universally accepted by the committee.


A committee member sought to amend condition seven, which regulated the opening hours for selling food and drink on the premises, and moved a motion to amend the condition to state that units must close by 7pm Monday – Saturdays and by 4pm on Sundays.  This was due to concern around the potential for antisocial behaviour, along with the potential to exacerbate the financial struggles of some existing restaurants in the area.


The committee sympathised with the view, however conceded that this was a licensing matter, whilst government legislation to allow class E usage encompassed a wide range of commercial uses and could not be conditioned – it was down to government policy.  It was also acknowledged that there were existing late night uses in Egham, and antisocial behaviour could not be pinned down to one unit.


Furthermore, it was felt that Surrey Police were extremely proactive in bringing cases forward where licensing conditions had been breached.


The motion was lost.


Officers acknowledged the need to strike the appropriate balance between the need to see the site developed against the prospect of it remaining long term vacant, and felt the proposal had now reached the parameters of acceptability, with it blending in with the taller four storey buildings in nearby Magna Square.


Some committee members felt that the size, mass and bulk of the development bordered on excessive, however it was acknowledged that the proposal being reduced from six to five floors partly moderated this, along with the partial setting back of the fourth floor and dormer outlook of the fifth floor.  Furthermore, having its own plot by the station provided more latitude for height provision, and the site was unique within the borough in being next to the station with roads going all around it.


In response to the lack of family space and housing within the development, the Head of Planning advised that the developer had acted on a ward councillor’s suggestion to design more three bedroom flats, and sought to work closely with planning officers to achieve the most comprehensive outcome for the site by way of a scheme that was preferable a potential alternative that may have involved going down the more unknown prior approval route.


The committee acknowledged the wider issue of intensification of the borough’s towns, and were reassured by the potential for a tall buildings strategy to set the parameters for what would be acceptable, however it was felt that this was not currently required.


The Head of Planning also considered the site the most sustainable in the borough given its links to shops, parks and the station, and that would justify the relative few parking spaces available.  The Head of Planning also agreed to a member request to follow up with the council’s parking team around monitoring the impact to help shape future policies, particularly around climate change, although it was conceded that it would be difficult to attribute any significant variation to one single development.


A query was raised as to why Surrey Police’s designing out crime officer’s comments around Secured by Design were advisory rather than a condition, and the Head of Planning advised that much of the comments were relatively generic and not covered by the planning regime.   Furthermore only four letters of objections had been received about the scheme, which was considered a low number and highlighted how far the scheme had progressed.


                        Resolved that –


                        The HoP was authorised to grant planning permission subject to:


i)               Completion of a S106 legal agreement

ii)             Planning obligations of contributions towards the SANG and SAMM

iii)            Planning conditions 1-34

iv)            Informatives 1-14

v)             Addendum notes

vi)            Additional condition to allow the HoP to device a mechanism that would provide clawback on any excess profit above the viability assessment.

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