72 Commercial St: LHNCC’s objection

LHNCC objected because, among other things.

  • The applications are inadequate and misleading.
  • The applications have limited and confusing diagrams, no design statements and other defects

Below is the text of LHNCC’s objection: here is the original as a PDF.

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LHNCC

email: secretary@lhncc.org.uk

29 January 2021

Stephen Dickson
Case Officer,
PLACE,
Waverley Court,
4 East Market Street,
Edinburgh , EH8 8BG

Dear Mr Dickson

Ref: 20/05852/LBC – 72 Commercial Street
Ref: 20/05851/FUL –    72 Commercial Street
Applicant: Ophelia Investment Ltd. Guernsey
Agent: Erin Dumo-Seymour, Margaret McDonnell Architecture Lt,

Grounds for Comment – Objection

I am submitting this response on behalf of LHNCC, in my role as nominated consultee. Both applications have been discussed by our Planning Team and recommendations have been accepted by members. The applications are very inadequate and misleading as 72 Commercial is Café Tartine (In liquidation) implying that this property to be developed, but it is Quay Commons at 92 Commercial Street that is being developed for offices and café and the water features that span 72-88. The development for 92 Commercial Street is acceptable as this is additional to previously completed office development and does not affect water feature.

The applications have limited and confusing diagrams, no design statement (refs: 1&2) detailing of rationale and plan for infilling of water features and other landscape areas in a conservation area with A listed properties. There are also listed chain and bollards on Dock Place and on South side of water incorporating heritage features. The entire length of Commercial Street is cobbled and has retained rail tracks features from original design for warehouses and surrounding area by John Rennie 1804-1817. The water features pay homage to the industrial characteristics of the Old East and Old West Docks (photos) that were infilled in 1974 and now house Victoria Quay and new housing development.

The references, quotes and photographs below support our argument that the application for infilling of water features and replacing with decking should be refused as they do not meet the relative planning policies and legislation.

Yours sincerely

Jennifer Marlborough, Secretary, LHNCC

References

 1. Edinburgh Design Guidance (January 2020)

1.3 Assessments and Statements (page 27)

Link https://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/downloads/file/27602/edinburgh-design-guidance-january-2020 

Design Statements (page 27)

Design statements are required for local developments in the following areas:

  • the World Heritage Site
  • a conservation area;
  • a historic garden or designed landscape;
  • the site of a scheduled ancient monument; and
  • the curtilage of a category ‘A’ listed building.
Edinburgh Local Development Plan policies

Des 1 – Design Quality and Context

Env 6 – Conservation Areas

Env 7 – Historic Gardens and Designed Landscapes

  1. Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas (updated February 2019)

Link https://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/downloads/file/27028/listed-building-and-conservation-areas

Listed Buildings (part 1 page 4)

3  “Listed building consent must be obtained where proposals will alter the character of the    building, regardless of its category or whether the work is internal or external.”

Do I need listed buildings consent (part 1 page 4)

“Listing covers the interior as well as the exterior, and includes any object or structure fixed to the building, or which has been included within its curtilage since 1st July, 1948.”

Conservation Area Character Appraisals (part 2 page 23)

“Conservation Area Character Appraisals identify the essential character of conservation areas. They guide the local planning authority in making planning decisions and, where opportunities arise, preparing enhancement proposals. The Character Appraisals are a material consideration when considering applications for development within conservation areas.”

  1. Scottish Government

Guide to conservation areas in Scotland (S.61 Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997

Link to PDF https://www.gov.scot/binaries/content/documents/govscot/publications/advice-and-guidance/2005/03/guide-conservation-areas-scotland/documents/0009675-pdf/0009675-pdf/govscot%3Adocument/0009675.pdf?forceDownload=true

“Designation as a conservation area does not place a ban upon all new development within its boundaries. However, new development will normally only be granted planning permission if it can be demonstrated that it will not harm the character or appearance of the area. Some planning authorities choose to require positive enhancement through good quality design rather than creating a neutral effect.”

  1. Historic Environment Scotland Interim guidance on the designation of Conservation areas and Conservation area consent (April 2019)

Link https://pub-prod-sdk.azurewebsites.net/api/file/4e68adaa-fcf0-4cd9-bfd3-aa3a0108e15d

To be designated as a conservation area it must me the criteria of ‘special architectural or historic interest the character or appearance of which is desirable to preserve or enhance’, as set out in Section 61 of the 1997 Act

  1. Areas of ‘special architectural or historic interest’ will be selected based on a range of factors which may include:

areas of significant architectural or historic interest in terms of building groupings, which may or may not include listed buildings and/or scheduled monuments, and open spaces which they abut;

other areas of distinctive architectural or historic character.

  1. The characteristics and values that contribute to a conservation area’s special architectural or historic interest are:
  2. its special architectural or historic importance
  3. it’s distinct character

 Cockburn Association Edinburgh – The Heritage City

Link https://www.scottishconstructionnow.com/article/cockburn-association-edinburgh-the-heritage-city

Local area identities

Edinburgh’s neighbourhoods also have their own identities, as recognised by the fact that there are 50 Conservation Areas in the city. However, outside the World Heritage Site, management plans only exist for Leith and Inverleith. Conservation Areas are popular with the public and are key to informing and delivering what has been called quality place-making. The Conservation Area Character Appraisal for each Conservation Area needs to be given weight in the proposed City Plan 2030 and in decisions on planning applications. Signage could enhance awareness of Conservation Areas and their unique qualities.

Why not build on the success of the Conservation Area concept to foster identity and respect for the history and special features of every area of the city? Is this something that could be taken up by Community Councils? Might the council promote Local Place Plans, using new powers in the Planning Bill that was introduced to Holyrood in 2017? How might citizens share ideas on strengthening local area identities, and how can such identities inform the making of plans and decisions on conservation and development?

One thought on “72 Commercial St: LHNCC’s objection

  1. Pingback: LHNCC January 2021 minutes

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