«E RESPE UTUR CT eF th r fo ST - PLANNING Revised Battle Hospital A eP th Planning Brief G IN eF ECT UTUR E RESP Supplementary Planning Document July ...»
5.9 The Battle site should be developed to a higher density than that envisaged in the previous planning brief, or the extant outline permission. Density (and the eventual number of dwellings to be accommodated on site) will be the product of the design strategy set out in the developers’ masterplan.
This will in turn flow from the capacities indicated in the Character Areas.
However, this increase in density will also mean that the transport infrastructure and movement linkages for the hierarchy of modes should be considered at the outset.
5.10 The Battle site provides an opportunity to accommodate a range of dwellings, to help meet Reading’s continuing housing requirements. The density of housing development should reflect the urban-suburban character of the surrounding area by providing a good mix of house types (predominantly terraced houses with some maisonettes and flats). PPG3 ‘Housing’ (2000) suggests guideline densities of 30-50 dwellings per hectare, but there is scope to increase these densities towards Oxford Road, at the points of highest accessibility within the site and around the park, in sympathy with the surroundings, where high-quality design allows, and taking care not to dominate public open space.
Reading Borough Council Revised Battle Hospital Planning Brief, July 2005 5.11 The aim in increasing densities should be to make the most efficient use of urban land, however, PPG3 2warns that this should not be at the expense of the character of the area. This Brief does not wish to stultify design by imposing an upper limit on density; rather, it should be emphasised that density should be a product of good design, taking into account all the “usual” development control principles and the character of the area. In some cases, this may indicate that houses are required towards the edge of the site, to reflect the pattern of housing in the adjacent streets.
5.12 The creation of a socially integrated community requires a choice of dwelling types, which are interspersed, rather than grouped together by type. There should be a range of types of housing provided on the Battle site: flats, maisonettes, houses and a selection of special needs housing.
This should reflect the following mix: predominantly, the dwellings should be houses. Given the context of the surrounding area is predominantly of terraced houses, it is considered that this is an appropriate mix. This mix should also hold for the Medical Support area, were this to come forward for redevelopment in the future, and any substantive departure from this would need to be justified.
5.13 Affordable housing (of a mix of tenures) should comply with the affordable housing requirements of the Council’s Supplementary Planning Guidance, ‘Planning Obligations under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990’. Affordable housing should be equally represented in terms of location and dwelling type and there will be a particular need to provide affordable family houses. This will help ensure greater social equitability. If additional land on Portman Road is released, the target percentage for affordable housing should also be 50%, in line with the above Guidance.
5.14 Long-term adaptability is a central tenet of good design and longevity of the housing produced and the dwellings should be designed to be as flexible as possible, given the constraints of the character of each area. Detailed design considerations can make or break a scheme in terms of its eventual “liveability”, which in turn fosters pride in a community and encourages responsible behaviour.
Retail/ Mixed Use
5.15 National planning advice (in PPG6 and Draft PPS6) encourages the location of new retail development within town centres or on the edge of district shopping centres where it is accessible by a choice of means of transport and where that retail development is commensurate with the function of the district centre. Berkshire Structure Plan policies S1 and S2 generally support this approach, although major development proposals will need to be assessed against the specific criteria of these policies.
5.16 The Oxford Road West district centre is the town’s largest district shopping centre. It fulfils the role of a ‘walk-in’ local convenience shopping centre for nearby residents, but also has a much broader role through the many specialist retail trades and service uses which serve both the West Reading area and the town as a whole. However, the centre has restricted public parking for some shops and services and there is no “anchor” store. In recent years the Oxford Road Single Regeneration Budget scheme has incorporated improvements to shop fronts, lighting, street furniture, parking and loading areas and traffic calming. These improvements have reduced traffic speeds and improved the environment for pedestrians.
5.17 The release of land at Battle Hospital for redevelopment provides an opportunity to connect the site with the Oxford Road West district centre, and improve the centre by providing the civic space. The Council considers that land at Battle Hospital and along the Oxford Road frontage could assist in enhancing the vitality and viability of the district centre by widening the range of local shopping opportunities, providing public parking for the centre as a whole, and where possible, through environmental improvements to the centre. The use of the superstore car park for combined trips to the district centre would also be sought.
5.18 The Council intends to improve or renovate the library, to include an access to the rear, in order to allow direct access to the building, including provision for disabled people. This will need to be a sensitive alteration, given that this is a Listed Building. This should face a new civic space, incorporating a small, short-stay parking area, to include spaces for disabled people and quality parking for cycles and motorcycles. Community safety will be an important consideration and the civic space should be well surveyed and be clearly visible from Oxford Road. This space and its access into the site should be well-lit, welcoming and should not provide alleyways or other places of concealment which could contribute to the fear of crime.
5.19 This brief seeks the provision of new retail/commercial development of an appropriate scale and type to complement and enhance the vitality and viability of the Oxford Road district centre, in line with Policy COM1 of the Local Plan, which allocates the site for inter alia, retail uses. The extant planning permission for the site approved two large stores and a group of small shops units (in outline). Therefore, a major retail store (or stores) should form part of the extension to the District Centre and act as an “anchor”. This might include a food store and separate retail warehousing, or combination store.
5.20 Depending on the scale of development proposed, it is likely that a Retail Impact Assessment (RIA) would be required to enable the Council to assess the likely effects on the remainder of the district centre, the City Centre and other local shopping centres in the Borough and inform the Transport Assessment.
• The Council will seek some small shop units (max 150 sq.m. per unit) with accommodation above, which will serve to frame a new civic space and link the superstore to the district centre;
• Residential units should form part of this space;
• A short-stay public car park of about 25 spaces should be provided to include disabled persons’ spaces and good-quality covered cycle/motorcycle/scooter parking;
• The residential units in this area should have their own parking spaces, which are separate from the public car park and covered by a management scheme, although these spaces need not necessarily be allocated. The parking level will need to reflect the very accessible nature of this part of the site;
• The major retail development should have a commercial frontage to the new short-stay car-park/civic space, which should be in keeping with this aspect of the site in terms of its scale;
• The Council will seek to restrict the level of non-food floorspace provision to an appropriate level in order to strike an acceptable balance between the provision of convenience and comparison goods within the new retail development.
5.22 The following are requirements for major retail development accessed via
Portman Road on the Battle site:
• The scale of any new retail facilities should be in-keeping with the district function of the Oxford Road West district centre;
• The retail aspect of the development shall be physically and functionally linked to the development of the site as a whole;
• The level of retail parking should reflect the fact that this is a sustainable location, as an extension to the District Centre, on a regular bus route and only a short distance from the City Centre;
5.23 Public consultation, including close liaison with the Oxford Road Community Forum, has established that there is demand for improved community facilities in the area, especially the retention of some kind of health facility.
There should be provision for replacement community facilities if these are to be lost as a result of redevelopment as well as the securing of new facilities, as part of a balanced development where these are needed to meet local needs in the area.
5.24 The provision of land for additional (as opposed to replacement) community facilities will be investigated in detail at the pre-planning application stage when the balance of the various uses to be accommodated on the site is established through negotiation between the Council and the developers.
This could involve an extension of the present Gatehouse Lodge buildings, to provide flexible accommodation, which may serve Council and economic support functions as well as community groups and childcare facilities.
Additionally, there may be opportunities for the district centre extension to house certain community facilities as these can add to its vitality and enable one journey to serve several purposes thereby reducing the need to travel.
5.25 The following is a set of principles envisaged for the community facilities:
• The Borough Council will generally support a sympathetic extension to the existing Gatehouse Lodge buildings in order to provide additional community meeting space;
• An area of land has been set aside for the provision of a multi-purpose facility, including health-centre to be run by the Reading NHS Primary Care Trust. This facility should be sited towards Oxford Road and be close to either the community facilities or the extension to the District Centre. An area is shown indicatively on the Development Principles Plan. Vehicular access should be through the site, from Portman Road only. There should be limited parking for health centre staff and ambulances. Should the requirement of the PCT (either in terms of size or location of facility) change as the result of the forthcoming clinical needs assessment, their requirements will be considered on their planning merits;
• There should be limited parking to serve the community facility accessed through the Battle site from Portman Road only. This may be shared with the Primary Care Trust; and • Both of the above should have direct and safe pedestrian/cycle access from Oxford Road.
6.1 The Character Areas will inform the scale and form of development within each distinct area. The Character Areas Plan shows the location and approximate boundaries of these areas.
6.2 The text below is not intended to provide a strict limitation on development and stultify design. It sets the parameters for development, so that designs come forward, which respect the context of each part of the site and its surroundings.
6.3 At present this area of the site is dominated by car parking with few notable buildings (temporary single-storey portacabins). The area is generally lowlying open ground towards Portman Road with the lowest part within Thames floodplain. This area has views towards the railway, with an open aspect and verges and is fairly distant from industrial scale buildings opposite.
6.4 Development will need to respect the generally open character of Portman
• Development should not disrupt the generally open aspect of Portman Road and structural landscaping should screen any buildings;
• There will be the opportunity for other uses in this area, subject to the limitations set by PPG25 (Development and Flood Risk);
6.5 The area is fairly low-lying and characterised by Lime trees to the west, which provide a substantial natural barrier to adjacent development. To the west bordering the site are the back gardens of long straight terraces.
Presently there is a large medical block on a raised platform of land.
• The proposed civic space should frame a mix of uses and have a raised ground level, such that there is no appreciable drop from Oxford Road and could allow level (restricted vehicular) access from the proposed Methodist Church to the new short-stay car park;
• There may be the opportunity for a continuation of urban form of Sherwood Street into the development from the west; and
6.7 This area is adjacent to the medical/industrial buildings to the north and east. The site has changes in levels, sloping down towards the north of the site. It has a variety of low-quality temporary buildings, and other buildings from the 1950s-70s. There are some trees, which are young and appear to be healthy.
6.8 The following development principles will be appropriate:
• Whilst a vehicular link to Audley Street/Valentia Road is not proposed, development in this area should nevertheless respond to the existing pattern of development in the adjoining residential area;