4 Alternatives and Design Evolution

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1 4 Introduction 4.1 This Chapter describes the considerations and constraints influencing the siting, layout and massing of the Development. It also describes the main alternatives to the Development that were considered, including alternative sites and the No Development option. A detailed description of the Development is provided in ES Chapter 5. Background to the Development 4.2 The Site currently comprises the Park Lane College building (partly in use as the Bridge Street Church Centre) and residential units, managed by the Riverside English Churches Housing Group (ECHG), with associated access roads, gardens and landscaped areas. 4.3 The Site is not designated for any particular purpose within the Leeds City Council (LCC) Unitary Development Plan (UDP) and whilst it falls within the boundary of the Eastgate and Harewood Quarter, the Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) does not specify land uses for particular areas of the quarter. 4.4 There are no adopted policies within the UDP or in any LCC planning guidance that direct the development of decentralised energy facilities to particular sites or locations. However, the emerging Local Development Framework (LDF) does include policies that encourage such developments. 4.5 This is supported by existing policies at both regional and national level requiring a reduction in carbon emissions, efficient resource use and sustainable development. For example Policy YH2 of the Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS) (Ref. 4.1), Climate Change and Resource Use, states that resource demands from development should be minimised. The RSS also acknowledges that in delivering the core strategy more energy will need to be provided by combined heat and power, from renewable and more efficient energy sources. In addition, new developments are required to meet increasingly stringent targets with regards to renewable energy generation and Building Regulations. 4.6 A more detailed review of relevant policy and strategy for the Development is provided in the Planning Statement (EC3) and the Sustainability Statement (EC6). The nature of the Development is such that it should assist Leeds, and existing and proposed developments in the central Leeds area, in meeting policy requirements, Building Regulations and renewable energy targets. Alternatives 4.7 Under the EIA Regulations, an Environmental Statement (ES) is required to provide an outline of the main alternatives studied by the applicant or appellant and an indication of the main reasons for his choice, taking into account the environmental effects. The following sections review those alternatives to the proposed Development which have been considered by the applicant, including: 4-1

2 Option 1 - the No Development alternative; Option 2 - St. Mary s Road site; Option 3 - Leyland Road site; Option 4 - Park Lane College site; and Option 5 - Bridge Street site (Park Lane College and additional area). 4.8 In addition, the detailed design has gone through a number of iterations before reaching the Development that is the subject of the full planning application. The design evolution is discussed in greater detail below. Option 1 - 'No Development' Alternative 4.9 The No Development alternative refers to the option of leaving the Site in its current state. This option would be likely to result in the following impacts: A missed opportunity to redevelop this city centre Site, as part of the comprehensive regeneration of the EHQ area, that includes underutilised buildings and land; Not helping to meet emerging planning policy objectives for decentralised energy; No help in meeting renewable energy targets at a local and regional level; No low carbon heating, cooling and power for the proposed Eastgate Quarters development and other existing and proposed developments in the locality; Visual impacts to residents of Ladybeck Close would be avoided (refer to Chapter 8: Townscape and Visual Amenity); and Conversely, townscape benefits would not be achieved Overall, it is considered that the benefits of redeveloping the Site outweigh any adverse impacts that would arise. The proposed development of the Site accords with planning policy objectives as described above and in Chapter 7: Planning and Land Use. Option 2 St. Mary s Road Site 4.11 Option 2 comprised a previously developed but currently landscaped area, located adjacent to the north of the A64(M). Whilst the Site is suitable in terms of its location close to the city centre and potential clients for the LCEC, there were significant constraints for access and construction due to the local topography, and infrastructure to clients would have required routing beneath the A64(M). There would also have been a loss of local greenspace, which is limited in this area of the city. For these reasons this option was discounted. Option 3 Leyland Road Site 4.12 Option 3 is located approximately 420m to the north of the chosen LCEC site, in the Mabgate area of the city. This site is currently occupied by a derelict warehouse and a surface car park, and surrounding land use generally comprises commercial or light industrial uses, with the exception of the Leeds College of Building i.e. sensitive receptors are limited. The site offers plenty of space 4-2

3 for potential expansion of the building and convenient access. However, its distance from the city centre and potential clients would result in additional cost for infrastructure (laying pipe work to client sites) and a loss of transmission efficiency. This option was therefore discounted. Option 4 Park Lane College Site 4.13 Option 4 comprised the Park Lane College building, located on Bridge Street. The city centre location would ensure the site is suitable in terms of its proximity to LCEC potential clients. However, the small size of the site would present a significant constraint there would be insufficient space for a primary substation and insufficient space to allow delivery vehicles to turn. This option was not feasible. Option 5 Bridge Street Site (Park Lane College plus additional land) 4.14 The final site selected for the LCEC was the enlargement of the Park Lane College site, to encompass some of the transitional housing managed by the Riverside English Churches Housing Group (ECHG). The site location is close to a number of a potential LCEC clients, without prohibitive infrastructure cost implications and there is sufficient space for both access and the building footprint. Design Evolution 4.15 The design team identified the constraints and opportunities associated with the Site, and used the results of this exercise to develop a layout and design for the Development. A number of workshops were subsequently attended with key officers from Leeds City Council (LCC), to discuss the site layout and access, massing, façade design, and specific technical issues such as noise and air quality, and the scheme was revised according to the conclusions of the discussions. Key design changes were as follows: Site Layout: Options that did not require the realignment of Ladybeck Close were discounted as the demolition of 1-2 Ladybeck Close would still have been required, due to potential daylight impacts and Rights of Light issues. Realignment of Ladybeck Close created a larger potential area for the building footprint; Building Layout: Options were considered with the energy plant located in the northern or north west area of the LCEC building, with the transformers in the central section or along the eastern edge of the building respectively. These layouts were discounted primarily due to noise issues, though potential visual and daylight and sunlight impacts on the hostel also played a part. The transformers, which architecturally are of very little interest, were finally sited adjacent to the northern edge of the building, where they would effectively be concealed from almost all visual receptors (this is also the least sensitive façade in relation to noise); Massing: The building massing evolved to reflect the changes in plant layout and preferred choice of façade materials. Clusters of blocks of different height and a simple box (with variations in roof parapet height) were considered before the final design was fixed; Façade Materials: A solution was required that would provide the necessary visual interest at both a distant and near view level, that would help to recognise the development as an 4-3

4 industrial feature in the city centre townscape, create a new landmark building, and on a practical level could be easily maintained. Materials options included concrete panels and pipework cladding. Further detail on the options considered is provided in the Design and Access Statement (EC2); and Access: A delivery point on the Bridge Street western façade was considered to reduce potential noise impacts, but discounted due to transport and access constraints The Development has been designed to respond to a range of planning, commercial, technical and environmental issues. The design response to the identified constraints and opportunities is set out in Table 4.1 below. Table 4.1: Design Considerations and Constraints Issue Specific Considerations and Constraints Design Response Built Environment Adjacent Land Uses Noise and Air Quality The buildings on and in the immediate vicinity of the Site are not of architectural or historic interest and the existing local built environment generally lacks interest and continuity, though this area of the city has a relatively strong industrial heritage. There is therefore an opportunity to continue the tradition of interesting industrial architecture, and create a new landmark for the city. The scale of existing buildings around the Site is uneven - there are difficulties in responding to both the adjacent transitional residential units, and the scale of existing and proposed development in the city centre e.g. office tower block to north, Eastgate Quarters, Lunar Properties Ltd scheme and developments on Quarry Hill. Groups who would view or experience the LCEC would generally comprise local residents, pedestrians and motorists. The design of the LCEC building has therefore had to consider both near and distance views. With the land parcel to the east of Bridge Street remaining in its current use, sensitive residential receptors are located close to the Site, which have already been impacted by construction of the elevated A64(M) to the north and the Eastgate Loop Road to the east (and associated traffic noise). Background noise levels are relatively high due to traffic noise from the local highway network. An Air Quality Management Area is located across The design evolved to create a modern industrial, visually striking building at all levels. Whilst the building shape remains relatively simple, almost rectangular, the choice and mix of façade materials creates visual interest and texture, in addition to allowing views into the building, of the plant. The LCEC building responds both to the scale of existing development on the Site, and the scale of future development in the city centre. The Park Lane College building on-site is five storeys high. The new LCEC would have a larger massing than the college building and be more visually imposing at this intimate scale, given the proposed façade construction, colour and materials. The hostel provides only temporary accommodation, but it is acknowledged that there would be a visual impact to residents of both the hostel and housing on Ladybeck Close. Landscaping would be located along the eastern Site boundary to mitigate such impacts. Silver birch has been used in the landscape strategy since trees of this species can be planted very close together, to provide some screening even during winter when without leaves. Whilst there would be impacts to residents, there is also the wider context to consider and the opportunity to create a new landmark feature for the city centre site, as a symbol of sustainable development. The LCEC building has been located on the western edge of the Site to maximise the distance between the development and the hostel, and thus 4-4

5 Issue Specific Considerations and Constraints Design Response parts of Ladybeck Close to the east of the Site. reduce potential noise impacts. The chimney stack has been set at a sufficient height, and detailed dispersion modelling has been completed to ensure that there would be no significant impact to air quality (including local air quality for residents of Ladybeck Close). The façade design would meet stringent functional criteria, to provide the required level of noise attenuation and thus avoid noise impacts to local residents. Biomass fuel deliveries (a potentially noisy, albeit temporary and very infrequent activity) would be during daylight, non-peak hours to reduce noise impacts. The biomass fuel could be pumped into the storage silo from the delivery vehicle, but the decision has been taken to site a vacuum pump beneath the silo. This would be used instead of the vehicle pump, to reduce potential noise impacts. Microclimate Daylight levels at local residential properties have already been impacted to some level due to the Park Lane College building. The LCEC building has been located on the western edge of the Site to maximise the distance between the Development and the hostel, reducing potential daylight and sunlight impacts. Detailed wind and daylight and sunlight assessments have been completed to ensure no significant adverse environmental impact to local receptors. 4-5

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