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Proof of Evidence
Appeal Number APP/N4720/A/08/2074675/NWF
by Parklane Properties against refusal by Leeds City Council
of permission for student flats at former Glassworks, Cardigan Road, Leeds

1 Argument Application 07/07439/FU by Parklane Properties for a part five- and part six-storey block comprising sixty student cluster flats, with 256 bed spaces, car parking and landscaping, at the former Glassworks, Cardigan Road, Headingley, Leeds LS6 1LF, was considered by Plans Panel West of Leeds City Council (LCC) on 21 February 2008. The application was supported by a Planning Statement [see Annex, Document L01]. It was opposed by Leeds HMO Lobby [L02], and as the Planning Statement shows in paragraph 6.4, by other local representatives. The Panel refused the application on three grounds, the second of which was that the proposal would be seriously detrimental to the balance and sustainability of the local community and to the living conditions of people in the area [L03]. Leeds HMO Lobby argues that national, regional and local planning policy is to sustain balanced communities, that the community in & around Headingley in Leeds is seriously unbalanced, towards student accommodation (with consequent detriment to amenity) and therefore that the application is contrary to planning policy.

2 Policy Planning policy nationally, regionally and locally supports housing mix.
2.1 Strong communities have been integral to government policy for a decade at least. Creating Sustainable Communities was the motto adopted by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) when it was established in 2002.

2.1.1 Planning Policy Statement 1 (PPS1), published by the ODPM in 2005, was titled Delivering Sustainable Development [L04], and to this end, it included a commitment to mixed and balanced communities. "Planning should facilitate and promote sustainable development by [among other things] ensuring that development supports existing communities and contributes to the creation of safe, sustainable, liveable and mixed communities" (paragraph 5), and also "Plan policies should ensure that the impact of development on the social fabric of communities is considered and taken into account" (paragraph 16).

2.1.2 The implications for housing policy were established in Planning Policy Statement 3 (PPS3) on Housing published by Communities & Local Government (CLG) in the following year [L05]. "The Government is seeking to create sustainable, inclusive, mixed communities in all areas … The specific outcomes that the planning system should deliver are a mix of housing, both market and affordable, particularly in terms of tenure and price, to support a wide variety of households in all areas" (paragraphs 9-10). In particular, paragraphs 20-24 were concerned with 'Achieving a mix of housing.' "Key characteristics of a mixed community are a variety of housing, particularly in terms of tenure and price and a mix of different households such as families with children, single person households and older people" (paragraph 20). "Developers should bring forward proposals for market housing which reflect demand and the profile of households requiring market housing, in order to sustain mixed communities. Proposals for affordable housing should reflect the size and type of affordable housing required. In planning at site level, Local Planning Authorities should ensure that the proposed mix of housing on large strategic sites reflects the proportions of households that require market or affordable housing and achieves a mix of households as well as a mix of tenure and price. For smaller sites, the mix of housing should contribute to the creation of mixed communities having regard to the proportions of households that require market or affordable housing and the existing mix of housing in the locality" (paragraphs 23-24).

2.2 As PPS3 states "Regional Spatial Strategies should set out the region's approach to achieving a good mix of housing" (para 21).
2.2.1 In its discussion of housing in Yorkshire & The Humber, the Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS) notes: "Sustainable, mixed communities require a variety of housing in terms of size, type, tenure and price to meet the needs of different households. In parts of the Region the current mix of housing stock is not helping to create sustainable, cohesive and tolerant communities where people want to live and continue to live, and which are able to respond to people's housing aspirations as they change and develop … In recent years, in some parts of the region, there has been a significant increase in the provision of smaller homes, including flats. However, in some areas there has been a shortage of new homes suitable for families with children" (para 12.36).

2.2.2 Accordingly, the Strategy adopts Policy H5, Housing Mix, which states that "Plans, strategies, investment decisions and programmes should ensure the provision of homes for a mix of households that reflects the needs of the area, including homes for families with children, single persons, and older persons, to create sustainable communities" (p171).

2.3 PPS3 says, "Local Planning Authorities should plan for a mix of housing" (para 21). The current Leeds Unitary Development Plan (UDP) was adopted in 2001, but almost immediately, a Review began, which was adopted in 2006 [L07]. Though this Review was prior to the publication of PPS3 and the RSS, one of its strategic goals was precisely "to ensure that development is consistent with the principles of sustainable development" (SG4), subsequently elaborated in PPS1.

2.3.1 Only parts of the UDP were reviewed, and one of these concerned polarisation in housing provision, and its impact on sustainable communities. The outline proposals published in December 2002 identified Headingley as problematic in terms of housing imbalance, and an Action Area was proposed. In the First Deposit of June 2003, an Area of Student Housing Restraint (ASHORE) was proposed, in order 'to achieve a more mixed population which is inclusive and sustainable' (paragraph 7.6.30), and this was retained in the Revised Deposit of February 2004. Within ASHORE, Policy H15 opposed extensions and changes of use to student HMOs, and also student halls of residence. The latter was included for a number of reasons. On the one hand, imbalance is a matter of overall population proportions, regardless of whether this imbalance is housed in HMOs or in purpose-built accommodation. On the other hand, in a report prepared for the University of Leeds [L08], Dr Darren Smith made it clear that the presence of purpose-built accommodation is central to attracting students to an area. "Without doubt, the favoured location … is Headingley. This is not surprising given many of the student halls of residence are located within or in close proximity to Headingley, and therefore, geographical awareness of potential locations is likely to be highest for Headingley. Indeed, most students pass through the Headingley area on a daily basis on their journey to and from the campus of the University of Leeds, albeit on foot, bicycle, car or public transport" (p40).

2.3.2 In the Public Inquiry on the Review later in 2004, a two-day Round Table was dedicated to this aspect of housing policy. On the Inspector's recommendation, ASHORE was amended as an Area of Housing Mix. The main change was the exclusion of purpose-built accommodation, overlooking the reasons for its inclusion in the first place. The final UDP review included Policy H9, "The City Council will seek to ensure that a balanced provision in terms of size and type of dwellings is made in housing developments," as well as Policies H15 and H15A, which respectively comprise restraint on student housing in the designated Area, and encouragement of such housing outside the Area. (It allowed purpose-built student housing only in specific circumstances, paragraph 7.5.32.) Both in the letter and in the spirit therefore, the UDP opposed polarisation, and supported housing mix.

3 Community The neighbourhoods in & around Headingley (encompassed by the Area of Housing Mix) manifest both polarisation of the community (an overwhelming lack of balance or mix) and the social, environmental and economic consequences (long-term loss of sustainability). (The process and the product of studentification have been analysed by the National HMO Lobby [L09].)

3.1 Demographically, Headingley is unbalanced (or polarised). The demographic peculiarities make precise and comprehensive data difficult to compile (itself a symptom of the problems which arise). The latest source of evidence is the Census of 2001 [L10].
3.1.1 In terms of housing tenure, the Census reveals Headingley Ward to be polarised. The national norm is for 70% of properties to be owner-occupied, 20% to be socially rented, and 10% to be privately rented. The city of Leeds as a whole corresponds to the national norms (69%, 19% and 12% respectively). In Headingley Ward, however, the normal balance is turned on its head: only 25% is owner-occupied, and 16% is socially rented - but 59% is privately rented.

3.1.2 Again, in terms of households, the Census reveals Headingley Ward to be polarised. Nationally, 70% of the population are (or were) married, and 30% are single. In Headingley, the situation is reversed - only 20% are/were married, and 80% are single. Consequently, one-person households are much higher than the norm (40% rather than 30%), and those with children much lower (10% instead of 30%). But the real polarisation is towards multiple occupation. LCC's Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) Team estimates that there are approximately 2,500 HMOs in the Ward (1,350 are licensed [L11]), which indicates that about half the population lives in HMOs (if the average occupancy of HMOs is five persons, and the population of the Ward is about 25,000).

3.1.3 The consequence of housing polarisation is demographic polarisation. The distinctive demography is intimately connected with the distinctive housing profile. Private renting has the shortest occupancy of any tenure, on average eighteen months [L12]. Most renting in the Ward is HMOs, and most of these are shared student houses. The population therefore is young, transient and seasonal.

(a) The local population is overwhelmingly youthful. Nationally, approximately one-fifth of the population occupies each of five fifteen-year age-bands - thus school-children (under 16) comprise 20% of the population, as do those aged 60 or more. However, in Headingley Ward, only 8% are 60 plus, and only 7% are school-children. On the other hand, 69% are in the 16-30 age band. Clearly, on this basis, the local population is quite unable to renew itself naturally. (The imbalance of course is uneven. A breakdown of the Census figures by Output Area shows South Headingley to be most polarised [L13]. Here, 72 streets each house a majority of students; in many, the proportion exceeds 75%; and some indeed are virtually entirely occupied by students, such as Manor Drive or Chestnut Avenue.)

(b) The local population is overwhelmingly transient. Electoral registration figures used to provide a useful guide. Until 2001, they were compiled and published annually. In most wards, the number of newly-registered electors is somewhat below 10% (comprising those coming of age, or moving into the ward). However, figures from the Electoral Registration Office in Leeds [L14] show that in 1991, the proportion of new electors in Headingley was already double the usual figure at 19%. During the decade, it increased steadily, and by 2001, half of the electors (49%) were new to the Ward.

(c) The local population is also overwhelmingly seasonal. Figures are not readily found. But experiential evidence shows that public places (streets, shops) are heavily-used in term time, and under-populated during university vacations. This could be confirmed by local retailers. It is very evident in local streets, when houses are shuttered and in darkness at holiday times, like Christmas.

3.2 There is good reason for policy supporting mixed or balanced communities. This is confirmed in Headingley, on the one hand by increased problems, and on the other, by a weakened community to provide solutions. In order to cope with these problems, LCC's Inner NW Area Committee (INWAC) has established a dedicated sub-committee, the Students & Community Group, comprising councillors, residents and services, to devise policy, implement actions and monitor developments (see its latest Report [L15]).

3.2.1 Problems in & around Headingley exacerbated directly or indirectly by imbalance are social, environmental and economic.
(a) Low-level antisocial behaviour is endemic in term-time, comprising noise nuisance, minor vandalism, evacuation, and public drunkenness, and arises from a population predominance of teenagers and young adults. Such incidents are not recorded. But serious crime is, and figures from Safer Leeds identify Headingley as one of six burglary hot-spots in the city [L16]. In fact, the Headingley hotspot is larger than all the other five put together, both in terms of the size of the area and of the number of offences. Other records show that the high numbers of vulnerable households attract burglars from well outside the local area, which is not usually the case.

(b) Waste disposal has long been a problem in & around Headingley. LCC commissioned a survey from ENCAMS which identified Headingley as the filthiest ward in the city. Accordingly, Headingley Streetscene was initiated, a new system for waste disposal. It is now defunct: on the one hand, it was very resource-intensive; on the other, it failed to take account of the need for continuous renewal, due to population transience. Meanwhile, demand for HMOs has impacted on the quality of the built environment, in terms of infill development, alterations and extensions, loss of features and inappropriate additions (grilles, dishes), and neglect and concreting of curtilages. A Neighbourhood Design Statement is under way, to mitigate the effects [L17].

(c) Demographic polarisation brings with it distinctive market pressures. Retailing in & around Headingley has been described as a 'resort economy', being both seasonal and with a particular orientation towards letting agencies (sixty in the area [L18]), bars and take-aways. In consequence, Headingley is probably the most regulated suburb in the city: it not only has the Area of Housing Mix, but also a Cumulative Impact Policy (covering all licensed premises, bars and take-aways) and a Designated Public Places Order (with extensions under consideration), a Direction on Letting Boards and a Flyer Control Zone, and Additional HMO Licensing under consideration.

(d) Car parking is a generic problem which impacts on social, environmental and economic issues. It obstructs pavements for pedestrians, and access by emergency vehicles, cleansing, buses and residents. Research shows that HMOs occupied by students have higher-than-average car ownership, twice the city average in fact [L19, p19]. A number of Residents Parking Zones are in place, and more are planned.

3.2.2 The community itself, and therefore its capacity to respond to problems, is weakened by demographic imbalance. This is understood experientially by settled residents. It is they who act in the interest of the community to which they belong. Lacking this sense of membership, the transient population does not. This is manifest in all spheres, but it is clearly documented in the level of civic engagement demonstrated by turnout at local elections. For several years now, Headingley Ward has furnished the lowest turnout, falling below 20% (19.7% in 2008, 17.8% in 2007, 18.9% in 2006, 9.5% in by-election 2005 [L20]).

4 Conclusion It is clear, first of all, that planning policy supports mixed, balanced communities, and secondly, that Headingley is not a mixed or a balanced community. In fact, it is polarised towards predominance by a transient population, especially students. Yet the application by Parklane Properties to build sixty flats for 256 students adds to this domination. Leeds HMO Lobby concludes therefore that the decision to refuse permission by Leeds City Council was entirely correct: as the Plans Panel's reasons indicate, approval would be directly contrary to planning policy

4.1 In their Planning Statement submitted in support of their application [L01], the appellants have claimed that "in all planning respects the proposals are acceptable" (4.14), and "in all respects the proposals are acceptable in planning terms and fully supported by the relevant planning policies" (7.3). Likewise, in their Statement of Case [L21], the appellants claim "the development will be acceptable in planning terms and will be in accordance with and supported by the relevant local planning policies and guidance and national planning advice" (5.1). This is manifestly not the case. The appellants (paragraph 3.3) cite PPS1, para 5, which states "ensuring that development supports existing communities and contributes to the creation of safe, sustainable, liveable and mixed communities." But they fail to address this issue. PPS3 is referred to in paragraphs 3.14-3.20. But there is no reference to paragraphs 20-24, concerned with 'Achieving a mix of housing'. The RSS is referred to in paragraphs 3.24-3.32, but again there is no mention of Policy H5, Housing Mix. In paragraph 5.3 of the Planning Statement, the appellants even claim "High quality new housing development of the type proposed and meeting specific housing needs is also in the best interests of improving the quality of life of people where they live through the provision of new homes and the development of balanced, sustainable and inclusive communities." But they offer no reason to support the claim. The conclusion in para 5.10 quotes PPS1, paragraph 23 - but omits the phrase "including an appropriate mix of housing."

4.2 The truth is, with regard to balance, two scenarios are possible, if the development were allowed - and both would be contrary to planning policy.
4.2.1 The best-case scenario is alluded to in the appellant's Planning Statement, paragraph 6.4, which refers to considerations by the Planning Group of INWAC: "The group was not convinced by the assertion that the provision of purpose built flats would release houses locally for potential family occupation and it was questioned whether Parklane Properties were able to give any assurances over how many houses would be released." The Group was not convinced for three reasons. First, the suggestion is that these students would move sideways, as it were, from houses into purpose built flats - but this would not affect the numbers which imbalance the community; it is the overall proportions of the population that matter, not where they happen to live. Secondly, purpose built development in fact attracts students: like most people they prefer the familiar to the strange; purpose built development provides that familiarity to students. Finally, family occupation of any houses released is unlikely in a neighbourhood dominated by a 256-bed student residence. At best, the demographic imbalance would remain unaffected.

4.2.2 On the other hand, in the worst-case scenario, the new development would be occupied by students moving out of purpose built development elsewhere in Leeds, attracted to the Glassworks by its proximity to central Headingley. In this scenario, development at the Glassworks would in fact undermine Policy H15A of the UDP, which seeks to encourage purpose built development in Leeds outside the Area of Housing Mix. In this case, the upshot is an even worse imbalance, and an even less sustainable community.

5 Recommendation Therefore, Leeds HMO Lobby respectfully requests that the Inspector dismiss appeal APP/N4720/A/08/2074675/NWF by Parklane Properties against Leeds City Council.

Dr Richard Tyler, Leeds HMO Lobby, September 2008

Annex: Documents

L01 Colliers CRE, Proposed Residential Redevelopment of Former Glassworks at Cardigan Road, Leeds LS6 1LF: Planning Statement November 2007
L02 Leeds HMO Lobby, Representation on Proposed Residential Redevelopment of former Glassworks January 2008
L03 Leeds City Council, Planning Services, Decisions List No 9 March 2008
L04 Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, Planning Policy Statement 1: Delivering Sustainable Development January 2005 [not submitted]
L05 Communities & Local Government, Planning Policy Statement 3 (PPS3): Housing November 2006 [not submitted]
L06 Government Office for Yorkshire and The Humber, The Yorkshire and Humber Plan: Regional Spatial Strategy to 2026 May 2008 [not submitted]
L07 Leeds City Council, Leeds Unitary Development Plan Review 2006 July 2006 [submitted by LCC]
L08 Darren P Smith, Processes of Studentification in Leeds: a report to the City & Regional Office, University of Leeds May 2002 [extract: 4.6 'The first-choice residential locations', p40]
L09 National HMO Lobby, Balanced Communities & Studentification: Problems and Solutions March 2008
L10 Office for National Statistics, Census 2001 April 2001 [online]
L11 Leeds City Council, Licensable HMOs by Ward July 2008
L12 Communities & Local Government, Housing Statistics Summary 026: Survey of English Housing Provisional Results: 2005/06, November 2006 [online]
L13 Leeds HMO Lobby, South Headingley: Student Settlement November 2004
L14 Leeds HMO Lobby, Transience in Headingley: from data from the draft Electoral Roll supplied by the Electoral Registration Office, Leeds City Council, 2001 January 2001
L15 Leeds City Council, Inner NW Area Committee, Student Accommodation Changeover 25 September 2008
L16 Safer Leeds, Domestic Burglary Problem Profile: presentation to Leeds Housing Partnership Forum 8 December 2006
L17 Headingley Development Trust, Neighbourhood Design Statement in progress [online]
L18 South Headingley Community Association, Headingley & neighbourhood: Property Agencies within ASHORE August 2008
L19 Ian Richardson, An Investigation into the Social Impacts of Students in Leeds BA (Hons) Sociology, University of Leeds, 2005 [extract: 4.5 'Car Ownership', p19]
L20 Leeds City Council, Election Results [online]
L21 The Barton Willmore Planning Partnership, Appeal Statement of Case on behalf of Parklane Properties, June 2008

The planning application by Parklane Properties was opposed by Leeds HMO Lobby. It was considered by Plans Panel West of Leeds City Council on 21 February 2008, and refused. Parklane Properties appealed, and a Public Inquiry was held on 8-10 October 2008. The Inspector's Appeal Decision dismissed the appeal on 19 November 2008.

The decision is significant for a number of reasons.
# First of all, it was partly based on the design of the development. But it was also based on its detrimental impact on the local community. The Inspector referred to the ECOTEC Report in support of his decision (para 22).
# Secondly, the decision was partly based on local planning policy H15, which restrains student housing in an Area of Housing Mix (para 17). The decision shows the value of having local planning policies on HMOs and shared houses. It's important to get such policies into Local Development Frameworks.
# Finally, the decision referred to national planning policies: "I find that the over-concentration of students in this part of the city would not sit well with the Government's objectives of creating socially cohesive and well-balanced communities as stated in PPS1 and PPS3" (para 23). PPS1 and PPS3 are national policies on 'Sustainable Development' and on 'Housing' respectively. The message is that concentrations of HMOs are contrary to national planning policy - and this is a precedent that could be cited in objecting to any similar application that may be made, anywhere.


Leeds HMO Lobby
email: hmolobby@hotmail.com website: www.hmolobby.org.uk/leeds