Last week Siglion met local residents to respond to a number of questions that have been raised by the community. We wanted to share with everyone these questions and answers that we hope explain the planning process in a bit more detail. Siglion also want to reassure everyone that this is only the beginning of the development process and not the end. The ‘window of opportunity’ does not end when a planning application is submitted. Siglion would like to make it clear that they are happy to meet groups to discuss their needs. They hope to accommodate interest groups, sports groups and community groups.
Take a look at the questions that were raised and Siglion’s responses below.
Reasons for the report not being released for so long for the March 2016 consultation at the Seaburn Centre
Siglion response: The exhibition held in March is just part of the process that is assisting us in bringing the site forward for development. Other consultations have been and are taking place and further survey work, such as highways, ecology and archaeological investigations is also being undertaken. In addition the proposals have been reviewed by an independent body, a design panel from RIBA North East. All of this is part of the pre planning application process and we need to study the results of all of this research. We want to provide people with a fuller picture as possible and we want to be able to use the results of the survey to help us market the site to leisure operators. We will provide an update and will explain further the planning process to confirm that the consultation continues even once the application is submitted for planning. This is only an outline application that will set the principles of development. The development has to be market led with the detailed elements coming forward once we have leisure operators identified. The results of the survey confirmed that many people shared the Vision for Seaburn. There is still concern about the number of houses.
Timescales for the regeneration of Seaburn
Siglion response : We are hopeful that the outline planning application will be submitted later this summer. This is an outline application that will set the principles of development only, for example maximum amount of leisure space, number of residential dwellings, minimum number of car parking spaces, maximum height of buildings. It will not fix the actual detail of any of the building blocks at all. This is why consultation will continue as we work with traders, residents and visitors to develop the plans further. The only element of the plans that will be detailed and fixed if the planning application is approved, is the new car park on Dykelands Road
Parking and traffic
Siglion response: We have undertaken detailed parking and traffic surveys and we will have to demonstrate to the Local Planning Authority as part of the planning application how the new development impacts this. The current proposals look to re provide 179 visitor car parking spaces, which would mean a loss of circa 45 spaces. However the parking surveys acknowledged that the car parks are currently under utilised only being full during events or on peak days.
There are other options we are seeking to explore to respond to some of the parking concerns including speaking with Morrisons about opening up their overflow car park for visitors to the seafront as well. We have confirmed that the car parking is likely to be pay and display as is common along many seafronts across the country. This helps regulate car parking for visitors.
It may be that resident parking permit schemes are needed for the surrounding roads, something that is common in many places where visitors park, I.e train stations, seafront resorts etc. This will be discussed with the Local Planning Authority as part of the pre application discussions.
Siglion response: We hope to submit the planning application later this summer and it is unlikely that any work will start before mid 2017. The development will be undertaken in phases and will be market demand led, I.e buildings will not be built and left empty waiting for a leisure operator to occupy them. They will only be constructed once the occupier has been identified and is legally signed up to occupy a unit. We are already marketing the opportunity to leisure occupiers to identify the demand and to help us develop the plans further. The development has to be sustainable and funded through private investment, there is no public subsidy available both in the short term for construction and in the longer term for future ongoing running costs. This is the same across the country with budgets being cut across all sectors. We are using the outcomes of the public survey to influence the kinds of operators we are approaching, to ensure that the wants and needs of the community are met wherever possible.
It is hoped that work will start to the rear and front of the site subject to the demand. It is difficult to say how long the overall development will take to complete as there are so many varying factors, attracting private funding, operators etc, 5-6 years is an estimate.
The current proposals include 100,000 sq ft of leisure accommodation and 279 new residential units. It is envisaged that the residential units will be a mix of accommodation from family housing to apartments for down sizers and empty nesters as well as possible sheltered assisted accommodation for the older generation. We cannot give a value for any of these residential units.
They have not be planned or designed yet. The plans show a maximum of 5 storey’s along the seafront but at varying heights along the way, rather than one continuous block to the front of the development. The site is being masterplanned to ensure it sits comfortably within its context.
We believe that it is important that the site is given a prominence and is seen as a focal point that should be landmarked which makes people curious to stop and investigate. Height and density are a way of achieving this. Siglion is proposing a variety of heights along the seafront, from 2 to 5 storey’s so it is not seen as one complete building. Comfort studies including wind and sunlight/daylight have been undertaken.
Leisure pool development
Siglion response: The masterplan allows for a leisure pool to be provided if an operator can be found to build and run such a venture. However we do not believe this will be possible as swimming pools around the country require significant public subsidies to operate year on year. We are marketing the site to leisure operators, both national and local businesses. We are also discussing with Everyone Active who currently operate the Seaburn Centre about providing a gym/ leisure space in the development.
We are not aware of any application for a Gaming Licence for a Casino on the site. We are aware that the existing tenants have re applied to renew a gaming licence for the amusement arcade.