On the 3rd August, Cardiff Planning Committee resolved unanimously to grant consent, subject to legal agreement and conditions, for a residential-led, mixed-use development, comprising 81 affordable apartments and ground floor commercial units at 51-65 Cowbridge Road East and 2-8 Lower Cathedral Road. LRM managed the application on behalf of Wales and West Housing.
The application, which included demolition of the existing structures on site, is an exciting and impressive proposal that will provide much-needed affordable homes in a strikingly designed building. In obtaining planning permission, careful consideration of a number of issues was required, including the constrained nature of the site being located on a prominent corner, its location in a C1 Flood Zone, proximity to the Cathedral Road Conservation Area and the potential impact on the setting of the Grade II Westgate Pub opposite on Lower Cathedral Road. LRM worked positively with the Local Authority, with the final scheme arrived at following two years of positive and proactive negotiation between the development team and the local authority.
The design, by architectural practice Benham Architects, who were responsible for the award-winning Grange pavilion, has utilised a mixture of materials and clever use of projecting and recessed elements to create an attractive building that will sit comfortably within the street scene.
Commercial uses are proposed on the two road-facing elevations at ground floor, creating a vibrant active frontage that befits the prominent location of the site. The existing narrow footways to the site frontages will be widened to ensure a positive public realm in front of the proposed development.
It is a development that shows the ambition of the city, and one that has the design quality that is of the calibre affordable housing should aspire to.
The development team who worked so hard in order to reach this positive result also included PHG Consulting (engineers), Rider Levett Bucknall (quantity surveyors), Acstro (transport), EDP (heritage), JBA Consulting (flooding), InAcoustic (noise), Ecological Services Wales (ecology), Air Quality Consultants (air quality), The Urbanists (landscaping), Pixel Puzzle (CGIs), and Treescene (trees).
The development team is also very appreciative of James Hansel, the case officer at the Local Authority, for the pragmatic, positive and responsive approach to dealing with the application; as well as other consultees to the process, including Conservation, Placemaking and Highways Officers.