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Cheltenham Civic Pride Urban Design Framework

3. North Place and Portland Street Development Brief

3.1. 3.37 Land Use:  The site should be mixed town centre uses, including residential, commercial, bus interchange, office, retail and parking and public spaces.  Residential should be a mix of apartments and townhouses and must conform to Cheltenham Borough Council's existing planning policies.  The residential units can have a maximum of five storeys. (NPDB p10).  There is an opportunity to create a new multi-purpose civic building which would act as a hub for various civic functions such as borough and county council services and possibly a police station and a learning centre (approx 7,000m2).

3.2. 3.38 Transport:  Traffic levels on St. Margaret's Road necessitate that the main vehicular access will be from North Place, but any access proposals will be subject to modelling. new access points onto this road are avoided and that existing junctions are used as far as possible. Portland Street would remain part of the existing road network to ensure access and permeability, whereas North Place could be closed to general traffic. There is a major opportunity to enhance the quality and appearance of St Margaret's Road.  Also, improving junctions will help pedestrian and traffic movement and thus address existing congestion (NPDB p15).

3.3. 3.39 Parking: The site needs to provide car parking for the following:

i) Residential parking will be provided at an average of 0.8 spaces per unit; ii) A minimum of About 300 public car parking spaces. [15]  Developers are likely to be asked to consider two different options for the public car park; one underground and the other over ground. iii) Other commercial, retail and civic uses will be provided with limited parking to meet their essential operational and service requirements only. It is expected that any office parking would be available at weekends for public parking.  

3.4. 3.40 There are a variety of options for the location of parking.  Residential and commercial parking can be provided on street in secure, overlooked locations. Undercroft parking is acceptable if the buildings in which it is located provide active frontages. Underground public parking may be acceptable subject to the suitability of ground conditions.  Decked parking may also be acceptable if suitably designed and screened, for example with green walls and/or single aspect development to provide active edges.  Rear parking courts in residential and general commercial areas are not acceptable as they create insecure intrusions into the core of blocks and are inefficient in their use of space (NPDB p17).  Adopted parking solutions will be expected to respect the Council's ambition for quality public realm and development that enhances the character of the town.

  [15]The St. Margaret's SPG (adopted 1999) sets a target of 800 parking spaces for the North West portion of the town centre.  As the NCP and High Street car park provide approximately 500 spaces there is a need for at least 300 spaces at North Place and Portland Street.

3.5. 3.41 Environment Sustainability: There is an opportunity to incorporate a range of sustainable design and construction techniques into the development, including maximise the 'due south' orientation of new buildings, using the diagonal axis as a key structuring element, thereby improving passive solar gain and low-carbon energy systems.  Green roofs on buildings on the civic building and green walls to improve air quality and screen car park development are examples of best practice.  Opportunities to create exemplar eco build will be actively encouraged.  The development should aim to achieve at least Level 5 of the code for Sustainable Homes and 'very good' under the BREEAM environmental building standards (NPDB p15) [16].

  [16]New developments should conform to Cheltenham Borough Council Supplementary Planning Guidance "Waste Minimalisation in Development Projects" Sept 2006.

3.6. 3.42 Constraints: Land adjoining existing residential areas must be carefully considered.  Sensitive consideration must be given to Holy Trinity Church & St. Margaret's Terrace (grade II*) in terms of heights, setbacks, development intensity and elevational treatments. English Heritage consent will be required for this development.

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