PLANNING APPLICATIONS RECEIVED BY BOURNEMOUTH PLANNING DEPARTMENT DURING APRIL 2018 –
A CRITIQUE BY JOHN SOANE, BUILT ENVIRONMENT CONSULTANT TO BOURNEMOUTHCIVIC SOCIETY
Saint Swithun’s House, 21 Christchurch Road Ref. No. 7-2018-5931-AQ
This is an application by the Bournemouth Churches Housing Association to replace their existing office accommodation in late nineteenth century, terrace houses on the corner of Manor and Christchurch Roads, with a larger three and a half storey structure built in the style of a mid to late Victorian mansion block. The site is on the edge of the East Cliff Conservation Area.
The general shape of the new building would be in the form of a large rectangle. – The facades would be enhanced by distinctive projections of varying width – some ending in gables containing windows and merging with the prominent hipped roof. Fenestration, although not comprehensively symmetrical, would be well balanced in lines of two or three vertical windows, through every storey of the facades. Several windows would be arched and others would have individual pediments. Between the roof and the top most storey there would be a line of neo-classical consoles.
Generally speaking, the Civic Society feel that what is offered is a well designed, even quite elegant, new block – competently designed in an historic form that was popular in Bournemouth after 1870. We also think this structure will fit in well with the considerable number of larger, late nineteenth century, adjacent properties in this part of Christchurch Road. It will be a most suitable foil to the modernist buildings of the University of Bournemouth on the opposite corner.
The Society therefore has concluded that since this application fulfils the conservation policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan it should be allowed. ( Policy 4.4,i,ii,iii )
520-524 Wimborne Road – Winton Fire Station Ref. No. 7-2018-1129-l
This is an application to construct eight flats and a retail area by adapting and extending an existing, architecturally significant building that was constructed during the era of municipal expansion and improvement during the early Twentieth Century. The structure which is now in a very decayed state has a flamboyant Arts and Crafts/Neo-Baroque principal facade – with two elaborately pedimented doorways and a large oriel window on the first floor. The side elevations contain a line of narrow vertical windows on the first floor and a series of distinctive, keystoned, arches below.
The main change would be the construction of a rear wing to contain extra residential space which would be continued by the rear extension of the existing hipped roof. The extension, however would not be centred at the very middle of the existing rear elevation but would be asymmetrically positioned towards the north western section of the present building. This would be to enable the new flat on the ground floor to have a private terrace to the south.
We can accept the triple, mullioned windows on the new facades of the extension since this part of the new structure is visually quite separated from the original facades. However we feel it is quite unnecessary to align the rear extension in such an eclectic way with the front portion of the building. We think the two parts should join symmetrically and thus increase valuable residential space.
Moreover although the dimensions of some of the flats are relatively small; under the circumstances, the Society thinks that the conversion of this historic monument into flats, is probably the only way to save it. Therefore we have decided that since this application does not fully comply with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further improvement. (Policy 4.19,i,ii,iii )
2 Midland Road, Moordown Ref. No. 7-2018-12806-D
This is an application to build a new two and a half storey block of eight flats on the site of an existing property which is in part commercial/part residential use. The built foot print of the new structure would be distinctly wider than the adjacent semi-detached houses and project further into the rear garden. The principal facade would be symmetrical with double vertical windows and a central main entrance topped by a prominent hipped roof.
Although the traditional design is not aesthetically disturbing, we feel that the general mass of the building is somewhat excessive in comparison with the smaller scale of many of the original, adjacent properties. Although the design report points out that a similar ration between built mass and plot size only exists in relation to three developments in the entire neighbourhood, we would urge the Planning Department not to encourage any more of these spatial forms in an area overwhelmingly composed of small scale detached/semi-detached houses. But if larger plots are to be developed, we would suggest – as on this plot in question – that the structures must be divided into visually distinct, separate built elements.
The Society therefore feels that since the proper conditions for compliance with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan have not been met, a decision should be refused (Policy 4.19,i,ii,iii )
Rear of 131-139 Columbia Road Ref. No. 7-2018-23705-C
This is an application to construct eight dwelling houses in the form of two blocks of three semi-detached residences and one pair of semi detached houses in another house. The development would take place on backland at the end of a right angled narrow road ( Kings Close ) leading off Columbia Road. The three structures would be built parallel to each other in the northern half of the site; the general design of the properties would be in modernised Georgian style with prominent roofs and French windows to the rear.
Again, although the design of the new houses is quite competent, the Society strongly feels that here is yet another example of a forgotten piece of land in Bournemouth, now likely to be greatly over developed merely for profit and not for social convenience. In addition local inhabitants have expressed the fear of increased risk from future excessive traffic and inadequate parking. We feel that if any development is to come on this land, the number of housing units should be reduced to five or six. Consequently we have decided that since this application does not properly comply with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused. (Policy 4.19,i,ii,iii )
515 Christchurch Road Ref. No. 7-2018-12451-R
This is an application to construct three flats over the narrow rear courtyard of late nineteenth century retail premises. The structure would be one and a half storeys high and take the form of a terrace of artisan cottages but with large dormer windows facing north with balconies. Even though the Society observes that neighbouring rear yards already contain long structures we are minded to condemn the increasing spread of small, unintegrated bits of flat development in locations which were never designed to be built upon but where this happens, the quality of urban life is much reduced.
Therefore we have concluded that since this application in no way complies with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused. ( Policy 4.19,i,ii,iii )
The Holly Inn, 1008 Wimborne Road Ref. No. 7-2018-3141-X
This is an application to convert the former public house The Holly Inn into ten flats. Extra residential accommodation can be added to the rear of the building by a single story extension encompassing a former garage and public seating area. The property originally dates from the early Nineteenth Century but after 1877 it was considerably enhanced in the Arts and Crafts style by fine stone and timber detailing and well designed new fenestration together with a prominent hipped roof. The principal changes will be the substitution of original doors on the principal facade for new windows which would be surrounded by matching brick and stone.
The Society has appreciated the difficulties to be encountered by the developers in achieving national space standards for the flats ( 5X2 beds and 4×1 bed ) in a building where alterations are restricted by historic wall divisions that cannot be changed easily. However we feel that since the original pub is no longer commercially viable – being some distance from the principal visitor area of the resort – the conversion of the property to residential use is probably the only way this fine building can be saved from further degradation.
Consequently we think that since this application attempts to comply with most of the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be allowed. ( Policy 4.19,i,ii,iii )