PLANING APPLICATIONS RECEIVED BY THE BOURNEMOUTH PLANNING DEPARTMENT DURING APRIL 2019 – A CRITIQUE BY JOHN SOANE, BUILT ENVIRONMENT CONSULTANT TO BOURNEMOUTH CIVIC SOCIETY
47 Saint Swithun’s Road Ref. No. 7-2019- 14814-D
This is an application to enlarge an existing four storey, later nineteenth century, terraced property in the form of a short four storey extension at the rear. The slightly asymmetrical, but generally square shaped, new structure would consist mainly of wall with a roof top terrace above. The new rear facade and the exposed side elevation would be lit by casement windows. We observe that the new extension would enable additional small (studio) flats to be created in addition to the already, not especially spacious, existing accommodation. Indeed we note that this development is similar to other contemporary applications – whereby attempts are made to over extend the letable space of historical terraced houses of limited size to an excessive degree. Such developments not only destroy the visual balance of the adjacent townscape, they also make possible the creation of very cramped living conditions which are usually below national standards for integrated flats. A local resident has described the proposals as looking like an intrusive tower and out of character with the surroundings. In addition, the Society also feels that the design of the windows, especially in the rear elevation, is of a very poor utilitarian standard and could be much improved. Therefore under the circumstances, we have decided that since this application makes no attempt to fulfil the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused.
25 Norwich Road Ref. No. 7-2019- 26280-A
This is an application to construct to four one bedroom flats and three commercial units in place of various un integrated, mainly one storey, service structures in a relatively isolated section of Norwich Road, adjacent to the Triangle in Bournemouth. This is a highly built up area which was originally created for the artisans and other workers who serviced the West Cliff. Consequently a high proportion of the original terraced houses still exist – indeed the development site in question is the only spot in the area where industrial activity has taken place.
The site itself is partly hidden by existing buildings of a traditional character and it is probably the near presence of so many older structures that has created the 2/3 storey design proposal for the site.
The building would be in the form of an L shaped structure with the flats above and commercial activity mainly concentrated within the shorter arm on the ground floor. The principal elevation towards Norwich Road would have a traditional general shape, with a pitched roof, dormers and gable; but modernist details – as with the large garage doors on the ground floor, the very large gable window and the contemporary styling of the casement windows..
Having carefully considered the situation, the Civic Society has concluded that since the new structure would be a general improvement to the street scene the relatively slight modernist tendencies in the principal facade could be quite easily accommodated in a building on this somewhat secluded position. We therefore think, that since this application satisfies in general terms the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be allowed.
250-252 Charminster Road Ref. No. 7-2019-5133-J
This is a barely changed planning application subsequent to the original application to extend the rear section of a two and a half storey, late nineteenth century retail shop with living premises above ,in order to create space for seven flats and a somewhat reduced space for retail in the street section of the ground floor. In spite of the original application having been refused by the Planning Board and dismissed at appeal; a near facsimile of the original application has turned up again presumably on the uncertain presumption that there is a continuing exceptional demand for rather small flats in the Charminster area below the minimum size as laid down by national guidelines.
The Society therefore stands by its critique of the original application (February 2018) that the present submission is a glaring example of greedy attempts by developers to create an excessive number of poky flats within historic buildings that were never designed to be used for such a purpose. We therefore appeal to the Council to formulate a new policy that will control such abuses and so preserve a reasonable number of reasonably spacious accommodation for family use. The Society has therefore decided that because this application does not comply with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused.
61 Wycliffe Road, Winton Ref. No.7-2019- 27378
This is an application to construct a relatively small, one storey bungalow at the end of the back garden of a semi detached house built in the late Nineteenth Century. Although having a pitched roof, it would be modern in appearance being close boarded with narrow vertical fenestration.
The new building would take up about 40% of the rear garden and the Society view this intrusion as yet another example of back garden infilling within historic residential neighbourhoods, thereby resulting in overdevelopment, excessive traffic and a restriction on the privacy of neighbouring householders. There have been strong objections along these lines by local residents, and it has been suggested that such difficulties could be easily be exasperated by the very considerable number of existing HMOs in the area occupied by students. We appeal again to the Planning Department to evolve a more effective policy to control these unneighbourly influences. The Society has therefore concluded that because this application ignores the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused.
5 Southbourne Coast Road Ref. No. 7-2019-19652-F
This is an application to extend and heighten an existing twentieth century bunglow to create further accommodation. The new principal elevation would consist of six sets of triple vertical windows with further lights in the two gable ends above; the building would appear to exhibit traditional proportions and a hipped roof. The rear elevation would be a less elaborate version of the front with smaller casement windows.
Given the generally late date of the construction of the Southbourne Overcliff, we think the design is more or less appropriate. However what we consider more important is whether or not it is inevitable that the existing low rise townscape of twentieth century bungalows along the Southbourne Overcliff will be transformed into larger structures – invariably built as flats and no longer catering for families. The Society has therefore decided that since this conundrum can only be decided by meetings between the Planning Department and local amenity societies, this application cannot yet fully satisfy the townscape policies of the Bournemouth local plan and should be deferred for further discussion.
13 Lowther Road Ref. No. 7-2019-16701-H
This is an application to build a two storey extension to the rear of a substantial family villa built on the northern part of the Dean Estate at the beginning of the Twentieth Century. The built footprint shows it to be a brick block, capped by an extended hipped roof. The rear elevation would have French windows below and triple lights above; the side elevations would have small horizontal fenestration strips.
Again, the Society observes that here is another example, albeit this time in a well-to-do area, of an historic residential property being inappropriately extended into the back garden for the purposes of financial gain. We note that Lowther Road has long been a place in Bournemouth where this practice has been going on; we strongly feel that it is time the Planning Board put a stop to this practice or insisted on far better designed schemes. Therefore in view of the fact that this application fails to comply with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, we suggest it be refused.