PLANNING APPLICATIONS RECEIVED BY BOURNEMOUTH PLANNING DEPARTMENT DURING DECEMBER 2016 – A CRITIQUE BY JOHN SOANE, BUILT ENVIRONMENT CONSULTANT, BOURNEMOUTH CIVIC SOCIETY
Roland House, Hinton Road. Ref. No. 7-2016-22046-H
This is an application to add a fifth and sixth floor in order to create five flats to an existing, mid twentieth century , five storey building, originally used as an office block but later converted to flats.
The Society is pleased to observe that in comparison with the ugly and top heavy proposals that were contained in the previous application for this site, the new designs are a considerable improvement.
The extensions would keep to the existing dimensions of the structure and in respect to the principal elevation: the fifth floor would be divided up by three, three light casement windows and the sixth floor would be in the form of continuous glass panels, separated by regularly spaced concrete/metal divisions. The side elevations are quite restrained with better integrated fenestration and a more restrained use of glass balconies.
However although we are more satisfied with the new design, we feel that the extended structure is still too tall; it looks quite ungainly beside the neighbouring office block. We also think that the contrasting forms of fenestration design on the fifth and sixth floors, visually do not go together in any way. We therefore suggest that one extra floor only be added and it should encompass the divided glass panel format proposed for the sixth floor with a well designed entablature above.
Consequently the Society have concluded that since this proposal does not comply fully with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan it should be deferred for further discussion. (Policy 4.19, i, ii, and iii )
91 Curzon Road, Springbourne. Ref. No. 24038-C
This is an application to construct a new dwelling house connected to an existing semi-detached property, originally built when this artisan/working residential neighbourhood was laid out in the late Nineteenth Century.
The new structure would be of two stories and would give the impression of a large granny flat. The design would be generally sympathetic to the existing appearance of the neighbouring building. There would be vertical casement windows appropriately positioned and French windows to the rear on the ground floor.
The Society note that just under 50% of the site would be built upon and take the view that building new structures in the small rear gardens of existing properties within historic residential neighbourhoods in Bournemouth should be strongly discouraged. However in this case, bearing in mind the existing high density use of adjacent sites ( notably in South Road ) and accepting the likelihood that the new property could be for the use of relatives of the occupants of 91 Curson Road, we feel that there is reasonable justification for the new construction. Therefore the Society has concluded that because this application fulfils the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be allowed. (Policy 4.19, i, ii, and iii )
13 Glenferness Avenue, Talbot Woods. Ref. No. 7-2016-5275-F
This is an application to build a two/three storey block of 10 flats in the form of a vernacular styled, late nineteenth century, mansion block, on the site of a low rise 1960’s, family house of no exceptional architectural importance. The site stands in the Meyrick Park and Talbot Woods Conservation Area.
The site of this application near the junction with Rothesay Road stands at the point between the hill section of Glenferness Avenue where there are a fair number of modern blocks of flats and the flat section of the same road where there are numerous examples of large family houses, constructed mainly in modernized Arts and Craft style during the Interwar period.
The new structure would follow, in general the built footprint of the existing house taking up about one third of the site. However the mass and form of the new structure would make it far more prominent than the present building.
The principal elevation would encompass quite a complex but well integrated frontage. Either side of a prominent half-timbered main entrance, there would be two elaborate, canted, three storey , bay window projections ending in distinctive gables that would merge into a prominent hipped roof. Vertical one and two light windows with upper divisions would be symmetrically placed across the entire facade with French windows on the ground and first floors at the elevation extremeties . Balconies to the first floor would be carried on pillared projections and four light window openings in the large gables would be provided with separate high balconies. The rear elevation would also be a balanced design with mini-pitched roof dormers and encompassing smaller projecting bay windows. The side elevations would be more asymmetrical in design with half timbering decoration just below the roof line. The SW elevation would contain more regularly spaced two light casement windows than the NE elevation.
The Society is of the opinion that while what is proposed is a competent enough design , the proposed site is the wrong context for this particular building. We are of the opinion that since Talbot Woods – and especially the greater part of Glenferness Avenue – contain a considerable number of the best surviving examples of large scale , late Arts and Crafts style houses in Southern England and while a replacement of the existing modernist family residence is to be welcomed; a modernized version of an Arts and Craft structure would be a more appropriate replacement in respect to the adjacent spatial character of the neighbourhood.
Similar sentiments have been expressed by 11 letters about this matter written by local residents. There were fears that not only would the proposed development be detrimental to the existing urban scale of the area but would cause parking and traffic problems and intrude excessively into the privacy of householders in Rothesay Road.
The Society is well aware that because of the position of the site, it is very problematic whether or not a new structure in an appropriate style should become a block of flats or a single family residence. We realise that in such circumstances, a well designed block of flats might be feasible; but at the same time a replacement house would be more appropriate to the existing appearance and usage of the area and would prevent further attempts to build new flats beyond the hilly part of Glenferness Avenue.
The Society has therefore decided that because this application does not meet the conservation conditions of the Meyrick Park and Talbot Woods Conservation Area within the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused. (Policy 4.4, i, ii, and iii )
17 Wimborne Road , Ref. No. 7-2016-7035-R
This is an outline application for the erection of a three storey block of nine flats on the site of a modern family house of no especial architectural pretentions. The site is surrounded by several blocks of flats that were built in the then current modernist style during the 1960’s and 1970’s.
The principal elevation would contain a narrow projection encompassing the main entrance and vertical fenestration above for the main staircase. Vertical windows would also be placed at the extremeties of this elevation and French windows ( with glass balconies for the first and second floors ) would exist on every floor between the centre and edges of the facade. To the rear there would be an asymmetrical variation of the front elevation with only one section with French windows and balconies. The side elevations would consist mainly of large asymmetrical sections of blank walling with a small number of rectangular windows.
While being certainly in favour on this site, of a well designed, modern block of flats, the Society is strongly of the opinion that what is at present offered – built on a considerably larger footprint than the present building – is totally lacking in aesthetic co-ordination and indeed resembles the poorly designed smaller blocks of flats that began to appear in parts of Bournemouth about 40 years ago. We think that not only is the building too large for the site, it makes absolutely no visual contribution to the adjacent townscape and indeed the existing house is a better adornment to what is proposed.
The Society therefore has no hesitation in suggesting that since this application in no way fulfils the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused. (Policy 4.19,i, ii and iii )
1374 Christchurch Road , Iford. Ref. No. 7-2016-1810-X
This is an application to construct a three storey block of 18 flats in fashionable modernist style on the site of a defunct garage and beside undeveloped land on the boundary between Bournemouth and Christchurch at Iford.
The flat block would be in the form of a large rectangular building on the corner of Bridle Lane and Christchurch Road. The design would have a strong horizontal emphasis; a considerable part of the principal elevation would consist of four integrated concrete rectangles filled with glass panels, while the remainder of the elevation would contain four regularly spaced rectangular windows with some glass balconies on the third floor. The rear elevation would contain more concrete boxes and a high proportion of French windows and further glass balconies
The Society is of the opinion that the large size and overt modernist appearance of the proposed building make it completely unsuitable to become an harmonious addition to the more traditional, smaller scale spatial structure of the surrounding area.
And what we felt was fully amplified by the 33 letters of objection to the scheme sent in by local residents. In sum the basic argument put forward was that the planning proposal was completely out of scale with the existing neighbourhood; it amounted to a far too intensive development of the site; it threatened the adjacent Green Belt along the Stour Valley and by introducing such a disruptive visual and social element into the local street scene , it was completely against the aims of the Local Plan.
The Society has therefore decided that since this planning application in no way fulfils the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be rejected . (Policy 4.19, i, ii, and iii )
9 Walpole Road , Boscombe. Ref. No. 7-2016-4074-D
This is an application to build four terraced houses in a staggered form within the site of an existing semi detached residence, built during the rapid expansion of Boscombe in the late Nineteenth Century.
The properties would be built in artisan cottage style with pitched roofs. Each front facade would encompass a front door and a modernised, venetian style window on the ground floor and a large, triple casement window ( with overhead projection ) above. To the rear there would be French windows below.
The Society is of the opinion that in spite of the acceptable design, the development would result in an excessive over development, with over 50% of the site built up. We suggest to the Planning Department that this and similar schemes should be strongly resisted to prevent further negative encroachments to the existing balance of built to un built on space in less spacious, historic residential neighbourhoods. We would recommend only one pair of semi detached houses on the site.
Accordingly we have decided that since this planning application does not fully comply with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further discussion. (Policy 4.19, i, ii, and iii )
64 Irving Road , Southbourne. Ref. No. 7-2016-26105
This is an application for the construction of five dwelling houses to be built in part of the back garden of an existing late nineteenth century house. The dwelling houses would be arranged at right angles to the original property with access via a public right of way, in two pairs of semi detached properties with one in between.
The new dwellings would take the form of old estate cottages and each front facade would have a projection with an entrance and a four light, Tudor style window. The upper floor would be under a pitched roof with a narrow, vertical window. There would be prominent chimneys and the rear elevation would include French windows on the ground floor.
In spite of the balanced, picturesque design, the new buildings would take up nearly 70% of the available space leaving virtually no room for proper landscaping or parking. Even though we may think that there may be room for two semi detached houses at the most, we feel such development should not go ahead so as to discourage strongly, such planning degradation within the restricted sites of the smaller Victorian properties of Southbourne.
Accordingly consider that since this planning application does meet with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused. (Policy 4.19, i, ii, and iii )
6 Merlewood Close, Meyrick Park. Ref. No. 7-2016-526-CC
This is an application to construct a three/four storey block of seven flats on a generally triangular site at present occupied by a post war family house which is situated on the far north eastern corner of the Wychwood Estate adjacent to Meyrick Park. The greater part of the Wychwood Estate has been developed in recent years by a mix of individual houses and smaller flat blocks built in generally traditional style. The developed estate is entirely separated from several modern blocks of flats in the near vicinity of St Valerie Road by a high bank upon which is situated a thick belt of mature trees and other vegetation. The site lies within the Meyrick Park and Talbot Woods Conservation Area.
The new buildings would be constructed in the fashionable modernist style in the form of integrated concrete rectangles within which would be fitted glass panels, French windows and glass balconies with smaller square shaped windows towards the rear. The side elevations would consist mainly of blank wall with three square windows each.
The Society suggests that as seen from the air, the absolute necessity of the aesthetic and spatial separation between the high rise modern flat development in St Valerie Road and the low rise more vernacular appearance of the Wychwood Estate would ensure an aesthetic discordance of exceptional proportions if the proposed modernist block were to be constructed on the above mentioned site. We feel that the new flat block would in no way reflects the unique appearance of this portion of Meyrick Park and can in no way be considered as a fitting adornment to the existing conservation area. Indeed the Society finds it quite incredible that the Design Statement asserts the very opposite of these conclusions. It seems to us that the main purpose of this proposal is to ensure a substantial income with no regard what so ever for any need to integrate, in a sensitive fashion, the shape and style of the building into the existing characteristics of the surrounding gardenesque townscape.
The Society has therefore decided that because this planning application in no way reflects the conservation policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused. ( Policy 4.4, i, ii, and iii )
Addendum to earlier observations on the Odeon 37-41, Westover Road . Ref. No 7-2016-891-AA
Further to an earlier application for the Odeon Cinema in Westover Road to construct a retail area within the ground and first floors of the building with six stories of flats above and behind; a later application has been received in which it is proposed to preserve only the Italianate front facade of the Odeon and behind would be constructed a huge 14 storey block of flats with a narrower extension towards Westover Road which would have a concave rounded roof. As with the earlier application, facades of the upper 14 storeys would encompass glass panels, French windows and prominent glass balconies. The lower three storeys of the main flat block would take the form asymmetrical, modernist fenestration.
In response to this monstrous concept the Civic Society can only repeat with even greater force, the feelings it expressed in respect to the earlier application: namely by the sheer bulk of what is now proposed and by reason of the totally insensitive way the new structure would be rammed down on top of what little would be left of the elegant principal elevation of the old Regent Cinema; what little remaining style and social renown still present in Westover Road would be completely destroyed; it would be an aesthetic catastrophe for the townscape of Central Bournemouth; the cultural standing of the town would be degraded and the existing positive repute of the Planning Department would be much reduced. There are 14 letters from Bournemouth residents that express the same sentiments as ourselves.
We would again suggest that the best use to which the old fabric of the Odeon could be put would be either as a cultural/community centre within the restored auditorium or as an up market retail galleria in conjunction with the adjacent floors of the old Westover Ice Rink.
Consequently the Society very strongly is of the opinion that since this unbelievable application can in no way be said to comply with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be roundly rejected. ( Policy 4.19, i, ii, and iii )
5 Florence Road , Boscombe. Ref. No. 7-2016-2055-l
This is an application to construct a two to three storey block of nine flats on the site of a middle class family villa that was constructed in a purpose built holiday neighbourhood during the rapid expansion of Boscombe at the end of the Nineteenth Century.
The proposed building would be similar in general appearance to the flat blocks that have already been created at 7 and 9 Florence Road. In each case the has been considerably larger than the existing one – nearly 50% of the site being built over with little room for landscaping.
The development would take the form of a modernised late Victorian suburban villa under a prominent hipped roof and with a wide gabled projection on the principal facade from which a two storey bay window would protrude. The fenestration, including the dormer and gable windows, would be in the form of two light vertical windows, symmetrically arranged. The rear elevation would also be regularly organised but with French windows and glass balconies. The side elevations would be eight bays long.
The Society finds the design competent, if not exceptionally creative; the rather excessive length of the side elevations are somewhat monotonous and the inevitable glass balconies to the rear could be better designed. However we accept that in a prime seaside neighbourhood such as Boscombe, where a degree of urban speculation has always existed, that the re-development potential would always be present. Under the circumstances, we think that the proposed new building is acceptable but we ask the Planning Department to ensure that a reasonable number of original family villas in this neighbourhood are preserved for the purposes for which they were built.
The Society therefore has concluded that since this proposal generally conforms to the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be allowed. ( Policy 4.19, i, ii, and iii )
Wessex Hotel, West Cliff Road . Ref. No. 7-2016-2037-AG
This is an application to construct two, six storey flat blocks and a six storey, one hundred room hotel on the site of the Wessex Hotel within the West Cliff Conservation Area. The present building is a large, somewhat rambling structure which, although having been altered and extended, has remained an important example of late nineteenth, traditional seaside architecture in Bournemouth, ever since the building first opened as the Hawthorn Hotel in 1891.
The proposed design would consist of three large rectangular built footprints on a curved building line facing on to West Cliff Road – the two larger being placed at the extremities of the oval site and the shorter third block in the centre. The easternmost block would be the new hotel and the principal facade would consist of vertical French windows giving on to integrated balconies in the centre with large vertical windows at the extremities of the facade. The wide side elevations would be arranged in a relatively symmetrical form with a combination of sets of vertical and rectangular window sequences (including some vertical French windows and glass balcony elements on the west`side facade) and the entire building would be topped by a shallow hipped roof.
The principal design elements of the two flat blocks would consist of symmetrical ( or near symmetrical sections on the long side elevations of the buildings ) of combinations of five storey, canted bay windows with integrated recessed balconies – with large and small dormers within shallow hipped roofs. With the exception of the larger French windows fronting the balconies, the generally two light, vertical windows would be arranged in a very regular fashion across all the facades. The extremeties of the two principal facades that face on to West Cliff Road would be emphasised by narrow, square shaped tower projections capped by separate turret roofs.
The Society observe that with the exception of the rather austere appearance of the facades of the hotel; from a strictly, objective, non contextual, architectural point of view, the general design of the two flat blocks is a reasonably accomplished piece of work and could without too much difficulty fit into a hypothetical late nineteenth, residential townscape. However, bearing in mind the unique spatial position that is occupied by the Wessex Hotel within the townscape of the West Cliff; the special, even iconic place it holds in the renown of Bournemouth as a celebrated maritime resort and the distinguished architectural quality ( in the form of the famous belvedere tower ) of the principal entrance front; we feel very strongly that the end of this famous structure would be not only a serious cultural loss to the facilities of central Bournemouth but also by the replacement of the existing number of hotel beds by a lesser number, the economic structure of the West Cliff would be seriously affected and thus the general viability of the tourist industry for the entire town.
Similar sentiments have been expressed by 18 letters concerning this proposal, written by local residents. In particular there was considerable fear that the exceptional ballroom facilities that are a feature of the Wessex Hotel that are greatly liked by local people of all ages and are a considerable draw for visitors to visit Bournemouth from every part of the country, would simply not be fully replicated to the same extent in the new development – thereby tempting many potential holiday makers to travel to resorts such as Torquay or Blackpool instead. Respondents also worried that other hotel features such as the health club, the swimming pool, the spacious reception suites, the conveniently positioned car park and the well known Italian restaurant, would all go with the demolition of the existing Wessex Hotel and not be replaced.
In sum, the Society is of the opinion that the planned development would be aimed at generating maximum income without any consideration for the need to ensure an harmonious synthesis between the new buildings and the existing well balanced townscape of this important conservation area – a much loved Bournemouth icon would be needlessly destroyed.
As an alternative plan, we would suggest that the existing hotel structure could be extensively renovated and even extended in the southern part of the site towards West Cliff Road and a smaller block(s) of flats, designed in a sympathetic style could be constructed to the rear of the site between the existing hotel and Hahnemann Road.
Consequently, the Society has decided that because this application has not complied with the conservation policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused. (Policy 4.4, i, ii, and iii )