PLANNING APPLICATIONS RECEIVED BY BOURNEMOUTH PLANNING DEPARTMENT DURING DECEMBER 2017 – A CRITIQUE BY JOHN SOANE, BUILT ENVIRONMENT CONSULTANT TO BOURNEMOUTH CIVIC SOCIETY
Radcliffe Court, Manor Road, East Cliff. Ref. No. 7-2017-2459-N ( or O )
This is an application to seek permission to make certain minor alterations to the facade of the proposed replacement building which has gained planning consent, the main design of which has already been accepted by the Society. However we feel it is more important that the principal elevation towards Manor Road should be improved by the elimination of the narrow north east projection immediately adjacent to the fully glazed, central entrance section of the facade. In its place we think a replication of the balconied facade section just to the west of the central entrance facade would be more appropriate. The Society therefore hope that this further design amendment will be considered.
Rear of 79-81 Southbourne Grove, Southbourne. Ref. No. 7-2017-4067-L
This is an application to construct a pair of semi-detached dwellings from existing workshops at the rear of two existing late nineteenth century, retail/ flat properties which would be accessed from Southbourne Lane East.
With the exception of the addition of a pitched roof with dormers and the creation of double entrance doors and three new windows towards Southbourne Lane, there would be little change to the existing rectangular shape of the building. The kitchen and dining areas would be in a new sub-basement lit by skylights; the living rooms would be on the ground floor and the bedrooms in the roof.
The Society simply cannot accept the assertions expressed in the Design Commentary that the architectural quality of the new structure will be up to the generally accepted Lifetime home standards – nor that this renovation will enhance the general quality of the area. Instead we believe strongly that this application is overdevelopment on a considerable scale; there is no space whatsoever for car parking and basic infrastructure facilities and there is virtually no provision for a reasonable amount of open space between the north side of the new houses and the rear of the existing shops. We therefore feel that the Planning Department should make every effort to prevent the rear areas of shops in well established retail areas from being degraded in this way.
Therefore the Society has decided that since this application in no way satisfies the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused. ( 4.19, i, ii, iii )
24 Percy Road, Boscombe Manor. Ref. No. 7-2017-3570-D
This is an application to construct a two/three storey block of eight flats on the site of a modern bungalow of minimal architectural importance in a neighbourhood of large and well designed, late nineteenth century family villas near Shelley Park. The site lies within the Boscombe Conservation Area.
The principal street facade would have two slight projections at either end – together with two, two storey bay windows and prominent hipped roof above with dormers. The main entrance would be in the centre below a small porch and fenestration would be in the form of vertical modern windows, symmetrically placed. The rear elevation with just one projection would replicate architectural elements from the front facade.
The Society is of the opinion that while what is proposed would certainly be a relative improvement on the existing building, the main entrance on the principal elevation should be redesigned in a central position with window strips of equal shape, either side.
Moreover we also appreciate the fears expressed by local residents that the increased size of the new structure is likely to curtail a degree of privacy and light for adjacent structure and have an effect on the visual perspective of the existing townscape. People also felt that present gardenscape of the site might also suffer but one of their main concerns was the further introduction of small flats in a predominantly family neighbourhood within Boscombe where there were already a superfluity of small flats.
Consequently in view of this overriding fear that the basic social character of Percy Road might begin to be changed by the construction of this flat block, the Society has decided that since the conditions of the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan have not been observed, the application should be refused. ( 4.19, i, ii, iii )
25 Norwich Road, The Triangle. Ref. No. 7-2017-26280
This is an application to create a three storey block of six flats on the site of an unused series of workshops the late nineteenth century properties along Norwich Road (nos. 19,21,23 ) and within an existing building at one corner which fronts Norwich Road. The flats, with relatively spacious rooms would be constructed on two floors of the site in the form of an elongated rectangle with a shorter rectangle at right angles facing on to the road.
The back wall of the flats would be constructed flush against the blank wall of an existing structure, whereas the front facades of the flats would be provided with a variety of different sized vertical windows and two wider glassed and gabled projections. However with the exception of the smaller section that would face the road, the only outlook for most of the windows would be the rear premises of nos. 19,21,23 Norwich Road across an almost non-existent rear court.
The Society is thunderstruck by the spatial presumptions of this application. We can only say that such an overt disregard for the provision of a reasonable amount of clean air, good outlook and open space would be more likely to be found amongst the surviving terraced houses of early nineteenth century mill workers in Preston than ever in Bournemouth.
Under the circumstances we feel very strongly that since this application most certainly does not conform to the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused. (4.19,i,ii,iii )
2 Petersfield Road, Boscombe East. Ref. No.
This is an application to build five two and a half storey, semi bungalow dwellings on a spacious site in Arts and Crafts style: four properties parallel to each other and one at right angles to the others facing Petersfield Road. Each house would have an entrance and bay window to the ground floor and two windows above on the ground floor and the rear facade would have a slight projection at ground floor level containing French Windows.
The Society feels that although the basic design of each property is reasonably competent; both the small size of the houses and high density way in which they would be set out, makes this development at odds with the more spacious balance between built and un built form that was envisaged by the original designers of the Harewood Avenue/Petersfield Road area. In particular local residents have expressed worries that the new scheme would degrade the existing capacious ambience of the existing family houses; parking problems and less privacy would be faced and the wider views towards Kings Park would be curtailed. Our own solution would be two or at the most, three, larger houses for this site. Therefore under the circumstances, we believe that because this application does not satisfy the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused. ( 4.19, i,ii,iii )
79 Lowther Road, Malmesbury Park. Ref. No. 7-2017-20301-D
This is an application – similar to one that was refused in February last year – for the two storey extension of an existing family house in order to create six flats. The property was erected in Arts and Crafts style, as were the majority of houses erected in this neighbourhood in the early Twentieth Century.
The extension would be designed in a neutral architectural style extending into the rear garden but the Society considers the most important aspect of this proposal is the threat it poses to the future degradation of the existing balance between built and un built upon space which has always been an essential spatial characteristic of many of the historic, residential neighbourhoods of Bournemouth. Seventeen letters were received from local residents which drew attention to the likely increase in traffic, noise and inadequate parking facilities – as well as the inevitable degradation of established gardenscapes. In particular the unwelcome growth of an excessive number of flats was considered to have little to do with enhancing the quality of the area and more to do with mere financial gain.
Therefore the Society calls upon the Planning Department to prevent further attempts by developers to spoil historic, developed urban sites by insensitively planned urban extensions.
Under the circumstances we feel that since the application fails to comply with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused. ( 4.19, i, ii, iii )
8 Carbery Avenue , Southbourne. Ref. No. 7-2017-2515-H
This is an application for the construction of a two/three storey block of seven flats. The development would involve the demolition of a mid-twentieth century family house and the general shape of the new property would be generally traditional in mass and proportion with a multi-facetted hipped roof but with distinctive, modernist, architectural features on the main facades. There would be projections on both and the fenestration with a few exceptions would be in the form of large, rectangular, casement windows.
In view of the fact that Carbery Avenue is a very attractive and well established place of residence in Bournemouth, it is not surprising that 26 letters about this proposal have been received by local residents. It is suggested that the developers have no proper feelings for the existing visual sensibility of this family neighbourhood and that if this scheme went ahead others would follow. It was also felt that since the site in question was situated on a curve, the situation would become dangerous for an increased number of cars.
The Society agrees with much of the above and in particular we feel that the excessive form and mass of what is proposed would upset the spatial balance of this section of Carbery Avenue in relation to adjacent properties. We would rather see the existing property retained but if redevelopment has to occur then it should be no more than the original application for a pair of semi-detached houses.
We have therefore decided that since this application is not compatible with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused ( 4.19, i, ii, iii )
New road/flyover entrance/exit to Wessex Fields from the A 338 Ref. No. 7-2017-9177-DH
This is an application to construct a new junction on the Spur Road (A 338)to facilitate a better connection to Wessex Fields for the benefit of Bournemouth Hospital and the planned employment estate. Various new approach roads would connect south bound travellers to Riverside Avenue and thence to all parts of Wessex Fields. On leaving Wessex Fields in the opposite direction, the traveller would cross the Spur Road by a new bridge and by means of a new loop regain the Spur Road travelling north.
Although a private bus company “Go South Coast “ supports this project, no fewer 41 letters have been received – the vast majority objecting to what is proposed. The main reasons are to do with the presumed threat to the Holdenhurst Conservation Area and the probable increase in noise and pollution that would reduce the enjoyment of the Stour Valley Green Belt.
On the Wessex Fields side of the A338 whilst trees would lost many will be retained and the land needed for the road works is a relatively small proportion of the whole. We appreciate the need for better access into the Royal Bournemouth Hospital and the employment land adjacent and believe a solution is not impossible to getting people into and out of these existing and proposed facilities off the A338 southbound and then northbound to the A338 via Castle Lane and the existing roundabout.
On the Holdenhurst side of the A338, the land needed for road works is between the Holdenhurst Village Hall and the Townsend Estate. Here the engineering works and especially the raised carriageways will have a very great and negative impact on the views into and out of this historic village, undermine the character of the Conservation Area and the heritage assets and harm its agricultural setting and the Green Belt. It would also see the loss of the listed barn. We also believe that roadworks on this side of the A338 will inevitably increase the likelyhood of development pressures on the Green Belt.
Therefore whilst the Society supports the principle of improving access into and out of Bournemouth Hospital and the adjacent employment land, the application as presented will ruin the setting and character of Holdenhurst Village Conservation Area, will harm the Green Belt potentially opening it up for wider loss and will see the demolition of a listed building so we believe the plan should be refused. (4.19,i,ii,iii )
318-324 Holdenhurst Road, Springbourne. Ref. No. 7-2017-2941-I
This is an application to construct a four storey building consisting of four retail units and 23 flats on the site of several one storey vehicle repair facilities of negligible architectural significance. Also on the ground floor would be public spaces accessed from the car parking area which adjoins Victoria Place. There would be 6 two bed flats; 12 one bed flats and 5 studios. The building would be in the modernised form of a mid-nineteenth century, commercial terrace with alternative coloured building materials on the principal facade and a mansard roof with dormers. The modern sash windows would be symmetrically arranged – four to each two bay section of the facade. There would be a modern, two story oriel window at the intersection of Holdenhurst Road and Victoria Place where the side elevation would be much simpler with smaller casement windows.
The Society feels that this is a well designed building and we agree with the Design Comments in that the new structure will respect and fit easily within the mass and style of the mainly late nineteenth century townscape of the area. All we would suggest is that a higher proportion of the flats should have two bedrooms.
Overall therefore we conclude that since this application complies generally with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be allowed. ( 4.19, i,ii, iii )
7-7a Beechwood Avenue, Boscombe Manor. Ref. No. 7-2017-26587-C
This is an application to construct a new dwelling house in the form of a traditionally designed, chalet bungalow – in place of the refusal of the previous application on this site for a modern block of eight flats.
What is now proposed is a small building in rural Arts and Crafts style with a hipped roof and dormers and two horizontal lines of vertical sash windows with upper divisions, either side of the central main entrance under a porch on the principal facade.
The Society is of the opinion that irrespective of the generally competent design here, that in proportional terms, the new building would destabilise considerably the existing balance of built to un built on space that was created by the spacious layout of the residential streets that were built in Boscombe Manor in the late Nineteenth Century. Indeed probably the only reason new buildings have been proposed for this site is its complete accessability by means of Beechwood Avenue. If the proposed chalet bungalow were built, nearly 50% of the existing site would be developed; a higher level of building that is usually tolerated in Bournemouth.
Consequently the Society is of the opinion that on planning grounds, because this application does not comply with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused. ( 4.19, i,ii,iii )
8a Wharfdale Road, Westbourne. Ref. No. 7-2017-9503-Q
This is an application to construct an eight storey block of students’ accommodation along the Wharfdale Service Road very close to Wessex Way near the Cambridge Road roundabout. The building would be designed in the form of a tall, rectangular concrete tower in contemporary modernist style with a flat roof. The main east facade would contain various entrances and utilities on the ground floor and above would be six stories of horizontal lines of double window fenestration and a separate strip of three window lights. Above a prominent concrete collar which encompasses the building at this point, the top two floors have free standing windows and triple lights. While the west facade is similar in general design, the south side elevation consists of a blank wall and a narrow central lighting strip and the north side elevation has two lines of parallel, three light windows on every floor.
Irrespective of the fact that some modern buildings exist in the general vicinity of the proposed structure, the Society believe that by reason of its overt modernist appearance and exceptional height it would stick out like a sore thumb in an area of predominantly lower buildings which are imbued with a greater degree of architectural sensibility. Indeed we think it is a misnomer for the accompanying design commentary to presume that the new building will have the same aesthetic and spatial significance as the existing large complexes along Poole and Cambridge Roads. We are of the opinion that not only are none of these structures as high as the new accommodation tower, but also that their form, mass and design, enables them, with possibly one exception, to integrate more harmoniously and naturally with the adjacent townscape.
The Society is sure that the new structure will be clearly seen from a very long distance (especially along Wessex Way) and its negative impact will therefore be greatly increased by the unimaginative and perhaps banal qualities of its facades; made up of identikit parts from the neo-modernist cannon and instantly forgettable. Further we find it extremely interesting that the Design Commentary goes to great length to demonstrate how every effort is being made to disguise the height of the extra two top stories (an extra two in comparison with an earlier application ). Might it be that it is realized, but not admitted, that the very high building now shown in the new design, really is not right for the location for which it is designed?
Having discussed these matters at some length, the Society has concluded that since this application does not in any way satisfy the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused.( 4.19, i, ii, iii )