PLANNING APPLICATIONS RECEIVED BY BOURNENMOUTH PLANNING DEPARTMENT JANUARY 2018
A CRITIQUE BY JOHN SOANE, BUILT ENVIRONMENT CONSULTANT TO BOURNEMOUTH CIVIC SOCIETY
71-81 Seabourne Road, Pokesdown: Ref. No. 7-2018-1589-O
This is an application for the construction of a three and a half storey block of 22 flats with storage and garaging units at ground level to be built on the site of a warehouse with offices. It is a second submission for a similar form of redevelopment of this site. The built footprint appears to be in the form of a large rectangle facing Seabourne Road – together with a small conjoined, two storey block to the rear. The form and mass of the new structure will be considerably greater than the area used by the present buildings. The ground floor appears to be intended for storage and/or garaging while the residential upper floors would have restrained vertical fenestration (including dormers ) and the principal facade would be divided into mainly regular sections by means of pilaster strips which would be continued by projecting divisions across the hipped roof above. However an alternative design has also been submitted in the form of a more traditionally designed, late nineteenth century mansion block of three and a half stories – complete with gabled projections, symmetrically placed vertical windows and a prominent hipped roof.
The prospect of living with the first design has prompted 35 letters of general comment by local inhabitants in which the main fear is the unsuitability of yet more, undersized, one bedroom flats in a neighbourhood of predominantly, family residences. It was considered that the new occupants would have virtually no recreation space, inside or out and that the existing parking problems would be worsened. As one correspondent suggested – small miserable flats for small miserable lives.
Further it was felt that such a structure was out of scale with the surrounding townscape and that a smaller building with fewer, larger sized flats would be more in keeping with the Boscombe and Pokesdown Neighbourhood Plan.
The Civic Society certainly agrees that a less bulky structure containing a smaller number of larger flats would be the ideal solution. However, if a choice is still to be made between the two different designs for this site, then we would prefer a somewhat scaled down version of the second, more integrated design.
Consequently, since this application does not fully satisfy all the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, we think it should be refused. ( Policy 4.19, i, ii, iii )
40 Florence Road, Boscombe: Ref. No. 7-2018-2018-G
This is an application to construct a medium sized, two and a half storey block of nine flats in the form of a Victorian mansion block in place of a well designed residence constructed when this neighbourhood was developed in the late Nineteenth Century. The new structure would occupy a larger built footprint than the present house and the principal facade below a prominent hipped roof, would encompass two slight projections with gables – each connected with two storey bay windows. The rear elevation would be a simplified version of the front and the main entrance would be on the asymmetrical side elevation – near to an elegant external chimney structure. The vertical fenestration would be designed in a generally regular fashion.
There were 15 letters from local residents and the main feeling was that the traditional appearance of the building disguised the fact that what would be built would be accommodation of excessively high density where the one bedroom flats would fall considerably below national spatial standards of 61 sq. metres per flat. Moreover it was felt that the loss of the perfectly serviceable existing house would result in a further loss of character within a significant, historical residential neighbourhood with a further increase in inadequate parking facilities.
The Civic Society think that although the submitted design might be considered an adequate replacement in this area for a structure of insignificant architectural importance, in this case, bearing in mind the high quality of the building now on the site, further discussions should take place in order to explore the possibility of converting the property into a smaller number of more spacious flats.
We would also strongly advise the Planning Department to create a policy that sets strict proportional limits as to the number of original houses that can be redeveloped within well established, historical residential neighbourhoods. For no new construction, however sensitively design can ever be aesthetically superior to an original creation.
Therefore the Society has decided that since this application does not comply with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused. (Policy 4,19, i, ii, iii)
1008 Wimborne Road, Moordown: Ref. No. 7-2018-3141-W
This is an application to build two separate dwelling houses in the rear section of the existing car park of The Hollies public house in Moordown. The two buildings would be of two stories with pitched roofs and be positioned parallel to each other. The principal, narrower main elevations would be very simple with regularly positioned rectangular windows, porched entrances and French windows. The Society thinks that the interior arrangements, including three bedrooms on the first floor would be reasonably spacious; therefore we would suggest to the Planning Department that further encouragement should be made to build more concisely designed residences of this type at reasonable prices, for which there is a continuing need in Bournemouth.
Under the circumstances we are of the opinion that since this application satisfies the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be allowed. (Policy 4.19, i, ii, iii )
113 East Avenue, Talbot Woods: Ref. No. 121-CV
This is an application to construct a rectangular shaped, two storied, family house on the site of an asymmetrically shaped, large bungalow that was constructed, along with other bungalows in this part of East Avenue during the 1960’s.
The building would have the general proportions of the late Arts and Crafts style but with a strong modernist influence on the principal and rear facades. Below a prominent hipped roof the principal facade would be divided into three – the two end sections and a central entrance. Clusters of double and triple window lights in two different sizes would comprise the fenestration. The simpler rear elevation would consist of vertical glass panels on the ground floor which would be extended to an adjoining annexe – and an upper floor with asymmetrically positioned, vertical windows.
Two letters from local residents strongly praise the new development for its distinctive mix of traditional and modern design – inferring that the new building would be an improvement on the existing structure.
The Society however consider that although the present bungalow is not an exceptional piece of architectural design; its irregular 1960’s modernist appearance does allow this building to fit in more harmoniously with the adjacent, chalet bungalow townscape than the more massive form of the proposed development could ever do. If built, the taut and somewhat austere appearance of this structure as at present designed would seriously unbalance the relatively loose spatiality of this final section of East Avenue. Therefore we would suggest a larger version of the existing building in a more integrated, eclectic form and no higher than one and a half stories.
Consequently, the Society feel that since this application does not comply fully with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused. (Policy 4.19.i,ii,iii )
11 Bodorgan Road, Meyrick Park: Ref. No. 7-2018-1216-V
This is an application to construct a two/three and a half storey block of four semi-detached dwelling houses in the form of a large late nineteenth century mansion block in traditional style. The site is at present occupied by a large bungalow built during the mid Twentieth Century of no particular architectural significance.
The new built footprint would be somewhat larger than the existing but would occupy the same general position. The principal facade would consist of a well balanced facade with two slight projections with gable ends that would merge into a prominent and complex, hipped roof. The ground floor would be taken up with car spaces and above which there would be a communal balcony with traditionally designed railings. Fenestration would be in the form of vertical sash windows with upper divisions interspersed with French windows. The rear elevation (of two stories because of differences in height) would be simpler with French windows at ground level.
The Society is of the opinion that the general mass and form, as well as the style of the proposed new structure, would be quite appropriate in relation to the predominantly existing late Victorian residential structures. We also feel that the relatively spacious, four bedroom houses that would be built are now very much in demand in comparison with the excessive number of undersized flats that developers are regularly proposing for the resort.
Consequently, since this application in no way trespasses upon the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, we can recommend its acceptance. ( Policy 4.19,i,ii,iii )
1143 Wimborne Road, Moordown: Ref. No. 7-2018-25770-A
This an application to construct an extra storey on top of an existing, two storey, interwar suburban house to create a total of five, quite small, one bedroom flats. The general appearance of the changed structure would be relatively neutral with symmetrically positioned two to three light windows and French windows on the lower ground floor.
The main fear expressed by the 14 letters of comment sent in by local residents is that the enlarged building would constitute over development and would be aesthetically degrading in relation to the surrounding properties. People were also worried that the completed flats would become student lets with an accompanying increase in noise, traffic and parking problems. The Society agrees with the idea that was also put forward that the best solution would be the conversion of the existing house into two flats for which permission has already been granted.
We therefore feel that since this application does not comply with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused.( Policy 4.19, i,ii,iii )
11 Florence Road , Boscombe: Ref. No. 7-2018-4902-Q
This is an application to construct a two and a half storey block of nine flats in the style of a late nineteenth century mansion block; on the principal facade, fenestration is symmetrical and there are two slight projections – one with a gable that merges into a prominent hipped roof. The rear elevation is simpler in design with larger, more regularly spaced windows. The main entrance is on the longer eastern side elevation.
The Society accepts, as in this spatial context, that a replica form of historic mansion block is probably the best aesthetic solution. However within historical residential neighbourhoods, where redevelopment has been decided upon, we would urge the Planning Department to urge developers, within the accepted stylistic parameters of traditional late nineteenth century design, to produce a more innovative variety of residential shapes. In too many instances, as for example along Florence Road, exactly the same architectural elements repeatedly are rehashed. The result is a competent, but on occasions, a rather restricted interpretation of a particular architectural form.
We have decided, however, in this instance that because this application more or less respects the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be allowed. ( Policy 4.19,i,ii, iii )
8 Branksome Dene Road, Westbourne: Ref. No. 7-2018-C
This is an application to construct two semi-detached houses within a two storied building that would take the form of a fairly large family house built in the inter-war period in modernised Arts and Craft style. The site lies within the Branksome Dene Estate; a distinctive, unaltered neighbourhood of quite large houses on spacious plots which was created in the 1920’s and in our view should be considered for Conservation Area status.
The plot lies at the T junction of the two parts of Branksome Dene Road and the built footprint appears to be somewhat larger than the existing one. The new building would be in the form of a rectangle capped by a prominent hipped roof and would occupy about one third of the site. The western principal facade would have a projection attached to a two story bay window, a principal entrance and appropriate, vertical ranges of windows with upper divisions. The simpler rear elevation would contain French windows while the longer north elevation would also encompass a projection and double bay window and appropriate, symmetrical fenestration.
This application attracted 40 letters from local residents; but although there was a fair amount of criticism of the appearance of the prospective structure, there was a great fear that the creation of semi detached property on this site would be the green light for further development of what were considered to be more cramped residential facilities in what was still an unaltered neighbourhood of roomy family houses with large gardens. There was also the worry that extra car parking spaces would dilute and degrade the mature landscape environment in this area that had been evolving during the previous 80 years.
Although the Civic Society appreciates that from a strictly aesthetic/architectural point of the basic mass, style and spatial context of what is proposed, might, with certain improvements, be considered relatively acceptable in this neighbourhood, the very strong social and cultural objections expressed as to the longer term implications of what is proposed are factors that cannot be ignored – nor the fact that a previous redevelopment proposal for this site has been rejected. As a possible solution, we would suggest that the existing house is modernised as a single residence or if need be, a new dwelling house is constructed in an appropriate style and form on this site. Under the circumstances, we think that since this application does not meet the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused. (Policy 4.19,i,ii,iii )
Cliff End Hotel, Manor Road , East Cliff: Ref. No. 7-2017-7448-S
This is an application to construct a six and a half storey composite block of 44 one bedroom and 21 two bedroom retirement apartments on the site of the Cliff End Hotel; a Victorian structure built in 1887 of some considerable architectural distinction that became an hotel in the 1930’s but has been unoccupied since 2002. The interior was gutted by fire in 2012 and has been in an increasing derelict state ever since. The narrow site on the East Cliff has a steep incline towards Boscombe Gardens while along Manor Road this plot is adjacent to the extensive modern flat developments of Keverstone Court and Green Park.
If constructed, the principal northern street elevation to Manor Road would consist of three distinct, modern, flat roofed, architectural elements: a central section of seven stories consisting of rows of symmetrically positioned windows; a slightly lower southern wing where the fenestration would be in the form of parallel lighting elements and the lowest northern wing also consisting of parallel lighting elements. The longer south west elevation towards Boscombe Gardens would consist of four principal architectural sections all with parallel, vertical fenestration and ranging from five to seven stories. However the Civic Society is of the opinion that an earlier design proposal for this complex in which the walls of the central block are elegantly striated and the principal, vertical, fenestration divisions of the two lower outer wings were shown in the form of semicircular, pillar like, forms would be a distinct improvement to the visuality of the structure if the principal of demolition had been proven.
The accompanying Design Justification makes great play that the new building would be in keeping with the general landscape and townscape of the East Cliff. Emphasis is put on the fact that the basic proportions and structural elements of what is proposed is a sensitive interpretation of the large Victorian villa form which became the main impetus for the development of the East Cliff in nineteenth century Bournemouth. Quite frankly, the Civic Society believes it is stretching the imagination to unsustainable lengths if any positive comparison is able to be made between the existing historical structure on the site and the overlarge, excessively banal piece of institutional modern architecture that would replace it.
Indeed a letter has been sent by the South West Regional Office of English Heritage at Bristol to Bournemouth Planning, pointing out that that not only would the planned structure considerably degrade the distinctive visual quality of the East Cliff as seen from Boscombe approach along Manor Road, but it would also put into increasing doubt, the viability of the existence of the East Cliff Conservation area.
We therefore suggest that irrespective of the present dire state of the Cliff End Hotel, a final concerted effort should be made by all interested parties to create a new design incorporating this original core structure. Consequently the Society feels that since this application in no way conforms to the conservation policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused. (Policy 4.4, i.ii,iii )
18 Penrith Road, Boscombe Manor: Ref. No. 7-2018-2397-B
This is an application to construct a small two and a half storey block of five flats in modernized, suburban Arts and Crafts style on the site of a post war bungalow in Penrith Road on the Boscombe Manor Estate.
The principal facade of the new building would be symmetrical with one end projection ending in a half timbered gable complete with vertical double casement windows. There would be a common balcony across half the first with a prominent hipped roof with dormer above.
The Society observe that the flat block would be constructed in a neighbourhood consisting generally of a mixture of interwar and post war modern family residences; we feel that its mass and form, together with its general appearance would not make it an excessively negative element in respect to the adjacent townscape.
However the Society must take very serious note of the 49 letters of comment that have been received about this application. The great majority of these representations point out that the advent of smaller, somewhat cramped, flat accommodation, irrespective of appearance, would be alien to the established family character of the area and it was feared that if such accommodation were built it would be used as holiday lets during the summer with all the accompanying noise and parking problems that would afflict existing residents. Further it was also thought that the normal provision of balconies with flat development would invariably reduce the privacy of neighbours. Other correspondents pointed out that such a development went against the local area plan which encouraged the building small, individual family houses; consequently there was a considerable hope that modern blocks of flats with balconies would continue to be restricted to the Boscombe Overcliff.
The Society thinks that the huge negative response to this application is the most vivid demonstration that we have seen of the remarkable social and cultural stability that has evolved in established residential neighbourhoods in historical parts of Bournemouth since they were laid out during the earlier Twentieth Century. Under the circumstances we would suggest that if a new development is to take place on the site in question, it should be in the form of a new single dwelling or as two semi-detached houses.
Therefore we have decided that since this application does not fully comply with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused. (Policy 4.19,i,ii,iii)
14-20a Belle Vue Road, Southbourne: Ref. No. 7-2018-20591-A
This is an application to build 40 one and two bedroom, sheltered apartments in a two to three storey modernist building consisting of two blocks – one at right angles to the taller block – and constructed on the sites and a large part of the rear gardens of five mid twentieth century bungalows situated between two well designed large late nineteenth century family residences in one of the oldest parts of Southbourne.
The principal facade to the street would be divided into two main sections of equal length, either side of the main entrance court, but each of differing design. Thus although each wing would have three gabled projections – apart from the visual similarity of the two central ones the other two either side would be of differing widths and window design. Of the two central projections on each wing, one is quite wide with concrete framing the upper floors – while the other is quite narrow. And of the end elevations, one is quite wide with asymmetrical fenestration and the other is narrower and more symmetrical in appearance. Except in the south west central projection, all the windows would be large and rectangular, except in the glazed gables. In the south east wing, between the outer two projections there would be a section of blank wall with two superimposed, square windows. The rear elevation – quite apart from where it is joined at right angles by the other two story wing, would have four, regularly space gables and a variety of vertical and rectangular, casement windows.
The Society is of the opinion that irrespective of strictly aesthetic and spatial considerations and that hypothetically speaking, the greater mass and form of the larger buildings in the general vicinity of the application site eventually might be better balanced by some more substantial series of structures on the site of the five bungalows; the Society is absolutely convinced that the enormous size of what actually is proposed – by which its clumsy and lumbering design tries to be both modern and traditional at the same time – would hugely degrade the important heritage area of Southbourne in which it sits, if it were built.
Eighteen letters about this application were received and the main fear was that the huge size of the proposed structure was totally out of character with the existing appearance and proportions of the adjacent townscape. It was considered – especially in relation to the excessive dimensions of the rear wing – but also because of the extended building line towards the front – that family garden space and sufficient light would be severely curtailed. Many correspondents felt that a regular provision of much desired family homes should figure more prominently alongside flat provision in all future developments. Such an enhancement of a balanced urban community as promised by the Design Statement was simply not considered remotely achievable and the Bournemouth Planning Department was called upon to ensure that such provisions as out lined in the Bournemouth Local Core Plan.
Therefore although the Society might recommend a less massive and more balanced and integrated, traditional design for the proposed assisted flats, we have concluded that since the existing five bungalows on the site have become over the years an integral part of the existing townscape of Southbourne and that any serious interference with the environmental quality of the area would seriously disrupt the accepted visual, social and cultural structure of the neighbourhood, we think the five bungalows should remain.
The Society is of the opinion 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)
36-36a Southbourne Road, Southbourne: Ref. No. 77-2018-10487-D
This is an application to construct a right angled, double rectangular, two and a half storey block of 10 flats in the form of a medium sized, late Victorian, mansion block in traditional style. It would be built on the site of a smaller, two storied nineteenth century house built in one corner of the site, at present a garden.
The area is densely built up with small, artisan houses but as this particular site is larger than average, the building of a more substantial building could be possible. The west elevation towards Southbourne Road would have two projections, both with gables; the south west one slightly angled towards the southern elevation and the north west one attached to a double bay window. The fenestration would be symmetrically designed in the form of vertical casements and above would be prominent hipped roof with dormer. Both long elevations would have slight projections and be less regularly designed; the main entrance would be on the north elevation.
The Society find the overall design generally satisfactory but feel that the form and mass of the property should be reduced . Such criticisms are reflected in the 18 letters of comment sent in by local residents; the main complaint is that what is proposed for the site does not properly represent the existing character of this part of Southbourne. We support this view. We have decided therefore that in these circumstances, because this application has failed to satisfy the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused . ( Policy 4.19,i,ii,iii )