PLANNING APPLICATIONS RECEIVED BY BOURNEMOUTH PLANNING DEPARTMENT DURING JUNE 2016 – A CRITIQUE BY JOHN SOANE, BUILT ENVIRONMENT CONSULTANT TO THE BOURNEMOUTH CIVIC SOCIETY
8-10 Maderia Road.
This is an application to build a four to six storey student accommodation block for Bournemouth Arts University on the site of two large late nineteenth century villas in Madeira Road opposite the newly constructed Bournemouth Police Headquarters.
The main structure which would take up a considerable portion of the front part of the site facing Madeira Road consists of a large rectangular block of six storey with two projecting wings of between three and five storeys along Stafford and Trinity Roads forming a small interior courtyard to the rear. The main entrance would be in Madeira Road and the entire building would be capped by a recessed penthouse story above which would be a distinctive entablature in classical style enclosing a flat roof.
In the principal elevation along Madeira Road, the six storey facade would consist of a central section made up of a symmetrical series of vertical windows and flanked by two extremities of more articulated and asymmetrical, vertical fenestration encompassed by distinctive concrete collars. On the courtyard facade, the upper five floors would contain regular bands of smaller rectangular windows while the lower two storeys would consist of considerably larger rectangular lighting strips and include a prominent concrete portal enclosing glass doors. The shorter and lower side wings are designed in a combination of architectural forms taken from the central portion of the Madeira Road frontage and the courtyard facade of the main block.
The Society is of the opinion that in comparison with the previous application for this site, the general design quality of the proposed building – but quite irrespective of urban context – has been improved. However we strongly feel that even with the stepping down of the height of the side wings to accommodate the generally lower height and lesser dimensions of the adjacent, older, more traditional townscape between Madeira, Stafford, Old Christchurch, Lorne Park and Trinity Roads, what is now proposed is still far too out of scale in relation to the properties on the south side of Madeira Road.
In the Design Statement, it is suggested that the new student accommodation blocks, taken in respect to the adjacent recently built student accommodation blocks and the police administration buildings on the north side of Madeira Road, is sufficient justification of the proposed design of the new Arts University Accommodation Block. On the contrary, the Society thinks that this assertion simply does not fully appreciate how completely Madeira Road now separates the new modern townscape on the northern side of this road from the generally much less dominant, more organic architecture on the southern side of the road. Furthermore the predominant use of red brick on this side of the road would be rudely interrupted by the planned use of harsher blue and white bricks to construct the new building.
It is quite obvious to us that if the proposed application is allowed, an unfortunate precedent could be established that would result in the eventual replacement of the older buildings with modern unsuitable structures all the way from Stafford Road to Leyton Mount.
Therefore if it is felt that small sized, flatted accommodation of one sort or another is considered appropriate to this site, the Society suggests that an amended design which breaks up the monolithic shape of the present proposals should be substituted. Each element should be at least two stories lower and be surmounted by a more traditionally shaped roof.
Consequently we have concluded that since the present application does not properly fulfil the townscape policy conditions of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further consideration. ( 4.19, i, ii and iii )
46 Southbourne Coast Road Ref. No.2179-U
This is an application to build two detached, chalet bungalow style houses, on the site of a small, rambling inter war bungalow of no architectural significance. The total built footprint of both properties would take up considerably more space than the existing bungalow ; both new built footprints being rectangular and parallel to each other. The quasi-traditionalist design of each structure would enclose neo-modernist features – thus exceptionally prominent gables enclosing very large windows and encased with concrete collars would be seen on the Southbourne Coast Road facades. There would be two dormer windows on each of the rear elevations and on the ground floors, garage entrances ( with roller doors ) together with house entrances, partially enclosed by concrete frames.
The Society is of the opinion that what is proposed is a generally unimaginative and too high a density a design that in form and style is totally inappropriate for the surrounding, more spacious bungalow neighbourhood.
Such views are expressed in a fair number of letters of objection written by local residents. There is the general fear that if permission is granted for this development, precedents may be given for a considerable change for the area from a neighbourhood of well established family residences to a place of second holiday homes with little communal permanence and little Sense of Place.
We would suggest that if two households are considered feasible on this site, they should be combined in a single structure designed in the visual form of a medium sized, interwar, chalet bungalow.
Consequently, the Society feels that since this application does not completely fulfil all the townscape conditions of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further consideration. (4.19, i, ii and iii )
51-53 Shelbourne Road Ref. No. 7-2016-25677-B
This is an application to build three, two-storey dwelling houses in the rear gardens of two semi-detached houses which border Shelbourne Road. The new built footprint stretches across the entire width of 51/53 Shelbourne Road – but the new properties will be only two thirds the area of these late nineteenth century properties at the front of the site.
The proposed three houses would be quite simply designed in the form of a nineteenth century artisan terrace – with three entrances asymmetrically positioned on the ground floor of the front elevation together with casement windows positioned across the remained of the facade. The rear elevation would contain three casement windows above and three French windows below.
The Society thinks that the restrained appearance of the three houses could be appropriate for the rear positioning of residential development behind the modest late nineteenth small villas of this area of Springbourne.
However the Society is mindful of the ever present threat of town-cramming, back land development and the negative impacts of new, higher density development in such neighbourhoods as this and so is wary of supporting a proposal that could set a precedence and become the first of similar that could be repeated through the area.
Therefore, the Society, after consideration, has concluded that because this application is likely to transgress the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused. (4.19, i, ii and iii )
25 McKinley Road Ref. No. 7-2016-9473-J
This is a planning application to extend an already extended, fine, Arts and Craft family house on three floors to create three more flats. The converted building is in a road of especially fine late nineteenth century, landscaped mansions which form an important part of the West Overcliff Drive Conservation Area.
The extension would be on the north east corner of the building and would be brick and tile hung in the tradition of the Arts and Crafts Movement. The new built footprint would be in the form of a rectangular block which would be about one sixth the area of the existing house. There would be composite hipped roofs and the south west elevation would include a two storey bayed window. The remainder of the not especially well positioned fenestration would be of standard casement dimensions of the type frequently found in neo-Georgian residential developments.
Thus although, at first sight it might appear that the proportions and style of this extension appear quite in order; on closer analysis by the Society it is clear that not only would this new wing seriously unbalance the original proportions and therefore the heritage value of the original building, but also that the architectural detailing of the facades – especially the design of the new windows – would be entirely inappropriate to the original appearance of the structure.
Similar fears were taken up in numerous letters of complaint by the residents of McKinley Road. There was a general fear that this ad hoc method of extending and converting listed historic nineteenth/early twentieth century houses was not only aesthetically inappropriate to particular structures but also diminished the general cultural value of the entire Conservation Area by degrading the quality of the accommodation offered.
Consequently we feel strongly that since this application in no way fulfils the conservation area criteria contained within the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused. ( 4.4, i, ii and iii )
13 Glenferness Avenue Ref. No. 7-2016-5275-E
This is an application to build a two to three storey block of 12 flats on the site of a modern 1960’s style family house of doubtful architectural pretention. The site is within the Talbot Woods Conservation Area.
The built footprint is substantially larger than that of the existing building and the general design of the proposed structure is in the form of a substantial facsimilie of a late nineteenth century family villa in historicist style.
The principal facade is symmetrically set out with two elaborate gable projections – with attached, two storey, canted bay windows – either side of the main entrance. The extremities of the facade enclose French windows on both floors with wrought iron balconies on the first floor. Prominent hipped roofs incorporate four light windows in the gables and two large dormers at each end.
The Society cannot deny that what is proposed is a competent, if somewhat predictable design presented in traditional form. We think the problem is whether such a building is absolutely appropriate on this site, which stands at the border between the really fine series of substantial, single family houses built during the interwar period in modified Arts and Crafts Style in the flat section of Glenferness Avenue and the steep section of the same road just beyond devoted mainly to relatively uninspiring post war blocks of flats.
We feel that irrespective of what ever style in which the proposed structure may be built, its presence on this spot could pose an ever present threat to the continued existence of older adjacent properties. Sentiments that have been reflected in many letters by local residents who have no desire to see the flat section of Glenferness Avenue extended beyond Rothesay Road with the subsequent loss of privacy and family settings.
If however it is decided that the site in question – being on the divide between existing houses and flat blocks – should be devoted to multiple residential use, the Society feels that the somewhat exuberant existing proposal should be adapted or replaced by a design of less excessive dimensions and more apposite to the Arts and Crafts Style of the surrounding houses.
We have therefore concluded that since this application does not fully comply with all the conservation policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further discussion (4.4, i, ii and iii )
9 Grand Avenue Ref. No. 7-2016-10761-N
This is an application to convert a detached, late nineteenth century villa into four flats; the property stands within a substantial and largely unaltered residential area of West Southbourne that was built during the period of exceptional expansion of eastern Bournemouth after 1880.
The alterations consist principally of the remodelling of the ineptly altered rear facade of the building and the provision of new dormer windows in the roof. The new facade would be more symmetrically arranged with modern, vertical, casement windows, a sun lounge/French windows on the ground floor and a balcony door above. The new French window and balcony originally shown on the first floor of the front facade will not be built.
The Society regards this project as a good example of how, nineteenth and early twentieth century properties in older residential neighbourhoods in Bournemouth can be successfully adapted and modernised to meet the changing needs of modern seaside resorts. We recommend it without reservation.
Therefore since this application fulfils the conditions of the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, we think it should be allowed. ( 4.19, i, ii and iii )