PLANNING APPLICATIONS RECEIVED BY THE BOURNEMOUTH PLANNING DEPARTMENT DURING JUNE 2017 – A CRITIQUE BY JOHN SOANE; BUILT ENVIRONMENT CONSULTANT TO THE BOURNEMOUTH CIVIC SOCIETY
1a, Warren Edge Road Ref. No 7-2017-8851-B
This is an application to build an integrated block of six semi-detached two/three storey houses, in modernised Arts and Crafts style, on a generally triangular site between Warren Edge Road and Saint Catherine’s Road at Southbourne. The new built footprint is considerably larger than that of the existing property and the proposed site generally is surrounded by residential properties built during the Twentieth Century in traditional form.
Four of the houses make up the principal elevation which faces on to Saint Catherine’s Road. The structure is in the form of a rectangle of two stories with a prominent hipped roof and dormers. There are two storey bay windows at the extremities of the main elevation ending in gables while the central part of the facade has one storey bay windows on the ground floor and symmetrical, vertical, casement fenestration on the first floor and at gable level.
The two semi-detached houses facing Warren Edge Road are attached at a slight angle to the rear sections of the four semi- detached houses facing Saint Catherine’s Road. This facade exhibits asymmetrical variations of the same architectural design elements that would be seen along Saint Catherine’s Road.
The Civic Society concur with local comment that this application would result in too high a built density of the site with a resulting loss of natural light and privacy . We also feel that the design of the single storey bay windows, which would be more appropriate in a building of earlier nineteenth century date should be redesigned. We therefore suggest for each window; narrow vertical windows flush with outer window widths on the first floor, joined by an extended link of brick or weather boarding, containing two window panels in the centre – and with shallower mini roofs. A reduction to one, more spacious house facing Warren Edge Road, would be a further improvement.
Consequently, the Society has concluded that since this application does not fully satisfy the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further discussion. (4.19, i, ii, and iii)
7 East Overcliff Drive Ref. No. 7-2017-11507-W
This is an application to construct a three to four storey block of seven flats on the site on the site of a recently demolished, large, interwar, family house, constructed in the neoclassical style. This is the latest of several, previously rejected applications in which the proposed built foot print would take up a considerably larger proportion of the site compared with the existing building. The site is within the East Cliff Conservation Area.
The principal facade facing the sea would consist of a standard modernist flat block design of glass panels, French windows and horizontal strip balconies. The rear elevation would be in the form of symmetrically placed , vertical casement windows either side of a relatively narrow, concrete projection with narrow windows either side. The side elevations would consist mainly of integrated portions of wall with porthole windows -rather in the style of 1930’s, International Moderne.
The Civic Society have concluded that not only is the planned structure far too large for the site; it would also destabilise the existing spatial balance of this section of the East Cliff and be very aesthetically incompatible with several important, original buildings nearby; including the elegant Miramar Hotel, designed in Arts and Crafts style and the distinctly eclectic Russell Cotes Museum and Art gallery.
We also agree with general comments from local residents that the increased size of the new structure on this site would reduce considerably the privacy now enjoyed by adjacent householders – who also point out that because of the unstable nature of the geology of the East Cliff, deep excavation on the site could initiate further land slips similar to what occured recently near the East Cliff Lift.
The Society is not against a new building with a certain level of modernist ambience at this location – but it must be far better designed and be able to fit harmoniously into the surrounding townscape. We feel that there are already quite enough overtly modernist block at the eastern end of the East Overcliff Drive – we do not need any more to disturb the more traditional older structures to the west.
The Society has therefore concluded that since this application in no way satisfies the conservation policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused. (4.4, i, ii, and iii)
17 Stourwood Avenue Ref. No. 7-2017-26241-A
This is an application to build a three to four storey block of flats within the Stourwood Estate on a relatively spacious, triangular shaped site, at present containing an attractive nineteenth century residential property of some visual and architectural merit.
The built footprint of the new structure would take up almost double the dimensions of the existing house but with due regard to the general spatial character of the area, the Society considers the new balance between built and un built space, would be acceptable.
The planned building would be in the form of a late Victorian mansion block with a prominent hipped roof. The principal facade would be half timbered and have three slight projections culminating in three distinctive gables. There would be three ground floor bay windows with mainly quadruple (and some double)casement fenestration in the upper floors. There would also be a slightly lower, three storey extension to the north.
Local complainants have pointed out the excessive size of the flat block, the problems of increased parking and the reduction of privacy.
The Civic Society endorses these comments – but we also feel that that a fundamental flaw lies in the principle of redevelopment rather than sensitive renovation and improvement of the existing building.
We also feel that if the Council does opt for accepting the principle of redevelopment then the general design proposed – namely that in a road where the majority of the properties tend to be either Art Deco/1930’s Modernist; a large new building in late nineteenth century, traditionalist/revivalist style could appear to be the odd man out. We would therefore suggest that if redevelopment has to take place then the overall dimensions of the flat block be reduced and its decorative appearance adapted to suit the general visuality of the present urban scene.
Under the circumstances, since the Society thinks the present application does not fully satisfy the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, we recommend it be refused for further discussion
40 Florence Road Ref. No. 7-2017-2018-E
This is an application to construct a two to three storey block of nine flats on the site of a substantial, late nineteenth century family house within a well established residential neighbourhood near the Boscombe Overcliff.
The built foot print would be generally rectangular and not so different in absolute size from that of the present building. The new block would be designed in the Arts and Crafts style with a prominent and quite complex hipped roof. The principal elevation would encompass two very slight forward projections – the corner one including a two storey bay window and a barge boarded gable. Fenestration (including dormers ) in the form of two to three light vertical casement windows would be symmetrically positioned across the facade. The rear elevation would embrace a somewhat simplified version of the architectural components of the front elevation.
Although the Society feels that the proposed design would fit in relatively harmoniously with the existing townscape in the road, we also take serious note of the 15 letters of comment sent in by local residents which lament the further destruction of further, well built, attractive, original houses in this historic location – especially when in this case, the building contains many period features. There are also complaints that the size of the planned flats would fall below national minimum standards and that the increase in housing density would further exasperate parking problems.
The Society is of the opinion that conversion of the existing property into more spacious flats is the best solution. For we also think that blanket permission for redevelopment of especially attractive properties in relatively unchanged neighbourhoods should be withheld irrespective of how accommodating might be the proffered new design – and in this respect the importance of characterisation policies which are to be included in the new town development plan, should play an important part.
Consequently we have concluded that since this application does not fulfil the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further discussion. ( 4.19, i, ii, and iii )
95-97 Palmerston Road Ref. No. 7-2017-5598-E
This is an application to create a single storey extension into the rear area of a terraced, late nineteenth century property in central Boscombe to create – together with extended accommodation on the second floor – eight very small flats. According to very strong local comment, these new flats would be below national standards in an area of Bournemouth where one bedroom flats already number 49%. It was also considered that such developments would eventually compromise seriously the balance of reasonable quality properties in Boscombe and in response to this the Civic Society reiterates its demand to the Planning Department that effective planning policies should be introduced to prevent the original spatial structure of built to un built on space from being degraded by insensitive alterations to semi-detached and terraced neighbourhoods in Bournemouth where sites are of quite limited dimensions.
Therefore we have concluded that because this application does not in any way respect the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused. ( 4.19, i, ii, and iii )
23 McKinley Road Ref. No. 7-2017-9473-M
This is an application to construct a three storey extension on to an existing late nineteenth century, large family house within a road of fine Arts and Crafts residences on the West Cliff. The property lies within the West Cliff Overcliff Drive Conservation Area and an earlier extension on the north side of the building has been granted and built.
The new wing would be constructed at the North East corner of the building; it would be of three stories and would mimic in lesser dimensions, the existing adjacent structure. The principal elevation of three stories would have vertical windows and a two storey bay crowned by a gable style roof; the rear elevation would have modern vertical fenestration.
The Society feels that in spite of the relatively traditional design of the extension, its visual relationship with the original property is aesthetically inappropriate; and that taken in conjunction with the existing extension, the total effect would change the character of the original house as a pleasant location for converted, spacious flats into an un-coordinated and rather shapeless container of flatlets by stealth.
We are fully aware that building operations have been in existence on this site for several years to the mounting annoyance of many local residents. Not surprisingly, there is considerable opposition to the latest application expressed in 28 letters of complaint; the main fear is that what is happening on this site is likely to degrade the still well-to-do character of the neighbourhood and encourage similar changes in other properties in this pleasant conservation area. There is a feeling that too much freedom of building is being allowed at 23 McKinley Road in contravention of the Local Plan and the councillor for this ward is concerned with these matters. Our suggestion to solve the problem would be a final termination of the existing building work; the conversion of the existing small flats into more spacious apartments and no further extensions.
Consequently the Society has decided that since this application does not fulfil the conservation policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused. ( 4.4, i, ii, and iii )
20-22 Tregonwell Road Ref. No. 7-20176225-B
This is an application to construct a four storey block of 11 flats in a mixture of traditional and modernist style on the site of a pair of semi-detached, late nineteenth, houses of reasonable design. The site lies within a well integrated townscape of mid-to late nineteenth century buildings and not that far from the new blocks of flats in Upper Terrace Road. The area is part of the West Cliff Conservation Area.
The principal elevation, which has a traditional pitched roof, consists mainly of symmetrical lines of vertical windows in the upper three floors – but at the north east corner there are asymmetrical projections with glass balconies of varying lengths and two non-centred doors on the ground floor. The rear elevation would encompass two lines of vertical fenestration, but the corners of each floor would be in the form of French windows and/or glass balconies on the upper floors. The south side elevation would be provided with prominent French windows on the first and second floors at each corner; a penthouse with a long balcony terrace and wide French windows above and an unsymmetrical placement of modern vertical sash windows in between.
The Society is of the opinion that here is a most kack handed mixing of traditional and modern design concepts in effect Georgian elements and modernist flat block elements very abruptly, and with little aesthetic sensitivity, shoved together. The application cannot seem to be able to make up its mind in what guise to appear. If it were built as it now appears, the result would be a building of exceptional clumsiness that would in no way harmonise with the adjacent townscape. We would suggest that if a new flat block is to be built at this site, a far better co-ordination between modern balcony structures and the more traditional elements of the facades must be achieved. For example we think that where balconies are required, they should be designed in the form of older balconies with imitation iron railings.
Under the circumstances, the Society has decided that since this application does not fully satisfy the conservation policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan it should be deferred for further discussion. ( 4.4, i, ii, and iii )
7-7a Beechwood Avenue Ref. No 7-2017-26587
This is an application to construct a three storey block of eight flats on the site of a substantial, early twentieth century, family house on the corner of Beechwood Avenue and Keswick Road in Boscombe Manor. As in several recent developments, the development with have the general proportions of a more traditional property combined with the architectural concepts of post modernism.
The principal elevation would have a prominent pitched roof and a central projection capped by a large gable. The fenestration would consist mainly of large rectangular windows including one in the gable, arranged in an asymmetrical fashion. Similar asymmetrical, design forms would also be prominent on the shorter elevation towards Keswick Road. There would also be small patches of fashionable weatherboarding on both these facades.
The Society is not very impressed by these very conventional built shapes. If constructed, they would in no way harmonise with the established character of the surrounding neighbourhood. Far more significant however is the first appearance of an unsuitable planning application in a road (Beechwood Avenue) that until now has retained its established residential character almost untouched.
We would therefore earnestly entreat the Planning Department to make every effort not to allow the present appearance of this road, gradually, to be degraded in the same way as the Boscombe Overcliff Drive, in recent years.
Consequently, the Society has decided that because this application does not fulfil the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused.