PLANNING APPLICATIONS RECEIVED BY BOURNEMOUTH PLANNING DEPARTMENT DURING JUNE 2919- A CRITIQUE BY JOHN SOANE, BUILT ENVIRONMENT CONSULTANT TO BOURNEMOUTH CIVIC SOCIETY
2 Cellars Farm Road, Southbourne Ref. No. 7-2019-1375-S
This is an application to construct a two and a half storey building containing nine flats. The basic design exhibits a generally traditionalist ambience; thus the principal facade at the corner of Cellars Farm Road and Dalmeny Road is broken up into generally balanced architectural segments consisting of a recessed centre between two wings with gabled projections at the extremities and a complex pitched roof. Across this facade there is a strong modernist influence in the form of prominent, vertical windows grouped in twos, threes, fours and across the entire width of the two gables.
The Civic Society while accepting that it is possible to create a structure that can successfully combine both traditional and modern elements of design feel that in this case the particular architectural elements have been put together in a rather unimaginative way which creates a negative aesthetic effect in relation to adjacent buildings. Indeed we think that the built footprint and mass of the new proposal is too large for the general scale of the surrounding neighbourhood; a view that is shared by local residents. Indeed local opinion points out that the new building line extends beyond the existing one in Cellars Farm Road with the fear that this could be a pointer for further larger developments for holiday homes that could threatened the existing local community. It is suggested that two smaller family homes should be built on the site and the Society feels that if this is not possible, then the scale of the planned development should be reduced together with a considerable improvement in both the integration of the different elements of the principal facade and in the design of the fenestration.
We have therefore decided that since this application does not comply with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further consideration and improvement.
56 Keith Road , Talbot Woods Ref. No. 7-2019-27343-A
This is an application to construct a new family house on the site of an existing modern property. It would have a somewhat larger built foot print than the present house and it would be one and a half stories high and constructed in late nineteenth century Arts and Crafts style. The principal elevation would be characterised by two prominent half timbered gables merging into a distinctive hipped roof. Fenestration would be in the form of vertical casement windows with upper divisions in sets of three (the gables ) six and four (ground floor). The rear elevation would be crowned by an exceptionally prominent roof.
The Society echoes the views of the 39 letters written about this development by local residents. That the proposed structure is far too large for the proposed site – which in itself is half the dimensions of an existing developed plot. Also that the proposed historicist form is in no way compatible with the post war residential townscape of Keith Road and that such development in an alien style could eventually change the established character of the neighbourhood, creating a demand for more parking space.
Therefore the Society has concluded that because this proposal is not compatible with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan it should be refused.
13-15 Seafield Road , Southbourne Ref. No. 10298-N
This is an application to demolish or remodel two large and imposing Arts and Craft family houses and three modern bungalows behind at present used as a care home. The bungalows would be generally modernised and the two houses would be replaced by two internally modernised structures occupying the same built footprints as now existing. The principal street facades would be designed in the form of conventional late Victorian suburban family houses with wide projections with blank gables and two, two storey bay windows and two, one storey bay window below a prominent hipped roof. Fenestration would be in the form of modern vertical sash windows. The rear elevation would have two sets of French windows on the ground floor with two above opposite a high glass balcony.
The Society feels that although of the two larger buildings are more or less acceptable we note that the nineteenth century style of the proposed structures does not blend especially well with the early twentieth century , more vernacular appearance of adjacent properties. Also seven local letters raise problems of parking, the threat to the existing natural environment and the fact that there are already too many care homes in the area.
The Society suggests that either a fresh look should be taken into the possibility of modernising the existing houses – or if this is not possible, then a redesign of the new development by the introduction of a certain degree of asymmetrical massing without gables and a design much more sympathetic to the existing character of the area and the appearance of the streetscene.
We therefore think that because this application does not fully respect the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further consideration and improvement.
39-39A Queens Park Avenue, Queens Park Ref. No. 7-2019-2983-I
This is an application to construct a two and a half storey building to contain 6 flats on the site of an existing family residence in modernised Arts and Craft style. The built foot print would be in the form of two rectangles joined together and would be about one third larger than the existing. The principal elevation would be in two sections; the wider one projecting forward. There would be a distinctive hipped roof with two prominent with two prominent dormers. Fenestration would be in the form of four sets of double French windows on both floors with two triple rectangular windows between. The upper French windows would have glass balconies supported by quite elaborate, vernacular style constructions.
The Society echoes the view of local residents that the mass and form of the construction is simply too massive for plots that were originally surveyed for family houses of modest size – parking problems are likely. This is especially relevant to the site in question which also contains a range of cottages to the rear. We also think that the asymmetrical facade does not achieve a desirable visual balance by the somewhat eclectic overall design of the fenestration and balconies.
We suggest a more integrated redesign of the entire facade and therefore until this happens the Society is of the opinion that since this application does not yet fulfil the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further consideration and improvement.
17 West Cliff Road, West Cliff Ref. No. 7-2019-1706-T
This is an application to a five storey block of 24 flats – 17 residential, 7 holiday on the site of a considerably altered late nineteenth century residence, latterly the Chequers Hotel. The built foot print of the proposed new structure more or less follows the existing one in the form of an irregular hexagon. The slightly asymmetrical principal facade would resemble a late Georgian/early Victorian terrace and would carry a modern mansard roof. This elevation would have two slight projections and the entire facade would be bound together by a very precisely designed scheme of fenestration. There would be modern sash windows on the ground, second and third floors and arched windows on the piano noble or first floor. Pairs of windows in the centre of the facade would have Juliet balconies of imitation wrought iron and the entrance to the underground car park would be to the front at ground floor level.
Generally speaking, we think what is proposed is an aesthetic improvement on what now exists and we are not opposed to the loss of the existing hotel. However the Society feel that a distinct enhancement to the relative monotony of the proposed principal elevation could be made by means either by the addition of a belvedere tower at the apex corner of West Cliff Road and Chine Crescent Road or the addition of narrow gables above the two projections on the principal facade and also by the elimination of the Mansard storey. We are certain that if a structure generally similar to what is proposed is carried out then the strong romantic appeal of the late nineteenth century townscape of the historic West Cliff will be preserved. Under the circumstances, the Society has concluded that because this design has nearly satisfied the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further discussion and improvement.
15 West Cliff Road, West Cliff Ref. No. 7-2019-4866-D
This an application to construct a four storey block of 27 flats on the site of a very conventional, modernist building constructed during the 1970’s and at present used as the Kingsley Hotel. The building which would have a similar built foot print to the present one would be in the form of a classical later Victorian block of mansion flats On the principal elevation there would be three blank gabled projections merging into the hipped roof. Fenestration, except for the double sets of windows in the centre of the facade, would be in the form of French windows each provided with a balcony with imitation iron railings. The other elevations would be simpler variations of the principal facade but without balconies; there would be a wide main entrance on the ground floor.
The Society does not oppose the loss of the existing hotel and agrees with the assessment of English Heritage that although what is proposed is better than the present building, the historicist ambiences of the proposed design need to be worked on and improved to produce a more competent and integrated, architectural design . For example we think the use of two window widths on the central projection of the principal façade should in some way be replaced by three fenestration units in accordance with the classical canon .
Consequently the Society has decided that since this proposal falls short of the townscape policies laid down by the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further consideration and improvement.
39 Wycliff Road, Winton Ref. No. 7-2019-26790
This is an application to construct a one story bungalow at the rear end of a narrow site that was developed with a small house in the late nineteenth century . The property would be very small and be accessed via the drive of a neighbouring house.
The Society thinks this application is the latest example of a householder trying to make an easy small fortune by attempting to build accommodation on an in-fill back garden plot that is both far too small and never designed to take a building. We most earnestly request the Planning Department to take effective measure to prevent such abuses, which if unchecked will seriously degrade the built to un built spatial ratio in historic residential neighbourhoods .
Under the circumstances we feel strongly that this application in no way fulfils the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan and should be refused
8 Carbery Avenue, Southbourne Ref. No. 7-2019-2515-J
This application, which is very similar to one made in June 2018, is to construct four dwelling houses in a two story rectangular block, designed to portray a mid twentieth century family house with modernist architectural features.
The built foot print would be larger than that of the existing bungalow and a high proportion of the existing principal facade would consist of very large glass windows with glass balconies on the first floor.
The Society feel that not only is the proposed design excessively out of scale with neighbouring properties, but the clumsy synthesis of traditional and modernist features makes it impossible for the new structure to enhance the adjacent townscape. This criticism is echoed by 30 letters of comment by local inhabitants. Strong fears were expressed that the family life style of the neighbourhood would be compromised, not just by the alien appearance of the new building but also by the higher density of new houses created by the greater number and smaller size of the residential units. In particular the Society concurred strongly with the general view that if such flat developments were not immediately stopped, they would pose a serious threat to the existing tranquil character of this part of Southbourne.
We have therefore decided that since this application does not abide by the townscape policies of the Bournmouth Local Plan, it should be refused.