PLANNING APPLICATIONS RECEIVED BY BOURNEMOUTH PLANNING DEPARTMENT DURING MARCH 2017 – A CRITIQUE BY JOHN SOANE, BUILT ENVIRONMENT CONSULTANT TO BOURNEMOUTH CIVIC SOCIETY
247 Charminster Road Ref. No. 7-2017-23358-E
This is an application to construct a one to three storey block of five flats on the site of an early twentieth century detached house. The built foot print of the new development would be somewhat larger than the existing one with the inclusion of a one storey extension into the rear garden.
The general design would be in the form of a typical, late nineteenth century, detached family house with two storey bay windows ending in prominent, vertically fenestrated gables, either side of the central main entrance on the principal elevation. The rear facade exhibits a neutral design with modern, sash windows.
Although the Society would prefer a somewhat less bulky mass and the positioning of a vertical decorative architectural feature over the main entrance on the first floor; we feel that what is proposed is both visually harmonious with adjacent properties and respects the existing building line and main spatial elements of the road. We also think there is sufficient space left at the rear for a communal garden.
Accordingly the Society has decided that since this application more or less meets the conditions of the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be allowed. ( 4.19, i, ii and iii )
32-34 Markham Avenue Ref. No. 7-2017-18781-B
This is an application to build four individual dwellings in the form of single storey bungalows on backland ( principally behind 32 Markham Avenue ) in a residential neighbourhood at Charminster constructed in the early Nineteenth Century.
The properties would be constructed within the four corners of the site and would be designed in a modern, but restrained form with horizontal emphasis and modern casement windows.
However, bearing in mind the considerable spatial restrictions of the site, the Society feels that, irrespective of the continuing pressures to provide modest sized residential accommodation in Bournemouth, what is proposed at this site would amount to over development. Fears have also been expressed in the area over privacy encroachment and we also note that no other bungalow in this residential neighbourhood has been affected by new properties in adjacent backland.
We would suggest that two or three bungalows would be the best number of units for this site and we would also hope that the Planning Department will restrict the number of future back land applications in historic residential districts comprised of house sites with limited dimensions.
56 Richmond Park Avenue Ref. No. 7-2017-15978-E
This is an application to substantially reconstruct the interior arrangement of a substantial interwar family house, built in the late Arts and Crafts style. The changes would include the construction of a substantial, one storey, flat roofed, living room to the rear of the property and a large universal space in the roof which would be lit by two new dormer windows. The appearance of the principal facade, apart from the removal of the principal entrance to the building to under a porch on the west elevation, would be affected. All the existing windows of the latter would be bricked up and the new main entrance would be the principal architectural feature on the ground floor. The east elevation would retain the greater part of its existing appearance but with the addition of a large dormer ( with separate roof ) of similar size to the window below on the first floor. Both these facades would include the blank wall side elevations of the living room extension which would make a considerable alteration to the rear facade. This would consist of central French windows with a skylight and one casement window either side. The new dormer window above, on constructional grounds would be asymmetrically positioned to one side of one of the two casement windows on the first floor.
The Society is of the opinion that this development is a well thought out effort both to increase the living space in a more efficient manner of a substantial inter war property without compromising its exterior appearance in respect to the general streetscape. We think the rather distinctive flat roofed extension to the rear, is quite acceptable, visually, within the enclosed garden and that the somewhat larger built foot print is not that excessive in relation to neighbouring properties. We do suggest however that the rear elevation could be improved by a less prominent dormer roof.
Therefore under the circumstances, the Society has concluded that since this application fulfils the majority of the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be allowed. (4.19, i, ii and iii )
77 Lansdowne Road Ref. No. 7-2017-7021-N
This is an application to undertake external visual and internal alterations to a late nineteenth century family villa ( until recently used as a language school ) which over the previous century has been much altered by ad hoc extensions to the rear of the site; the intention is to create 16 new flats out of the existing buildings.
The front elevation facing Lansdowne Road will not be changed but the rear elevation will be given a new entrance, a gable window and roof dormers. The long north west side elevation will be given a more integrated general design; the central section would be given more symmetrical fenestration and a new gable window and the end section would also receive more regularly placed lighting and a new entrance. The long south east side elevation would receive modern casement windows and a new porch – while above both side elevations there would be small dormers in the roof.
Bearing in mind the unrelated and somewhat poorly planned extensions at the back of the original building, the Society is pleased to observe that with this planned development, an attempt would be made to integrate better these later structures into a visually, more presentable whole; the resulting ensemble could then become a more plausible element in the Dean Park Conservation Area.
We also accept that with the demise of the language school, the conversion of the property into flats is probably the only viable alternative. Indeed we also think that if the post war demand for language schools in Bournemouth is now gradually declining, the reconversion of many of the nineteenth century buildings in which they were housed back into residential use, is a very credible alternative use.
The Society therefore feels that because this planning submission abides by the majority of the conservation policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be allowed. ( 4.4, i, ii and iii )
15 Robert Louis Stevenson Avenue Ref. No. 26497
This is an application to extend a very small, older, extension over four floors on the rear facade of a residential, semi-detached, property built when the neighbourhood of Westbourne was laid out in the late Nineteenth Century. It lies on the edge of the West Cliff Conservation Area. The basic intention is to widen the existing extension which would involve the substitution of the existing narrow windows by wider vertical, modern fenestration on four floors; also the remaining original wider windows on the rear facade would be replaced by narrower and somewhat taller, modern windows.
The Society has concluded that these alterations will make an already poorly designed and badly integrated rear extension, a whole lot worse. The new extension will totally dominate and destroy any sense of aesthetic balance of what is left of the rear facade of the original building.
For these reasons we think that because this application has failed to take on board the conservation policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused. ( 4.4, i, ii, and iii )
69 Kimberley Road Ref. No. 7-2017-9590-C
This is an application to alter and extend an existing, semi-detached, early Twentieth Century, artisan property by means of s single storey extension ( with dormer roof ) into the rear garden to form two studio flats. Irrespective of the pressure to create more residential facilities for young people in Bournemouth, the Society is of the opinion that the restricted nature of the site makes it impossible to allow a further extension of the existing building.
We would suggest to the Planning Department that blocks of student/studio flats should be provided in purpose built block and not built in an ad hoc visually and socially debilitating way in backland and rear gardens within historic residential neighbourhoods.
The Society therefore feels that since this application does not conform with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused. ( 4.19, i, ii, and iii )
300-303 Iford Lane Ref. No.7-2017-5405-B
This is a partial application to demolish a large, early twentieth century family house and a later bungalow on a raised elevation overlooking the Stour in order to build eight flats.
Unfortunately although it has been suggested that the new building would have a rectangular general shape – together with a traditional design comprising of pitched roofs and gables – to date no precise details of the new structures have emerged. At present the greatest local fears seem to be about the invasion of privacy, the density of the development and the ever present problem of ensuring safe and sufficient parking. A vehicle undercroft, making use of the undulating nature of the site has been suggested.
Under the circumstances the Society feels it is better to wait for the full design before making a decision.
1 – 5 The Green, Branksome Hill Road Ref. No. 7-2017-2577-CC
This is an application to construct a large, irregularly shaped , five storey block of 50 flats in modernist style on the site of five fairly recently built, family houses that would be demolished and which is on the edge of the Talbot Woods Conservation Area. The irregularly shaped built foot print of the projected building – made up of intersecting rectangular shapes and including several projecting wings – bears a general superficial resemblance to the two blocks of four storey flats containing 40 flats that were rejected for the same site in early 2017.
With the exception of approximately half the North East elevation – which would be made up of contrasting wall elements – including weather- boarding – and varied fenestration viz:- French windows ( with balconies ), vertical glass panels and horizontal lighting strips; the remaining main three facades would consist almost universally of glass panels and French windows fronted by extensive glass balconies on every floor. There would be several concrete and weather boarded, structural divisions.
The Society note that as with the earlier applications, these large flat blocks would be clearly seen above the mature tree line in Glenferness Avenue; they would also be clearly be perceived as an alien architectural presence in that part of the neighbourhood between Branksome Hill Road and Branksome Wood Road where individual family houses have always predominated. We note that this characteristic is in complete contrast to the steeper section of Glenferness Avenue further up the hill where modern blocks of flats predominate.
Therefore we can only repeat the observations we made in respect to the earlier rejected application; that massive blocks of flats built in the most unimaginative and inelegant form would be a most grievous aesthetic blot on a still viable and integrated community of individual properties that has been steadily evolving in this area for over 100 years. The Society is certain that if permission is given to build, any residual protection given to the surrounding townscape by the Talbot Woods Conservation Area would be no more – together with any exceptional weight from the Bournemouth Local Plan. Fifty four letters of objection to the scheme have been received and the general feeling is anger against the contempt the developers have consistently shown to the desires of the local residents . It was considered quite outrageous that such an alien structure should be allowed to threaten a community of well established individual houses – not to mention the danger to pedestrians of increasing traffic and parking problems and the serious threat to the flora and fauna on the neighbouring heath land.
We have therefore come to the conclusion that since this planning application does not in any way fulfil the conservation policy conditions of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused. ( 4.4,i, ii, and iii )
Unit 4, 20, Wharfdale Service Road Ref. No. 7-2017-4171-K
This is an application to convert a two storey industrial unit into a community/advice centre and a church by the ETC ( Pro Breath of Life ) organisation.
Two large, rectangular assembly areas would be created with two staircases – one each on one of the long and one of the short sides of the structure with several divisions for ancillary facilities.
According to the generally positive response to this venture from six of the eight letters received about, the main purpose of the changed use of the building would be to enable young people who have no particular educational advantages to be offered community support and leadership training in order to obtain gainful employment. A place of worship would also be available in order to emphasise the Christian values of the organisation.
The Society notes that the grounds for establishing the centre at this location appear to be because the majority of the likely participants live in the central part of Bournemouth do not always have their own transport and so other possible locations in Southbourne and Boscombe, apart from being unaffordable, would be too far away.
Opposition to the scheme centres mainly on the continuing need for industrial units at this location, the unsuitability of car parking facilities near the activities of commercial vehicles servicing the adjacent industrial units, and the danger to considerable numbers of pedestrians using Wharfdale Service Road on a regular basis.
This is quite a difficult problem to solve. From the considerable evidence available, the organisation that wishes to come to the site is very responsible and well meaning. At the same time, as demonstrated by the Society in another recent application for a site between Wharfdale and Wharfdale Service Roads, we do not think that non commercial uses of property in this mainly non residential area are compatible with good planning practices. We are also aware that there is still a strong demand for commercial premises of the nature proposed for this change of use and we believe therefore that as the existing use is clearly still viable and demand its loss is not acceptable.
However in view of the special circumstances surrounding this application, the Society would suggest that further detailed discussion between the Planning Department and ETC take place to see if another suitable building in the wider area could be found. One possibility we would suggest could be a neglected or under used, old retail storage building somewhere in the Town Centre or in Westbourne.
We therefore conclude that this current application should be refused.