PLANNING APPLICATIONS RECEIVED BY BOURNEMOUTH PLANNING DEPARTMENT DURING MARCH 2018 – A CRITIQUE BY JOHN SOANE, BUILT ENVIRONMENT CONSULTANT TO BOURNEMOUTH CIVIC SOCIETY
Durley Road Car Park/Hahnemann Road Ref. No. 7-2018-25651-A
This is an application to construct an L shaped, five to six storey block of 44 flats on the existing public car park between Durley Chine Road and Hahnemann Road on the West Cliff – which is included in the West Cliff and Poole Hill Conservation Area. The form and mass of the built footprint will be created by two large rectangles intersecting with each other at right angles and the general appearance of the composite block would be modern but with considerable Georgian ambiences. The topmost story on both rectangle blocks would be penthouses but in part designed to give the impression of mansard roofs. The structure would be placed directly in the central part of the site, taking up only about 45% of the area and allowing considerable open space around for car parking and landscaping.
The principal elevation would be towards Durley Chine Road ; the most distinctive feature of which being two prominent, semi circular bay window projections with uniform, vertical windows, of five storeys. Pairs of vertical French windows together with balconies and traditional railings would form the central section with further, similar French windows, balconies and railings at the extremities. In addition there would be blank window spaces between the outer edges of the semi circular bay projections and the outer French windows and balconies
The rear facade would not be so symmetrical as the slightly lower rectangular block is not precisely centred onto the middle of the front block. There would also be two lines of blank window spaces next to the corner, outer windows. Both side elevations would encompass, prominent semicircular bay windows – those in the front block five storeys in height, those in the rear block, four storeys. There would be French windows, balconies and railings at the intersection of the two rectangular blocks and at the extremities of the entire elevation.
Several local inhabitants expressed the view that the proposed design is too bulky and out of scale with adjacent properties. However the Civic Society has also come across more positive comments and in particular that the latest design is an improvement on what was first suggested for this site.
After much thought we feel that although the modernist/Georgian character of the new building is not exactly similar to the late nineteenth century, residential appearance of adjacent properties, it is sufficiently complimentary to be reasonably acceptable. In addition we think that because the flat block would be quite a considerable distance from other structures, the scale of the design would be visually appropriate in respect to its spatial context. Finally, since the neighbouring site will sadly no longer contain the large form of the Wessex Hotel, we are convinced that the new flat block in conjunction with the separated and smaller blocks that will be constructed in place of the Wessex Hotel, will , together, create a spatial and visual, piece of substitute townscape that, to a reasonable extent, will restore the balance of built to un built space on this part of the West Cliff.
However the Society does accept the other main point put forward by local inhabitants that the loss of the present car park in such a central position, is likely to cause considerable difficulties to visitors and residents alike. Here we would suggest that a solution might lie in the more efficient use of the West Hill Car Park and a greater latitude by the Council to allow more on street parking in neighbouring roads. With regard to the latest design – since the height of the Wessex Hotel and its replacements are the same height as the proposed block of flats, we do not think that any reduction in the general mass in relation to the built foot print of the proposed structure is necessary. We would only suggest that the design of the central spread of French windows on the two side elevations be more sensitively improved in relation to the vertical windows in the two neighbouring large bays on either side.
Therefore the Society has concluded that since this application fulfils the majority of conservation policies within the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be allowed. (Policy 4.4,i,ii,iii)
4 Upper Terrace Road Ref. No. 12565-C
This is an application by the Housing, Landlord and Parks Department of Bournemouth Corporation to renovate an old, four storey house within a well designed early Victorian/Georgian style terrace.
The work would consist of the provision of new iron railings and more appropriate door to the front facade and a generally tidying up of the rear elevation – including the removal of the existing conservatory and French windows.
The Society considers that the initiative of the Council to provide decent accommodation for single persons of limited means is praiseworthy. However we also agree with a local resident who believes that in a prime holiday area such as Upper Terrace Road, a proper balance between properties here used as visitor accommodation and as council run refuges for young people with accommodation difficulties should always be maintained at approximately 50% for either.
Therefore the Society feels that under the circumstances, since the application fulfils a majority of the conservation policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be allowed. ( Policy 4.4,i,ii,iii )
96 Lowther Road Ref. No. 7-2018-23976-B
This is an outline application to demolish the original early twentieth century, Arts and Crafts family residence and to replace it with a two and a half storey block of nine flats designed as an enlarged . partial replica of the original.
The existing property is competently designed with two front projections ending in half timbered gables and with a one storey bay window on the ground floor. The built foot print of the proposed building would be approximately one third longer than the present house and about half the front facade and built structure behind would encompass a wide, projection with barge boarded gable connected to a prominent, two storey bay window. The other half of the front elevation would be shorter and contain one of the entrances. The rear elevation generally, would mimic the front elevation in a somewhat more informal manner and include a one storey lean to projection ( with dormer above and French windows below ) on the ground floor. Fenestration throughout would be in the form of two light vertical windows with simplified upper divisions; generally symmetrically positioned on the front and rear facades and asymmetrically placed on the longer side elevations. Above would be a relatively complex hipped roof with dormers next to a prominent chimney.
Simply because the new structure is constructed in the same general style as the surrounding townscape, the Society cannot accept the assertion in the Design Statement that what is proposed will be assimilated quite easily within the adjacent townscape. We think the mass and form of the building is still too large in relation to many of the original house sizes in Lowther Road ; in particular we find the excessive length of the side elevations likely to strike a jarring note – irrespective of being wrapped in traditional architectural forms. These fears are shared by a majority of the comments of local inhabitants who in addition that such a development would give the green light for further flat development and the subsequent decline of Lowther as place of much desired, family residences.
However since the original building on this site is in a very poor condition, the Society suggests that if a replacement is really necessary, it should be designed more in the spirit of the original property; be of lesser dimensions and only contain up to six flats.
We feel therefore that since this proposal does not properly comply with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further discussion. ( Policy 4.19,i,ii,iii )
64 Porchester Road Ref. No. 7-11839-E
This is an application to extend a very well proportioned, Arts and Crafts style, early twentieth century, family residence (with elegant hipped roof, double corner oriel window and well designed double and quadruple fenestration) in order to form five flats. The principal extension would be in the form of a one storey block of new rooms built on to the rear garden facade of the house. Fenestration would be in the form of double and triple windows ( with French windows ) which would mimic the window designs of the first floor above. There would also be a short continuous extension of the latter on the west side elevation, covered by a tiled, lean to roof. The end of this extension would become part of the principal north elevation.
Although what is proposed does not intrude onto the greater part of the original design of the house, enough aesthetic disturbance would be caused for the Society to call upon the Planning Department to restrict very considerably these continuing, accumulating, visual disturbances to the original appearance of fine houses built in historic residential neighbourhoods across Bournemouth before it is too late to save the original appearance of these areas.
We do not think that this proposal is appropriate in the present circumstances and in particular the extremely poor design for the main entrance on the principal elevation definitely should not be contemplated.
Consequently the Society has decided that since this proposal does not respect the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be rejected. ( Policy 4.19,i,ii,iii )
Bourne Lodge 70 Christchurch Road Ref. No. 7-2018-7513-AD
This is an application to extend an already existing extension to a late nineteenth century, double fronted, family residence in order to extend the existing capacity of the property from seven flats to 14 flats.
The Society has already dealt in detail with a similar, earlier application for this site and which was not favourably looked upon by the Planning Department. We would simply say that although the further rear extension is designed in an appropriate, late nineteenth century, romantic cottage style with barge board gables and appropriate fenestration; in our opinion, the exceptionally elongated shape of the resulting structure would be an inappropriate visual addition to this historic residential part of the town.
Therefore we feel strongly that because this application does not fully respect the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused. ( Policy 4.19,i,ii,iii )
29 Southbourne Overcliff Drive Ref. No.7-2018-10037-D
This is an application to erect a pair of semi-detached dwelling houses on the site of an existing property between Southwood Avenue and Pinecliff Avenue.
The structure would be built in contemporary modernist style and consist mainly of prominent horizontal, concrete baulks separating the ground, first and second floors. Except for the service areas on the ground floor, the upper floors would be filled by large areas of strip fenestration.
While the Society accepts that along the Boscombe Overcliff Drive, a considerable degree of tolerance for new developments built in modernist style has evolved over the years, such visual presumptions do not hold for the Southbourne Overcliff, where by far the greater proportion of the original early twentieth century townscape still exists. Consequently we feel very strongly that the proposed design would be spatially and visually, totally inappropriate for this site. Indeed we very much hope that the Planning Department will agree with our point of view, because over the last two or three years, similarly ineptly designed structures for Southbourne Overcliff have been refused.
The Society therefore thinks that since this application in no way conforms to the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused. ( Policy 4.19,i,ii,iii )