PLANNING APPLICATIONS RECEIVED BY THE BOURNEMOUTH PLANNING DEPARTMENT DURING OCTOBER 2018 – A CRITIQUE BY JOHN SOANE, BUILT ENVIRONMENT CONSULTANT TO BOURNEMOUTH CIVIC SOCIETY
71 Boscombe Overcliff Drive, Boscombe Manor Ref. No. 7-20
This is an application to construct a four storey block of four flats on the site of a quite well designed, mid twentieth century bungalow. The principal elevation would be rectangular in shape and on the upper floors would encompass three vertical pairs of triple vertical windows symmetrically positioned. The cills of the upper windows would be enhanced by continuous, narrow projections and the corners of the main facade would be defined by wide vertical concrete elements. The rear elevation would contain much smaller and asymmetrically arranged fenestration and the side elevations would likewise exhibit a small number of asymmetrically positioned horizontal windows – including several arranged in the form of vertical lighting strips.
In view of the fact that sites immediately adjacent to this section of the Boscombe Overcliff have already been redeveloped in modern form the Society is generally quite happy with the principal elevation which combines elements of inter war neo-classicism with the International Moderne of the era. We feel that the proposed design is more restrained than other recent developments along the Boscombe Overcliff. However we would suggest that the poorly designed and co-ordinated architectural elements of the rear and side elevations be more symmetrically improved and related to the appearance of the principal facade. Also, we agree with local residents that the building is at present too closely sited towards the boundary with no. 73 and that the new building line should be brought further back.
Consequently, the Society feels that since this application does not fully comply with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further consideration and improvement. (Policy 4.19,i,ii,iii )
2A and 2B Bradburne Road, Westbourne Ref. No. 7-2018-7454-6
This is an application to demolish a spacious interwar family residence in order to build a five to six storey building containing six flats. The new structure would occupy a built footprint quite a bit larger than that of the existing building. It would consist of a complex modern structure – rounded at the side elevations and largely made up of various differently projecting architectural elements. The third floor would be weather boarded, while the fifth and sixth floors would have a more complex series of lesser projections. Fenestration would be in the form of varying rectangular and vertical fenestration – including distinctly framed, large window groups on the fifth floor and glass panels on the penthouse storey above.
The Society fully appreciate that by absolute architectural standards, what is offered is a competent and an interesting design. However we also feel that in this case the precise urban context makes the appearance of this building unsuitable for this site. On an earlier occasion when a similar modernist design for the same location was turned down, the style of the building was justified by reason of the near vicinity of the large modern. multi-story car park on the corner of Avenue Road. The Society however feels that the site of the proposed new development is aesthetically and spatially much more closely connected to the more integrated late nineteenth century residential townscape centred on Suffolk Road, Crescent Road and Bradburne Road, than the modernist buildings in the vicinity of Avenue Road – or indeed in Bourne Avenue across the Central Pleasure Gardens.
We have therefore concluded that since this planning application does not fulfil the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused (Policy 4.19,i,ii,iii)
Richmond Gardens – Multi Storey Student Accommodation Ref. No 7-2018-179-BE
This is a very extensive development – consisting of three very large blocks of student accommodation: one seven stories high and two further buildings, one ten stories high and the other, up to between sixteen to eighteen stories . The three structures would be built one beside another along the edge of Richmond Gardens to the north of the site. By far the greater proportion of the facades would be filled by regularly positioned, vertical fenestration – but in addition, the two high rises would have higher projecting tower segments where the fenestration would be in the form of glass facades and narrow bands of single, double or triple windows
The Society fully accepts that to a considerable degree, in this design, the absolute rational balance between wall and window is of a reasonable quality. However we feel strongly that what makes the proposed design completely unsuitable for this site, is the huge mass and unrelentingly monotonous right angled shape, especially of the two higher buildings when viewed from nearby and also when seen from afar as a feature on the skyline (such as from Old Christchurch Road). The Society observes that the area already suffers from the excessive size of two insensitively designed office buildings nearby in Dean Park Road which were constructed in the 1960’s. Therefore we think that the new proposals would only make a negative visual perspective worse. Indeed when similar proposals was aired at a Planning Board meeting earlier this year, the presenters were told in no uncertain terms that what was envisaged was far too large and ungainly for the top of Richmond Hill. They were advised to produce something better, but to date, despite design changes, this does not seem to have happened to a sufficient degree.
Indeed we note that such fears continue to be echoed by 16 letters of comment sent in by local residents. It is generally felt that what is envisaged would be larger and more intrusive than previous unsuccessful proposals and would seriously degrade the character of the existing neighbourhood. There are also fears there would be a loss of privacy and light – together with a general degrading of social behaviour made worse by inadequate parking facilities. We suggest that if this important area is to be residentially developed, a combination of conventional flats and student accommodation should be considered and that the two higher blocks should be replaced by lower structures, architecturally more integrated with the proposed seven storey block.
Under the circumstances the Society feels that because this application fails to fulfil the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused. (Policy 4.19,i,ii,iii )
Herbert Hospital, Alumhurst Road Ref. No. 7-2018-7797-AO
This is an application to extend Pebble Lodge, one of the constituent buildings of the Herbert Psychiatric Hospital built in the late Nineteenth Century. The new building would be of two stories and by means of symmetrically positioned, vertical, casement windows and a hipped roof, would seek to match the appearance of the building to which it is connected. We feel that in view of the high architectural quality of most of the hospital buildings, what is proposed is perhaps quite satisfactory in building terms.
The Society fully accepts the urgent medical necessity for the expansion of medical facilities and extra bedrooms for patients and that in order to avoid building on the adjacent secure garden for patients and to preserve existing tree cover, the site proposed for the new works is perhaps the only possible solution. However we are aware that other locations, outside of Westbourne and Bournemouth have been mooted and suggest these be more fully investigated less expansion here does indeed bring about tree loss and an intensification of use that would be harmful to the heritage asset and the residential amenities of the neighbours.
Therefore the Society has concluded that since this application does not entirely fulfils the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further consideration. (Policy 4.19, i,ii,iii )