PLANNING APPLICATIONS RECEIVED BY BOURNEMOUTH PLANNING DEPARTMENT DURING SEPTEMBER 2018
A CRITIQUE BY JOHN SOANE, BUILT ENVIRONMENT CONSULTANT TO BOURNEMOUTH CIVIC SOCIETY
114 – 120 Charminster Road Ref. No. 7-2018-8050-D
This is an application to extend a late nineteenth century building into the rear yard so as to create on the ground, first and second (roof ) floors, six flats in place of the existing two flats on the first floor. The front commercial premises on the ground would remain as restaurants.
The two and a half storey extension would continue the built proportions of the existing building ending in a new east elevation with a loggia at ground floor level. Except for the east elevation which would be provided with French windows and conventional casement windows, fenestration on the north side elevation and within the hipped roofs of both side elevations would be in the form of very modern rectangular windows, enclosed in distinctive vertical frames.
Although the Society thinks the design of the new extension is passable – for indeed the sites of neighbouring properties are built over in the same proportion as what is proposed for 114-120 Charminster Road; we think that the sizes of most of the proposed flats are far too small to ensure a reasonably civilized life style to be had. An examination of the plans, especially on the first floor reveals inadequate space for cooking facilities and generally very small sized bedrooms. The Society feel that proper flats built according to national standards will not be offered but only accommodation units more fit for students in short term lets rather than permanent use
Indeed we also note that with one exception, the twelve letters received by local residents about this application point out that if granted, the application would only increase the existing excessively high population density of the area along with an increase of noise (especially at night ) and the reduction of privacy to neighbouring residential streets. Generally it was felt that the proposals were totally unnecessary and would not harmonize with the existing townscape. The Society therefore urgesthe Planning Department to evolve a more decisive policy to prevent the further visual degradation of historic residential properties on small sites where the original ratio between built and un built on space is seriously threatened.
There, under the circumstances we feel that since this application does not satisfy the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused. (Policy 4.19, i.ii.iii)
12 Foxholes Road, Southbourne Ref. No.7-2018- 2325-B
This is an application to build six flats and a separate dwelling house in one structure – to be constructed on a vacant site near the junction of Foxholes Road and Douglas Road at Southbourne near Saint Peters School.
The general shape and proportions of the proposed building would be in the shape of an early twentieth century Arts and Crafts family house with two projections on the principal elevation that would merge into the prominent hipped roof. Across the front and simpler, rear elevations, would be a modernist fenestration scheme in the form of triple glass panels incorporating French windows and gable windows – with glass balconies on the first floor.
Although the general appearance of the proposed development is, in proportional terms, relatively compatible with a fair number of the larger, more recently built, flat blocks in the adjacent area, the Society feels that the main debility of the design is similar to a particular weakness that we have noted in previous applications. For at 12 Foxholes, we note yet another unsuccessful attempt to combine a traditional architectural shape with modernist designs for the front and rear facades. The good proportions of the building are compromised by the crass prospect of the inappropriate appearance of the fenestration. Indeed the Society observes that the inability of the proposed new structure to achieve a viable aesthetic and social balance within the existing community has been made clear by 34 letters about this matter by local residents. There is a general complaint that what would be built would be too massive and yet contain rather cramped flats – of which the area already has a superfluity – to the detriment of smaller family houses for which there is a greater need. There was also the fear that privacy and daylight would be compromised and that increased pressure for parking would increase the risk of accidents.
Under the circumstances the Society believes that a new building on the vacant site should be built, but with more compatible facade designs and slightly reduced mass dimensions.
Accordingly because this application does not fully comply with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further consideration, (4.19,i,ii,iii).
5 Burtley Road, Southbourne Ref. No 7-2018-27176
This is an application by a care organisation, the Specialised Supporting Housing Association, to construct a two and a half storey block of flats in a synthesized modern-part traditional form in place of quite a well designed, Art Deco family house from the 1920’s. The latter which is now two flats, has a principal elevation encompassing two, two storey bay windows ; above which is an elegant pitched roof containing a pedimented dormer – which is flanked by tall, prominent chimneys.
The proposed new building would be generally square shaped with a pitched roof. It would contain large rectangular windows and also extremely large rectangular windows with distinctive frames on two elevations. In addition on one elevation, the ground floor would be weather boarded.
While the Society has every respect for the good work achieved by this charity, we must state our strong belief that not only is the site inappropriate for its intended use; but also that the extremely poorly integrated and unbalanced design of the intended structure, a very poor and inadequate substitute for the original Art Deco Building. Moreover the appearance of modern blocks of flats recently built in the vicinity of 5 Burtley Road; without exception present properly balanced principal facades that are compatible to the existing townscape. If built the proposed design would totally ruin the visual perspective of this part of Burtley Road.
The Society therefore suggests that under the circumstances it would be advisable to preserve the original Art Deco house from further adverse redevelopment
Consequently, we suggest that because this application does not satisfy the townscape policies of the Bournemouth local plan, it should be refused. (Policy 4.19, i,ii,iii )
68 Seaward Avenue – parallel to Fishermans Walk , Southbourne Ref. No.21314-B
This is an application to construct a very large window – consisting of five vertical glass panels incorporating a French window, together with another large glass window in the roof – on the principal elevation of a suburban family house constructed near the Southbourne Overcliff during the interwar period.
Although the property exhibits no exceptional architectural characteristics, the Society notes that there exists a general architectural convention in the area : that private residential properties built in roads at right angles to buildings on the Overcliff, do not have balconies. These are provided mainly for the use of visitors at holiday flats and hotels along the Overcliff . We feel strongly that this planning convention should be upheld . Therefore we think that because this planning application does not comply with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused. (Policy 4.19, i,ii,iii )
1 Lorne Park Road Ref. No. 7-2018 -2035-J
This is an outline application to construct a four storey block of student accommodation on the site of a distinctive late nineteenth century structure built at the apex of Lorne Park Road and Cumnor Road in central Bournemouth.
The appearance of the proposed new building would be in the form of a modernist, rectangular, all purpose concrete box . With the exception of the narrow side elevation to the east which would be mainly wall, the remaining elevations would exhibit combinations of tripartite and double vertical windows partially or fully enclosed by concrete frames which would be arranged symmetrically according to size on each floor up to the penthouse below the flat roof.
The Society’s perception of this structure is very similar to the conclusions given that dismissed the appeal against an earlier refusal in 2015 for a modern block quite similar to the present application on the same site. We feel that 1 Lorne Park Road makes a positive contribution to the surrounding townscape and that the excessive mass and form of what is proposed would create a overtly dominating impact on the relatively restricted, spatial structure of the area. Moreover quite apart from appearing far too large, the proposed building does not demonstrate any exception design characteristics – indeed like to many all purpose modernist blocks – once seen instantly forgotten. Moreover although new blocks of flats have appeared recently in Lorne Park Road, the near vicinity of a considerable number of nineteenth century buildings has been a moderating design influence on contemporary developments there.
As a compromise solution to this conundrum, we suggest the revival of an earlier scheme in which a further storey would be added to the original building at 1 Lorne Park Road and a sensitive extension, no wider than the existing structure added to the rear.
Therefore the Society has decided that since the application in no way conforms to the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused. (Policy 4.19,i,ii,iii )
Herbert Hospital 49 Alumhurst Road Westbourne Ref. No. 7-2018-7797-AN
This is an application for the construction of new facilities for the Herbert Mental Hospital in Alumhurst Road. The new facilities, which would be used mainly to treat children and young people, would consist of eight patients’ bedrooms together with full service and medical facilities including treatment rooms, secure exercise and quiet areas and meeting places. So as to preserve the visual context of the other listed buildings on the site the level of the built footprint would be lowered and the new buildings would be limited to between one and two stories. Certain sections of the principal facades would be covered by traditional hipped roofs. In addition the general design would be a mixture of very restrained architectural forms which would be complimented by large well integrated vertical windows; in addition a considerable amount of new landscaping would be created on the south side of the site.
The Society notes that the hospital justified the site of the new extensions (between Bridge House and the chapel of Nightingale House) by suggesting that this site was the only relatively level space in the hospital grounds that was large enough to take the extension. Apparently, an initial suggestion to site the new extension in a more spacious area of the hospital grounds between Finigan Ward and the Alum Chine boundary was not considered viable because of the protected woodland on this spot. Most pertinent of all, the hospital pointed out that in view of the great difficulty of obtaining spacious building sites for a reasonable price, anywhere in Bournemouth; it was considered more practical to create the new facility beside the existing hospital than to try and build a completely new hospital somewhere else.
However the assurance that security around the new building would be of a very high standard was not enough to prevent 74 letters being written by local residents about the project. Apart from fears over security, there was considerable alarm about the possible noise and unusual behaviour that might be exhibited by some of the patients. There were also complaints about inadequate parking facilities and the likely destruction of mature trees and the natural environment in general as a result of building work . In sum there was a general unease that the relatively balanced relationship between the Herbert Hospital and the adjacent community as it had evolved over decades, would now begin to unwind.
The Society fully appreciates the considerable difficulties that must be faced in solving this problem. On the one hand there is the wellbeing of generally comfortably settled , quite elderly people who do not like change and on the other side there is the absolute necessity of providing specialist care to, the increasing large number of young persons who now suffer from medical problems.
We would suggest either that a more comprehensive liaison be established between the hospital and the local population to enable a better understanding of the needs and fears of both sides to come about. Or as an alternative, the new buildings might appear less prominent and therefore less sinister, if the service wing were moved south to between Cedar Court and Nightingale House together with the ward wing which would be attached to the north side of the service wing.
Therefore at this stage, we feel that it is more important to establish a positive connection between the Herbert Hospital and the local inhabitants than to decide upon the relatively unserious, architectural aspects of the new extension
It is therefore our decision that since this application does not fully comply with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further consideration. (Policy 4.19,i,ii,iii )