PLANNING APPLICATIONS RECEIVED BY THE BOURNEMOUTH PLANNING DEPARTMENT DURING APRIL 2017 – A CRITIQUE BY JOHN SOANE, BUILT ENVIRONMENT CONSULTANT, BOURNEMOUTH CIVIC SOCIETY
32 Lowther Road Ref. No. 7-2017-26612
This is an application to demolish quite a fine, Edwardian family house built in the Arts and Crafts style and to replace it with a two storey building of four dwellings – also in a modernised Arts and Crafts style. It is very similar to an earlier application at 79, Lowther Road
The new structure will be in the form of a long rectangular block with a prominent roof and dormers. The narrow street facade would embrace two, two storey bay windows which would end in two, half-timbered gables. The side elevations which would be considerably longer that those of adjacent structures would be provided with vertical, symmetrical fenestration.
Irrespective of the relative similarity in style of the front elevation with neighbouring properties and the fact that the exceptional length of the side elevation would be generally obscured from the street scene; 16 .letters of objection have been received from local residents about this application.
There are considerable fears that the massive size of the new building would lead to a reduction of privacy and that the increase in the number of flat dwellers living in quite small flats on a site originally designated for a lower occupation density would have a deleterious effect on the existing, friendly, family atmosphere of the immediate area. Complaints were made that insufficient parking places would further reduce the attractiveness of this neighbourhood which could be even more seriously eroded if yet more houses, instead of being converted into a smaller number of more spacious flats, were demolished for pastiche, Modern blocks.
The Civic Society fully endorse the fears, enumerated above, and we would add that although in visual terms, the design of such “traditional” blocks of flats, superficially, tend to reduce the negative impact of such structures on the existing townscape – in reality the introduction of high density nodules in the long run will have a debilitating impact on the general social structure of the neighbourhood and eventually the original properly planned balance between built upon and open space on each site will be degraded. We earnestly hope that in the new local plan, a new policy initiative will be included to prevent the further erosion of the original appearance of the historic residential areas of Bournemouth.
The Civic Society suggest that the existing house be retained and converted into two or three flats.
We have therefore concluded that since this application has not complied with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused. ( 4.19, i. ii and iii )
Part of Talbot Heath Playing Fields, Rothesay Road Ref. No. 7-2017-85
This is an application to construct four modern, detached houses on relatively spacious sites on the existing tennis courts with the boundaries of Talbot Heath Playing Fields in the near vicinity of the rail way bridge linking East Avenue with Rothesay Road.
The houses would be quite low rise with conventional, modern features including pitched roofs. There have been eight letters from local residents mainly concerning the relative smaller side of the properties, the threat to the existing fauna and flora of the nearby heathland and the fear that this development might tempt Talbot Heath to sell off further parts of their playing fields for profit with the subsequent loss of valuable open space.
Given the particular circumstances of the application in that the retention of the spacious playing fields is a most valuable asset for the school to advertise, we are of the opinion that the development of a small area of this site is unlikely to damage seriously the existing attributes of the area. We would however suggest that three houses instead of four should be built. Such a move would be, we think, more sympathetic to the surrounding Talbot Woods conservation area. Consequently, the Civic Society feels that since this application does not fully comply with the conservation policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further consideration.
( 4.4, i, ii, and iii )
28 Tregonwell Road Ref. No. 1367-I
This is an application to convert and extend an existing, late nineteenth, two storey property by the construction of a wing that would extend the length of the building by about one third. The site lies in the general vicinity of new blocks of flats that extend down Upper Terrace Road.
The somewhat altered, front elevation, which includes a two story bay window would not be touched. But the asymmetrical side elevations would be somewhat better integrated with new, vertical fenestration and the existing, cottage orne window on one of the side elevations would be replicated at the opposite end of the same elevation.
Although the Society note that the proposed extension is quite a well integrated piece of design, we are also aware that the structure that would be extended stands on backland and is already extremely close to another structure which faces on to Tregonwell Road.
We therefore feel that if the extension as planned, is constructed, the resulting combined mass of the buildings on both the backland and street frontage sites would be too excessive in relation to the size of the Victorian properties along Tregonwell Road.
The Society therefore has concluded that since this application does not fully comply with the conservation policies of the West Cliff Conservation area, it should be deferred for further discussion. (4.4, i, ii, and iii)
18 Browning Avenue Ref. No. 7-2017-23365-A
This is an application to demolish a spacious and well designed mansion house, designed in the Arts and Crafts style which was built when this area of Boscombe was laid out in the early Twentieth Century. The new property which would take the form of a large rectangular block containing eight flats, would take up nearly 50% of the site and would be in the form of two parallel sections with another at right angles to the latter. The long, principal front elevation is quite a competent design and below a prominent, hipped roof, includes two, two storey bays, integrated, vertical fenestration and a main entrance in the modernist style.
Although the design on its own terms is reasonably competent, the application has engendered 18 letters from local residents. There is considerable opposition to the loss of the fine original house which certainly is considered worthy of preservation. Many respondents consider that the planned replacement is both too large and the wrong shape in respect to the more square shaped appearance of many adjoining houses. They also fear the coming of much smaller, inappropriate flats and a spread of similar developments in the neighbourhood.
The Civic Society strongly echo these fears which could also lead eventually to a line of pastiche flat blocks with little or no landscaping between each property but too many car parking places instead.
We would repeat strongly the hope we expressed when dealing the application for 32 Lowther Road that the new Bournemouth Local Plan MUST make special provision for the preservation of the distinctive visual characteristics of historical residential neighbourhoods in the resort against the ambitions of irresponsible developers.
Accordingly, because this application does not conform to the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, the Society feels it should be refused. ( 4.19, i, ii, and iii )
24-26 Studland Road Ref. No. 7-2017-7545-D
This is an application to build one, two storey block of four terraced family dwellings and one pair of semi-detached houses – also of two storeys on the site of two small houses of no architectural value.
The larger block would have a well proportioned, rear elevation, to Alum Chine, a hipped roof and four large rectangular windows on each floor. The principal elevation to the street would have similar windows on the first floor with the ground floor taken up by four garage entrances encased by prominent concrete frames The semi-detached block would encompass a part traditional/part modern shape with rectangular and narrow fenestration on the first floor and modernist style doors.
In view of the recent, considerable, development of flat blocks along this side of Studland Road, the Society accepts that a certain modernist ambience is appropriate in this application. However we feel that the treatment of the ground floor of the larger block is clumsy and poorly integrated with the rest of the facade. Even if garages are necessary here, we feel they could be incorporated with more visual grace. We also think that the flat entrances to the semi-detached block could be considerably improved.
The Society has therefore resolved that since this application does not fully comply with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Plan, it should be deferred for further discussion. (4.19, i. ii, and iii )
18-22a Studland Road Ref. No. 7-2017-2129-AK
This is an application to build an extensive, four storey block of 45 flats to be constructed; partly on a vacant site and partly on the site of an existing, nineteenth century mansion block. The new structure would be adjacent to the proposed new flats at 24-26 Studland Road.
The new block would be rectangular in shape, it would have an ephemeral traditional outline with a shallow pitched roof and exhibit considerable modernist design features on the principal and rear facades. The main street elevation would encompass two projecting gables and a three storey side wing. The main facades consist mainly of glass French window panels and very prominent glass balconies – interspersed with vertical strips of wall with vertical windows. The rear facade to Alum Chine consists of an asymmetrical mixture of glass sections, irregularly placed wall/window sections and very elaborate dormer window arrangements
While accepting the need for a relatively substantial block of flats on this site to compliment the existing blocks further along Studland Road, the Society strongly feels that the general mass of the proposed structure is simply too large for this area and the number of flat double what might be appropriate, we think a rectangular form of three stories would be more appropriate. We also think that a better balance of wall to vertical windows in place of the excessive use of glass on the principal elevation – including more traditional wrought iron style balconies – is also called for. In addition, the Society is of the opinion that the entire rear elevation should be substantially redesigned in a more integrated, balanced manner – rather similar to what has initially been proposed for the front facade.
Therefore we have decided that because this application does not fully satisfy the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further discussion. ( 4.19, i, ii, and iii )
The Society wishes to add that because 24-26 Studland Road and 18-22a Studland Road are adjacent sites and are quite likely to be developed at the same time, we think it is essential that this new section of the townscape of Studland Road should be visually integrated both with each other and the neighbouring properties. Thus in particular we feel that the flat block at 24-26 Studland Road should in no way appear an excessive spatial blot on the predominantly low rise character of this part of Studland Road.
107 Belle Vue Road Ref. No. 7-2017-2605-I
This is an application to build a three storey block of seven flats on a double near the cross roads between Belle Vue Road and the Southbourne Coast Road.
The proposed structure would be in the form of a square/rectangular tower of modernist design and consisting basically of a concrete box with glass panels and French windows on the principal elevation. The rear elevations would contain more solid wall and vertical windows.
The Society feel that this is a conventional and very unimaginative design that would look completely out of place in the near vicinity of the nearby, well designed Edwardian shops nearer the Belle Vue crossroads.
Therefore we have concluded that because this application in no way complies with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused. (4.19, i, ii, and iii )
140 Alumhurst Road, Ref. No. 7-2017-3554-AD
We commented on several previous applications for this site and were content with the scheme eventually granted consent under this application number. The fact that the developer has created a built form on site at complete variance with that approved is a matter of real concern. We support local residents views that the unauthorised development must be stopped and reversed and that only that which has been approved should be allowed to remain on site.
1 Lorne Park Road Ref. No. 7-2016-2035-H
This is an application to build a four story block of 20 flats in the style of a late nineteenth century mansion lock of apartments.
The proposal would be in the form of a massive rectangular block and the principal elevation to the south would be faced by three distinctive projections that would support three prominent gables that in turn would be incorporated into an elaborate, pitched and spikey roof. Vertical windows- including gable window, fenestration and formers, would be regularly positioned across the façade.
According to the Design Statement, the original intention for the site was to add an additional story to the existing building to create a smaller block of flats. However modern residential redevelopment at 4, 6, and 8 Lorne Lark Road had encouraged the developers to put in for a larger structure extending the existing build footprint to the side of the site. It was felt that the new block would retain a sufficient amount of the character of the original building to fir comfortably into the existing street scene.
The Society does not agree with this deduction. We fell that although the proposed development would be constructed in the historicist style of the late Nineteenth Century; the scale of the structure and stylistic characteristics create a resemblance nearer to the contemporary mansion blocks of Hammersmith of Fulham than to the more domestic scale of residential development that are going up in Bournemouth.
We therefore suggest that the existing building on the site, along with the other adjacent properties of the same date, should be preserved as a complete piece of nineteenth century architecture for the benefit of the town.
Consequently the Society has decided that since this application does not fulfil the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should not be allowed. (4.19.i, ii and iii)