PLANNING APPLICATIONS RECEIVED BY BOURNEMOUTH PLANNING DEPARTMENT DURING APRIL 2021 – A CRITIQUE BY JOHN SOANE, BUILT ENVIRONMENT CONSULTANT TO BOURNEMOUTH CIVIC SOCIETY
The Lodge, 87a Southbourne Road, Southbourne Ref. No. 7-2021-9451-J
This is an application to construct a small bungalow at the rear end of a narrow plot – already developed with another small bungalow during the mid Twentieth Century. The built foot print of the new residence would be built in an unusual S shaped form but this feature would be balanced by a traditional brick structure and distinctive hipped roof with dormers. The front and rear fenestration would encompass modern sash and French windows and one wing would house a double garage.
Irrespective of the originality of the design, the Society agrees with local opinion that this development is simply too massive for such a restricted site and also greatly compromises the privacy and sunlight of adjacent properties. And so again, we ask the Planning Department to be extra vigilant against developers who, merely for financial gain, wish to construct dwellings in locations within developed historic neighbourhoods which were never designed to take additional buildings.
Therefore since the Society feels that since this application does not meet the conditions of the townscape policy of the Bournemouth Local Plan have not been met, we think it should be refused.
3,3a,3b,3c Stourwood Road, Southbourne Ref. No. 7-2021-25139-B
In place of an existing block of four flats, this application is for the construction of a three storey block of nine flats in modernised Arts and Crafts style.
The built foot print in the form of a varied rectangle would be approximately between one quarter and one third larger than those of adjacent structures. It would be built of brick with a very distinctive, complex hipped roof. The main street elevation would have two stepped, slight projections and fenestration would be in the form of symmetrically positioned, triple casement windows in traditional design. There would be a row of six small windows just below the roof line of the corner projection.
Irrespective of the somewhat larger mass of the proposed building, the Society feels that at a slightly reduced scale, the proposal would be compatible with the surrounding townscape.
Consequently because we think that this application almost fulfils the townscape condition of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further improvement.
25 Mckinley Road, West Overclif Ref. No. 7-2021-9473-Z
This is an application to construct a small garden residence or coach house in the grounds of a large flat property – originally a large Edwardian family residence, but recently extended in tradition style to contain more accommodation. The site lies in the West Overcliff Drive Conservation Area. The proposed new structure would be built within the unbuilt on portion of the spacious plot which contains the main house. It would be a very traditional design, close boarded with a pitched roof and very distinctive dormers. The north and south elevations would have two pairs each of triple vertical windows in traditional form and Venetian windows in the gables above.
Irrespective of the aesthetic suitability of the intended garden structure, the Society can appreciate the displeasure voiced by the local residents – that allowing the new construction would seriously impede the enjoyment of the adjoining gardens which had been set aside for communal use. However having looked very closely at the proposed plans we think that the particular spacious dimensions of the plot would allow the construction of this small building. But in order not to disturb the peace of the gardens, we think that the position of the new addition should be moved to the far south east corner of the site nearer Mc Kinley Road.
Consequently the Society has concluded that since this application has not fully complied with the conservation policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for improvement .
Purbeck Court, 65-67 Boscombe Overcliff Drive, Southbourne Ref. No. 7-2021-3914-A
This is an application to construct an additional two floors on top of an existing 1960’s/70’s block of flats to create eight extra residential units. The two extra floors would mimic the existing symmetrical modern fenestration and Juliet balconies as well as replicating the existing shallow hipped roof.
The Society observes, as in all the other recent applications around the town to increase the number of floors in an existing building, that this process, as here on the Boscombe Overcliff, such a change would totally change and de-stabilise the original aesthetic/proportional balance of the building as well as considerably disrupting the wider linear vista of the adjacent townscape. We are considerably in sympathy with the strongly held view of local opinion that what is proposed is far too massive in relation to existing structures and that the average existing height of the latter should be respected.
And the Society certainly feels that while much higher sea facing structures may be appropriate on the Bournemouth East Cliff; on the Boscombe Overcliff, a maximum of only up to four and a half stories is appropriate. Beyond that limit, the acceptable population density for such new construction would be exceeded.
In conclusion the Society most earnestly requests the Planning Department to take a most resolute stand against all future attempts by insensitive developers to construct additional floors on existing buildings and in this case refuse the application.
17 Boscombe Overcliff Drive, Boscombe Manor Ref. No. 7-2021-1885-F
This in an application to construct, most unusually, a new single family dwelling on the site of an existing family residence dating back to the inter war period. So far as the Society can ascertain, the new built foot print would be one quarter to one third larger than the existing one. In style, the latter was considerably influenced by the early twentieth century Arts and Crafts movement. There are corner projections at each corner – one ending in a half timbered gable, the other in a canted corner belvedere, complete with small roof.
The new design appears to be generally traditional in style with balancing, gabled projections on the sea facing elevation and a prominent pitched roof with gable above. Unfortunately because the design of the fenestration is not yet clear, the Society is unable to make a final judgement regarding the appropriateness of the proposed new addition to the Overcliff townscape. Certainly the prospective shape might be appropriate but we think its suitability might be improved if the general dimensions and mass of the new residence were reduced somewhat in scale.
The Society has therefore concluded that because this application fails to fully satisfy the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further consideration.
Athena House, 612-616 Wimborne Road Ref. No. 7-2021-1149-S
This is an application to add two storeys to an existing two storey modernist building in order to create four extra flats. The building to be heightened is the most substantial part of a hotch potch of diverse two/three storey retail structures and the two additional floors would mimic the sets of triple modern windows symmetrically positioned in the original structure.
The Society is totally against this alteration: not only would it increase the size of what is now an exceptionally banal and shapeless structure; it would also completely ruin any remaining aesthetic balance of the existing range of buildings between nos 602 and 616 Wimborne Road. Finally the new façade would do virtually nothing to enhance the wider urban perspective along this part of Wimborne Road.
Yet again we most strongly urge the Planning Department , in order to ensure that the horizontal vistas of the existing principal commercial townscapes of the town are not inexorably ruined as time goes on, to prevent utterly the addition of extra floors to existing buildings. It simply does not work.
Consequently, since this application falls short of complying with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, the Society suggests it be refused.
661-663 Christchurch Road (on corner of Heathcote Road ), Boscombe Ref. No. 7-2021-4970-Q
This is an application to add two extra storeys on top of an existing early twentieth century, three storey, terraced commercial property designed in the Georgian revival style. The new extensions would to a relative degree mimic the existing fenestration. Thus plain facades would be punctuated by regularly positioned, modern sash windows below a flat roof.
The Society has seldom seen a more grotesque example of irresponsible design as what is now presented. We feel that not only would the existing quite well designed architectural shape of this structure become completely unbalanced but by having this new extension so crudely plonked down upon it, the original building would become just a shapeless mass – a mere monument to monetary gain that would in no way enhance the commercial heart of Boscombe.
The Society therefore thinks that this application crosses a red line in respect to the appropriate proportionality of continuously built up townscapes within the principal commercial throughfares in Bournemouth. In such areas in all the years that the Civic Society has been dealing with the urban structure of our town, there has always been an unwritten rule that any new developments here whether in modernist or traditionalist style, would never exceed the three/four storey average height of buildings in the vicinity. If this were to be allowed, the organic traditions of accepted architectural design would be greatly weakened and our work in monitoring the urban evolution of Bournemouth would be made far more difficult.
Therefore the Society sincerely appeals to the Planning Department, not only to refuse this awful proposal, but to ensure that future attempts to by developers to add extra storeys to existing buildings when they are so inappropriate, are blocked.
Under the circumstances, we feel that since this application in no way fulfils the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused.
158-164 Hankinson Road (junction with Charminster Road ) Ref. No. 7-2021-7124-D
This is an application to demolish an existing early twentieth century terrace of four shops built in the Georgian revivalist style. Each shop on the upper floor is separated from each other by quoins and the modernised sash windows on the first floor are symmetrically positioned. The replacement would be in the form of a three storey block of flats in modernised Georgian style. There would be a bay window on the long elevation and a mansard roof above with dormers.
The Society do not think what is offered is an especially inspiring design and apart from the usual complaint about inadequate space for parking at a dangerous road junction, we agree with local residents who feel that the considerable bulk of what is proposed in an area of predominantly two storied buildings, would be over bearing and disruptive to the life style of the area. In effect we feel there would be insufficient space in the small flats that were planned to allow a viable residential life style to be established.
Under these circumstances, the Society has decided that since this application does not in any way comply with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused.
10 Suffolk Road , Ref. No. 7-2021-6638-K
This is an application to construct a three to six storey block containing 38 small flats to replace the existing Bournemouth Churches Housing Association hostel at present on the site and built during the mid twentieth century.
The new structure would consist of a series of about four interconnecting rectangular shapes and the principal facades would be structured around the principal stanchions which would enclose the large glass window facades of individual flats. In addition on the Cambridge Road elevation, the flat block would exhibit a series of rectangular orientated, ornamental concrete strips that would overlie the basic structure of the building. The Society feels that in relation to the general proportions and visual divisions of what is proposed, this modernist design might appear relatively innocuous ; however it can still be seen to be at considerable visual variance with the more traditionally set out properties in the immediate vicinity.
We do not say that the particular urban context of this application makes a modern design totally unacceptable. However we would suggest that a more symmetrical design with less overtly positioned windows that do not dominate the principal facades with their excessive size, would be a better alternative. Quite frankly, the Society thinks that if a really original modern design can be found to redevelop the old corporation yard in Cambridge Road just below this site; there is no reason why under different contextual circumstances, a much more plausible design for 10 Suffolk Road cannot be found.
We have therefore concluded that since this application does not fully relate to the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further discussion.
96 Lowther Road Ref. No. 7-2021-23976-C
This is an application to build a two and a half storey block of 9 flats on the site of a family residence that was built in the Arts and Crafts style within a residential neighbourhood on the northern Dean Park estate between c 1890 and 1910.
The new foot print would be twice the size of that of adjacent properties and the design of the new structure would be influenced by more traditional late nineteenth century historicist forms than the Arts and Crafts, including a distinctive, large hipped roof. The principal elevation would include slight projections; the more prominent corner one including a two storey bay window and barge boarded gable above. The rear elevation would have similar features to the front and all fenestration would be in the form of double vertical windows with upper divisions.
Although viewed from the road, the appearance of the new block might appear to be stylistically and proportionally just about visually compatible with the surrounding townscape, the Society is in considerable agreement with local opinion in that the much greater mass and form of the new structure that would take up nearly half the site, would create a density of occupation that would be incompatible with the limited dimensions of the house locations in the area. In addition we note that there is a fear that if this proposal went ahead, there would be a further impetus by developers to destroy the family characteristics of the neighbourhood in favour of small flats and declining social behaviour.
The Society is fully cognisant that in order to gain permission for over large residential projects, developers quite often resort to disguising the size of their intentions by means of historicist designs. Therefore we ask the Planning Department always to be on the look out for these clever tricks.
Under the circumstances , irrespective of the relative compatibility of aspects of the design , we feel that since the application falls short of` the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further discussion.
This is an application to demolish the existing three storey, late nineteenth century mansion block in order to construct a four/five storey block of 17 small flats in modernist style. Because of the very prominent position of this distinctive triangular site, previous applications for the development of this site have been much exercised by the difficulty of presenting an appropriate replacement. Some designs have sought to create on a larger scale, and with an extra floor, the nineteenth century design and style of the existing building. Others, including the present one, wish to create a flat block in contemporary modernist form.
The built foot print of this application would be considerably longer and wider than that of the present building and be in the shape of an asymmetrically shaped rectangle. With the exception of the short eastern elevation, the main structural element would be alternating lines of varying wide window spaces on each floor between continuous strips of wall of different thickness. The top most storey would be recessed and form a flat roofed penthouse.
The Society fully accepts that recent newly built structures in Lorne Park Road has made it more acceptable that any replacement of 1 Lorne Park Road is more than likely to exhibit modern architectural features. However since the area of Lorne Park Road and Cumnor Road contain Victorian and contemporary buildings in close proximity to each other, we think a modern design that is both original and restrained is the best solution.
Unfortunately we feel that what is offered, apart from being too wide and too long, demonstrates a mechanistic, box like attribute that is all too prevalent in contemporary modernist design. To us the long Lorne Park frontage is at best rather banal but much worse is the short west façade which serves as the unofficial spatial entrance to the Lorne Park neighbourhood. The Society is of the opinion that while the existing building can appear as a distinctive focal point, the proposed modern equivalent appears as a kind of afterthought: a sort of melange of differently sized series of windows including four dreadful, horizontal lighting strips that contrast horribly with the vertical fenestration either side. We do urge the Planning Department most strongly to approve a replacement that at the very least has some shape in its facades which can be better related to the surrounding townscape.
Consequently, we have decided that since this application does not comply with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused.