PLANNING APPLICATIONS RECEIVED BY THE BOURNEMOUTH PLANNING DEPARTMENT DURING AUGUST 2020 – A CRITIQUE BY JOHN SOANE, BUILT ENVIRONMENT CONSULTANT TO THE BOURNEMOUTH CIVIC SOCIETY
866 Ringwood Road (oppositeRingwood Road Retail Park ) Ref. No. 7-2020-2318-F
This is an application to construct two pairs of two storied semi-detached houses on a double site at present occupied by a mid-twentieth century bungalow. The built foot prints of each block would be approximately the same dimensions of the adjacent bungalows and the form and mass of both would be that of an inter war suburban family house with hipped roofs and gables. There would be rectangular windows and two entrances on the ground floor and modernist, projecting square shaped windows above in the vicinity of contrasting, very small square lights, asymmetrically positioned under both gables.
The Societyfeels that the general appearance of the principal elevation which is impaired considerably by the eclectic appearance of the fenestration appears unimaginative and clumsy. Moreover although there are several two storey houses in the area we agree with local comment that the new development is designed at too great a scale in relation to the great majority of bungalows that make up the neighbouring townscape. A feeling was also expressed that the higher density of the proposed houses would undermine the established character of the area which would include inadequate parking provision.
The Society suggests that if redevelopment on this site is to take place it should be on a smaller scale and be designed more in keeping with the mid twentieth century architecture nearby. We strongly believe thatthere must be a considerable improvement of architectural form in comparison with the some what simplistic justification of what is proposed in the present design statement. Therefore since this application does not fully comply with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan the Society suggests that it be deferred for further discussion and improvement .
69-71 BoscombeOvercliff Drive Ref. No. 7-2020-12924-A
This is an application to construct two, three/four storey blocks of seven flats in modernist style on the site of two existing twentieth century structures of no exceptional architectural quality but at the same time more in keeping with the original Art Deco/Arts and Crafts architectural style of the BoscombeOvercliff.
The built footprint of whatis proposed would be at least twice the size of the existing footprint and would consist of two large rectangular concrete boxes with an indented penthouse story above
Each storey on the front elevations would consist of vertical glass panels and French Windows fronted by prominent glass balconies and asymmetrically divided up. The rear elevation would encompass amore regular structure of vertical fenestration while the long side elevations would consist of mainly wall with two narrow lighting strips through the three main storeys.
The Society is of the opinion that the entire design – which looks backwards to the passe modernist era of the 1960’s/1970’s – is very banal, so often repeated and instantly forgettable with no aesthetic originality whatsoever.
However we think it is a sign of the times that apart from certain technical and utilitarian objections, there were no comments by local opinion about the aesthetic and design failings of the new development. It seems to us that there is an increasing acceptance of and perhaps a feeling of fait a compleof the gradual replacement of the more traditional, residential structures of the early Twentieth Century along the BoscombeOvercliffby modern blocks of flats in the international seaside style.
However for the sake of maintaining reasonably competent architectural standards across Bournemouth, we most earnestly request the Planning Department to insist on general design improvements to what is now proposed for this site. We think that the principal front could be made more symmetrical and less angular at the corner extremities. Window shapes could be made more individual and less looking as if they have originated from an assembly line; also the side walls of the penthouse could be slightly canted along the long sides at a steep angle.
Consequently, if this development is to go ahead, the Society feels that since this application falls short of proper compliance with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further discussion and improvement .
20 Ashley Road, Boscombe/behind 77 HavilandRoad Ref. No. 7-2020-12708-B
So far as can be deduced from the enclosed plans, this is an application to convert an existing early twentieth centuryTudor style two storey building recently used as a restaurant with a maisonette above into four flats; three on the ground floor and one on the floor above. There would be no major external alterations, but the internal alterations would result in quite small flats. The new flat incorporating 77 Haviland Road would appear to be situated behind this former shop into a corner of the site which is very closely encroached upon by adjacent buildings. A more spacious flat would be created out of the maisonette on the first floor.
The Society is of the opinion that here is yet another example of an attempt to try and create sub standard residential accommodation at ground floor level in retail buildings that were never designed for such a use. The flats would be restricted in size and there would be no private outdoor space in a noisy commercial environment.
Therefore we would ask the Planning Department to put a permanent stop to this unseemly planning practice in the older residential neighbourhoods of Bournemouth, whereby unscrupulous attempts are made to jam in inferior accommodation on totally unsuitable pieces of landwithin and between existing buildings. Moreover we also think that the practice of turning shops into flats is not an appropriate planning idea and should be stopped. More original alternative uses should be found instead. Consequently because this application in no way conforms to the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, the Society feel it should be refused.
23-31 Richmond Hill Ref. No. 7-2020-10546-Q
This is an application to create72 one and two bedroom flats out of the relatively modern, twentieth century office block known as Richmond House. Up to five, general purpose/office suites would also be created on the ground floor. There would be no external alterations.
In view of the general retreat from office work within developed economies in recent years , now much accelerated by changes in working patterns as a result of the coronavirus emergency , the Society feel that the imaginative conversion of redundant office accommodation is an inevitable trend and given the right circumstances should be pursued in Bournemouth.
However in respect to Richmond House whilst we support the principle of a change of use to residential use, we share the view of local opinion that the proposed large number of relatively small flats would be likely to increase anti social behaviour which is already prevalent at times in the adjacent Yelverton Road. We would therefore suggest that a far better solution would be a reduction in the total number of flats to create more spacious accommodation at a better standard.
Consequently, the Society feel that since this application does not fully comply with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further discussion and improvement.
27-28 Westover Road – Former ABC Cinema Ref. No. 7-2020-1685
This is an extensive outline application for the rehabilitation of the former Westover Cinema in Westover Road in order to create 67 flats, commercial floor space at ground floor level, a restaurant, assembly and leisure areas and 48 car parking spaces. It is the latest application after two earlier failed attempts to redevelop the same site.
The main elements of the proposal are as follows:-
- The main, brick built, Art Deco cinema block fronting Hinton Road would be retained and extended.
- The glass fronted, original Art Deco entrance in Westover Road would be uncovered and restored,
- Three/four new storeys would be added to the Hinton Road side of the original building and a new rear wing would be built towards the centre of the site.
- Two first floor gardens would be created either side of the new wing with an arcaded walk below. A larger courtyard garden would be created between the original corridor entrance of the cinema and the main block.
- The main visual changes to theexisting Hinton Road façade would be the introduction of integrated window strips on the first and second floors. Fenestration on the two new storeys above would be indented and visually integrated with the central section of the new windows below.
- On the northern third of the three new storeys and on the penthouse storey on top of the southern third of the three new storey, fenestration would be more asymmetrically positioned in the form of vertical glass panels.
- The new rear projecting wing (complete with roof gardens ) would also be lit bytriple sets of vertical glass panels.
- The facades of the main garden courtyard would be in the modernist style with lines of concrete pilasters separating sets of triple and quadruple vertical glass panels.
In comparison with the unsuitability of the previous applications, the Society is reasonably pleased with what is shown here. However in order to present a better general townscape perspective along Hinton Road we would suggest that the topmost full storey and the penthouse floor be removed and that the positioning of the modernist fenestration of the new storeys at the north end of the site be made less monotonous. We would also suggest that the rather unimaginative appearance of the garden courtyard facades be made less austere with more interesting window shapes.
Despite our concern about the loss of cinema use and the seeming impossibility of cultural use of this and the neighbouring building the Society would like to think that with the final rehabilitation of the two former interwar cinemas in Westover Road, a general retail revival of what used to be called the Bond Street of Bournemouth will gradually take place. Whilst we accept much of what is now being proposed we believe improvements could and should be made and so we have therefore concluded that since this application does not fully comply with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further discussion and improvement.