PLANNING APPLICATIONS RECEIVED BY THE BOURNEMOUTH PLANNING DEPARTMENT DURING AUGUST 2021 – A CRITIQUE BY JOHN SOANE, BUILT ENVIRONMENT CONSULTANT TO BOURNEMOUTH CIVIC SOCIETY
This is an application to add a single storey, rear extension to an existing, two storey house which would create an enlarged, built foot print similar in size to those of adjoining properties. The purpose of the development is to achieve a highly specialised care home with extensive medical facilities. Besides a community area, there would be eight new treatment rooms, housed in the new extension and in the substructure below. The new rear elevation would encompass a new entrance and four modern casement windows more or less aligned to the four regularly positioned three light windows above on the original rear façade. To the existing roof would be added four dormers to make more patients’ accommodation.
The Society is quite happy with the changed design but we would suggest that the new vertical windows at the rear be designed better to relate to the three light windows on the first floor. Finally we think that these major alterations would be a good time to reposition and redesign the rather irregular and not especially elegant fenestration scheme on the front elevation; a more symmetrical placing of windows of uniform size and design would look much better. Therefore, since this proposal does not fully comply with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, the Society feels it should be deferred for improvement.
69 Coombe Avenue, Redhill Ref. No. 7-2021-27922-A
This is an application to extend an existing mid twentieth century detached house by means of a two storey extension to the side of the existing structure and a wide one storey extension to the rear. The two storey section would contain a garage below and a bedroom above. The extensions would be similar in design to the proportions and style of the existing property and be covered by a larger hipped roof; the new built foot print would be compatible with the size of those at adjacent buildings.
The Society is satisfied generally with the proposed alterations but we think that the fenestration on the rear, one storey elevation could be improved. We suggest the two windows either side of the French windows, be made more similar in size and shape to balance each other and to better compliment the casement window panels on the first floor. Therefore the Society has decided that since this proposal does not fully satisfy the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further discussion.
40 Evelyn Road, Moordown Ref. No. 7-2021-13110-D
This is an application to demolish the existing, late nineteenth century, small detached house and built a two storey block of five flats; there would be a single story extension at the rear. On the principal façade there would be two, two storey bay windows at either extremity with small half timbered gables above, with symmetrical, modern sash windows between.
Although the present design is more stylistically integrated and one storey lower than the original application in January 2021, the built foot print is still twice the size of those of the adjacent properties in Evelyn Road. There have been 27 objections by local inhabitants expressing the fear that the size of the new building was too large for the site; incompatible with the existing scale of the street and would reduce the existing level of family community in the area.
The Society agrees with these sentiments and suggests that if new development is to take place on this site, the size of the structure should be smaller and limited to two or three flats.Consequently, we have decided that because this proposal does not fully comply with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused.
81 Broadway, Hengistbury Head Ref. No. 7-2021-28255
This is an application to construct a small chalet bungalow in the rear section of a site that was developed for a detached family house. The style of the new building imitates that of bungalows that were built in the early Twentieth Century: the built foot print is in the forms of two interlocking rectangles surmounted by a complex hipped roof. The principal façade embraces distinctive clusters of double, triple and quadruple casement windows with a dormer above.
Even though the Society finds the design quite pleasing in itself, we feel strongly that the new development is inappropriate for site. We think that in relation to the existing balance of built to un built on space in respect to other adjacent properties, the prospective bungalow would amount to over development. In addition it seems to us that the smaller scale and appearance of the building would be considerably at odds with the more spacious dimensions and more modern of the surrounding neighbourhood. Therefore the Society has concluded that this bungalow would set a bad precedent for further poor planning proposals in this neighbourhood. Therefore we feels that since this proposal does not comply with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused.
1 Portchester Road , Ref. No. 7-2021-23690
This is an application to legitimise an existing unofficial use of a former garage as studio flat. The existing structure is a very basic brick structure and has probably been used as living accommodation for some considerable time.
The Society has on previous occasions come across previous attempts to convert small out buildings on restricted site int units of accommodation. On grounds of over development and also for aesthetic and social reasons, we feel strongly that such developments should not be encouraged. We assume that enforcement action has not been taken here and would question why. However in this particular case, in view of the existing use of the property, the society feels that provided proper minimum planning standards are upheld, the status quo might be able to continue
38 Northey Road, Southbourne Ref. No. 7-2021-28246
This is an application to build a long, narrow, rectangular extension to an existing end of terrace, two storey house; the existing hipped roof would be extended over the new structure and fenestration would be modern casement. According to the plans, the intention of the new section is to bring the number of bedrooms up to six.
We feel strongly that if this extension were built, it would amount to excessive over development. We note that as originally planned, the houses along Northey Road were built in distinct pairs of semi-detached houses. Therefore it is obvious to us that the planned enlargement extending right up to the S.E. boundary of the site, effectively would create a permanent link between the two semi detached houses – nos. 38 and 40 with the next two semi detached houses – nos. 36 and 34. Such an intrusion would weaken considerably the present spatial balance of this part of Northey Road. Consequently, the Society has resolved that since this proposal does not fulfil the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused.
12 Queens Park Gardens , Queens Park Ref. No. 7-2021-7613-F
This is an application to demolish an existing double garage at the corner of the site of a family residence at 12 Queens Park Gardens and to built there a very small chalet bungalow with a pitched roof and dormers. The street façade would contain the main entrance and above would be a French window and an imitation wrought iron balcony.
The Society feels that the presence of this small dwelling in comparison with the absence of similar structures in equivalent positions in adjacent plots would amount to over development. Also we think that the style of the structure is not compatible with the Arts and Crafts/ Art Deco appearance of this inter war neighbourhood; the house would not fit in with the larger dimensions of the nearly houses – with the ratio between built and un built space in this area being considerably disturbed. Consequently the Society has decided that since this application does not satisfy the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused.
Land near Malvern Road/West Way, Ref . No. 7020219278-M
This is an application to construct a substantial detached, family house of two storeys on interior back land between two lines of developed house sites created during the earlier Twentieth Century.
The built foot print is in the form of two interlocking rectangles at right angles crowned by a complex hipped roof and with the roof tiling extending down to cover the first floor. Symmetrically positioned fenestration is in the form of double and triple , sash window groups with upper divisions. The other elevations which encompass dormers and French windows are designed in the same style as the front elevation.
Although the Society finds what is proposed an acceptable building in its own right, we agree with local opinion in that the elevated level of the restricted site would make the new house extremely prominent and destroy a popular piece of open land, rich in wild life within an already fully developed urban neighbourhood. Moreover since we have already noted that two thirds of this area of enclosed back land has already been built upon, we feel the remaining third should be left as free space. Therefore the Society has decided that because this application has to satisfy the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused.
60 The Avenue, Redhill Ref. No. 7-20-21-8526-B
This is an application to extend by one bay, the existing, interwar style, detached house on the site. The new built foot print would be in the form of a large rectangle which would be much larger in mass and form than those of neighbouring properties.
The existing Arts and Crafts façade with hipped roof and projecting four sectioned bay windows would be extended in exactly the same style by one bay. The Society observes that the resulting principal façade would be considerably wider than the standard width of adjacent houses. We also think that the somewhat monotonous appearance of the new building could be made more appealing.
Under the circumstances, we have concluded that since this application does not on aesthetic grounds alone, satisfy the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further improvement.
896 Christchurch Road, Boscombe Ref. No. 7-2021-4298-H
This is an application to convert the architecturally distinctive, former College of Technology, a building with elaborate facades in Baroque Revival/Arts and Crafts style, into 12 studio flats. It would appear that a mezzanine floor is likely to be inserted at the upper level.
In view of the well established community use of the ground and sub basement of this well known historic building, it is not surprising that this proposal elicited 22 E mails from local residents. The Society strongly agrees with them that such an important piece of historic architecture in Pokesdown/Boscombe should be preserved without substantial interior alteration for the social benefit of the community at large and not degraded by being turned into a block of very small residential units with virtually no amenities or parking spaces.
It was also felt that since the tenancies would be short term entirely for financial profit, the impact of such a transient population would be very negative on the family orientated properties nearby. In addition, we would suggest that the rear access road to the site would be totally inadequate for general services. Consequently the Society has decided that since this application in no way conforms to the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused.
38 Poole Road,Westbourne Ref. No. 7-2021-71-J
This is an application to construct two extra floors on top of a two storey block of flats built in the late Twentieth Century . It would replicate the existing symmetrical façade encompassing modern vertical sash windows with a new hipped roof and dormers above.
The Society believes that the additional height of the building would completely destabilize the architectural balance of the original design. An effort is being made here to use so called preliminary approval planning legislation to achieve this controversial alteration; not for any visual enhancement but merely for financial gain. We condemn in the strongest possible terms the attempted use of this planning loophole to change in the worst possible way, the previously accepted appearance of the original building. We feel that extra floors, as here, would invariably affect the original design and style of existing facades to the considerable debasement of the adjacent townscape.
Therefore the Society respectfully would remind the Planning Department that the exceptional success of Bournemouth as a maritime resort has always depended upon maintaining a viable balance between aesthetically pleasing, built shapes on the ground and a reasonable profit to be made from the utility of such shapes. We say that if this maxim is borne in mind, the long term threat of the future townscape of Bournemouth encompassing a whole series of pop up, ugly, mini high rises – rather similar but on a smaller scale to what can now be seen in South American metropoli such as Sao Paulo – will be avoided.
We have been pleased to learn that two applications to build extra storeys have already been turned down – long may this trend continue. But while the Society is against the two extra storeys in this application, we think that one storey only might be a reasonable solution. Therefore we have decided that because this application does not comply with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused.
183 Alma Road, Winton Ref. No. 7-2021-6850-C
This is an application to build a two storey building providing accommodation for students. It would be erected at the rear of the existing, individual dwelling house and the new structure would be almost completely surrounded by original late nineteenth century buildings. Access to the new structure would be via an existing drive within 183 Alma Road. The accommodation block would have a rectangular built foot print and be designed in an austere modernist style with a pitched roof. Apart from a community living area there would be six large bedrooms provided.
The Society feel very strongly that this proposed student centre is far too large for the plot and is one more example of a house proprietor attempting to over build on an already developed site that was only designed for one dwelling house. We certainly agree with local opinion that the new addition would be out of keeping with the locality; it was felt instead that the architectural quality of the original houses along Alma Road should be respected and not degraded by inappropriate use. Under the circumstances the Society is of the opinion that since this proposal does not respect the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused.
470 Holdenhurst Road, Kings Park Ref. No. 7-2021-8863-F
This is an application to make considerable extensions and internal alterations to an existing, early twentieth century shop (with accommodation above) near the junction with Ashley Road.
The two shop windows would be removed and be replaced by two pairs of modern, sash windows; above, a new bay window would be installed to match the existing one; there would be two new gables merging into a comprehensive hipped roof. To the rear, the substantial two storey extension would have a new elevation of four pairs of sash windows on two floors with a larger dormer window above.
Although the Society accepts that what is proposed would be quite a skilful adaption of the existing building, and there is a general tendency in this part of Holdenhurst Road to create flats in place of retail facilities, we note that the new built foot print would be considerably larger than those of adjacent properties; the proportion of the site taken for building would be considerable. Perhaps we could suggest that the rear two storey extension should be reduced between 25% and 50%.
It follows that since the Society feels that this application does not fully respect the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further discussion.
2 West Cliff Road – Chocolate Box Hotel Ref. No. 7-2021-1036-M
This is an application to demolish an existing one storey structure and to extend the adjacent three storey, late nineteenth century hotel by means of a purpose built hotel and hospitality block. The site lies within the Poole and West Cliff Conservation area. The new section would be designed in the same style as the original hotel; there would be two slight projections with barge boarded gables including a two storied bay window, symmetrical modern sash fenestration and a new entrance from the street.
The Society is very impressed with the general design and style of the new development and thoroughly recommends it. Consequently since we consider this application to have met all the conservation policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, we think it should be allowed.
7 Old Christchurch Road Ref. No. 7-2021-330-B
This is an application to construct two extra floors on an existing, narrow modernist building with balconies that was constructed in the 1970’s. It is situated in a very prominent position in Bournemouth Square between an old mid nineteenth century retail structure (W.H. Smith and Sons) and the later Empress Hotel (now National Westminster Bank). The site lies in the Central Bournemouth Conservation Area. The two new floors would be similar in general appearance to the existing four floors below.
The Society strongly disagrees with this development; not only would it extend the only modernist building that is totally out of place in this historic area between Richmond Hill and Post Office Road, but with its increased height, it would stick out like a sore thumb. We are aware that the group of buildings at this spot is one of the most popular gathering points for visitors to the resort; but with this ugly mini high rise in the vicinity, the desirability of photographing this well know view would be greatly reduced.
The considerable design and stylistic problems encountered by allowing the construction of extra floors on existing buildings, are dealt with more fully in the critique of the planning application for 38 Poole Road ( 7-2021-71-J ) – Bournemouth Civic Society Planning Critique for August 2021. Therefore we have resolved that because this proposal in no way complies with the conservation policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused.
9 Tower Road, Boscombe Ref. No. 7-2021-22736-K
This is an application to extend an existing early twentieth century house by one third; it is situated very near the main London railway line and is a back land site reached by a private drive from Tower Road. The existing property has some degree of architectural pretension with symmetrical fenestration on the principal façade with a two gabled roof above. The new extension would add another gabled extension to the south end of the house and another one in the new centre of the principal façade where once had been the entrance. The latter would be moved to one side, which would result in a loss of symmetry for the principal façade. New fenestration on the ground floor would be in the form of utilitatian, modern, casement windows.
The Society considers the new design of extremely poor quality with no pretence of any sort in attempting to introduce any aesthetic qualities. We are not surprised at this since the enlarged building would shelter eight bedrooms – possibly enough to open a HMO? Moreover we also think that the enlarged built foot print of the property is simply too massive for the restricted size of the site. Thus the Society has come to the conclusion that since this proposal does not relate in any way to the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused.
3 Wotton Mount – Wotton Grange Ref. No. 7-2021-1315-I
This is an application to build a six storey block of flats in modernist style on the site of a substantial and much altered, late nineteenth century, detached family residence on Wooton Mount, off Old Christchurch Road.
The built foot print would be in the form of an irregular rectangle and would consist of a massive concrete frame with projections to the front and rear. Apart from some symmetrically positioned, vertical casement windows on the rear façade, all the upper storeys would be filled by repeating French windows together with a vertical window, with patios connected to Juliet balconies. Side elevations would consist of regularly spaced French windows and vertical ones two by two.
Although this conventional, modernist block of flats is positioned fairly near the conserved, late nineteenth century retail terraces of Old Christchurch Road, the Society is convinced that the new flat block will not disturb the visual context of these historic properties. Moreover we are well aware that the new development would stand next to other modern blocks of flats already completed such as Startum. Indeed we appreciate that the new structure under review can be considered the latest addition to an entire area of large, modern buildings extending northwards from Bath Road towards Wotton Mount which have been constructed since the 1940’s. Therefore since this prospective block of flats does not threaten any significant historic ensemble – apart from a considerable improvement in the design of the balconies – it is hard for the Society to deduce what further design improvements are appropriate. Consequently, we have decided that since this proposal does not fully connect with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further discussion.