PLANNING APPLICATIONS RECEIVED BY THE BOURNEMOUTH PLANNING DEPARTMENT DURING
AUGUST 2022 – A CRITIQUE BY JOHN SOANE, BUILT ENVIRONMENT CONSULTANT TO
BOURNEMOUTH CIVIC SOCIETY
103 Wick Lane, Southbourne. Ref. No. 7-2022-1420-H
This is an application to extensively reconstruct an existing, two storey detached dwelling, built in modernist style during the late 1960’s. The intention is to use the existing structure of the house as the basis for creating a Georgian style residence , together with a western extension , that would be more compatible with the existing more traditional architecture and organic layout of the ancient village of Wick.
The front façade would be slightly asymmetrical with one pair of sash windows to the west and two pairs of sash windows to the east of the pillared porch which would shelter the main entrance. The rear elevation would present a somewhat more asymmetrical scheme of fenestration and above would be a distinctive roof with two pedimented dormers to the front and three sky dormers to the rear.
Bearing in mind the difficulties that accompanied the original scheme for this site, the Society very much hopes that these new plans will be much more acceptable to the inhabitants of Wick. Since we note that the height of the roof ridge has been lowered, we feel certain that the proposed structure will harmonise far better with the adjacent village townscape. Certainly we think that in a semi-rural setting strict adherence to correct classical architectural principals is unnecessary and often inappropriate as it is more important to blend with the local vernacular .
Consequently since in our opinion this proposal fulfils all the conservation policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, the Society feels it should be allowed.
Southbourne Cross Roads , Southbourne. Ref. No. 7-2022- 28119-A
This is an application to construct four, two to four storey blocks, containing 24 flats. The site is a narrow piece of land very near the cliff edge between Saint Catherine’s Road and Southbourne Coast Road. Three of the blocks are more or less rectangular in shape and are concentrated towards the nearby cross roads; the last block in Southbourne Coast Road is much smaller.
All the blocks would be constructed in a very angular, modernist form; each section of the main facades made up of concrete elements in box like shapes would connect with each other. The majority of the interconnecting sections would be horizontal, interspersed by a smaller number of sections with a vertical, rectangular emphasis. Each façade would be made up of vertical glass panels and French windows flanked by “glass” balconies.
In the material accompanying the justification of this scheme, the Society note that emphasis is place on the fairly considerable number of modern flat blocks that have already been constructed in east Southbourne quite near the sea.
However we note that what is not pointed out is that while there are certainly places along the cliff roads where considerable clusters of flat blocks exist, there are also areas as at the Southbourne Cross Roads where there is still a considerable predominance of buildings that date from the origins of Southbourne in the late Nineteenth Century.
Thus the Society most strongly feels that the proposed modern blocks for aesthetic and spatial reasons would create a most degrading visual effect on the existing townscape. We think that here is a situation where a much more sensitive regard should be paid to the visual context of new development.
Indeed the Society agrees with the sentiments of the majority of the 624 comments sent in by local residents who think that the character of an area such as maritime Southbourne need not be necessarily expressed in buildings but by a better usage of existing car parks and other open and unbuilt spaces.
It is considered that not only would further development of the site, restrict the existing open character of the area but also create exceptional congestion as increasing numbers of visitors in ever more cars, attempt to utilize the cliff tops in their desire to reach the beach.
Therefore in view of such considerable opposition to the proposals, the Society has decided that since what is proposed would in no way enhances the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, we suggest that the new proposals be refused.
8a Wharfdale Road, Westbourne. Ref. No. 7-2022-9503-R
This is an outline application to construct a large block of 46 flats on a large, former industrial site between Wharfdale Road and the Wharfdale Service Road; the site is very close to Wessex Way.
The rectangular built foot print would take up a considerable portion of the site and the new building would contain mainly two bedroom flats. The highest elevation ( 10 storeys ) would face south over Wessex Way – then the structure would be successively be reduced in height to 9 storeys, then to 6 and finally, in a very short section to 3. On the east, south and west elevations, alternate sections of wall would be in the form of symmetrical rectangular windows or French windows with balconies. The lowest two storeys would be taken up by service facilities.
The Society strongly feels that the sheer massiveness of the proposed structure would create a palpable difference in scale between the immediate older surroundings and the new block. In no way could this building be compared to the better designed and more sensitively positioned new flat block that is to be built on the site of the former municipal works depot between Saint Catherine’s Road and the Central Pleasure Gardens. Here the new block would be on a balanced spatial arch mid way between the modernist development on Richmond Hill and similar structures in the vicinity of Princess Road, Westbourne. If built the current proposal would appear just as a very high urban lump, in no way spatially related to any part of the adjacent townscape.
Indeed our observations are very similar to those reached in the Urban Design Consultation Report which states that not only does the existing townscape not justify the imposition of such a massive building, but that if built, it would degrade the general standard of modern architectural design that is appropriate to Bournemouth. Indeed this finding is further echoed by local opinion that feels that a blatant disregard for the low rise, horizontal appearance of adjacent buildings would degrade the historical evolution of the neighbourhood. Complaints in this regard were also made regarding the somewhat abrupt treatment of residents by council officials in respect to discussions about the project.
Therefore taking everything into consideration, the Society has decided that since this planning application in no way respects the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused.
24-26 Studland Road, Westbourne Ref. No. 7-2022-1545-H
This is an application to construct a large four storey rectangular shaped block of flats on the site of two recently demolished, twentieth century houses. The new building would be designed in the inter-war Art Deco style and apart from curved corners there would be long, horizontally shaped windows, with internal divisions on all floors – together with a narrow four storey bay window near the centre .of the street façade.
The Society was extremely surprised to come across this design, considering only two months before a totally different design for the same site and based on two smaller flat blocks designed in late nineteenth century mansion house style were submitted and recently passed by the Planning Committee.
We do not think it is good planning policy to change completely approved designs abruptly on a whim. For quite often, as in the case of this site in question, we believe that such a change would result in a most unsuitable visual change to the adjacent general appearance of the surrounding properties. For in Studland Road, nearer to its junction with Alum Chine Road, there is a greater accumulation of Art-Deco/Modernist flat blocks, but further back around 24-26 Studland Road, a greater number of original, late nineteenth structures have remained. Moreover, local opinion greatly prefers the greater sensibility of two smaller flat structures which would allow considerable glimpses of the natural landscale of Alum Chine to remain to be seen.
Consequently the Society much prefers the planning application that has just been passed than the far more insensitive one that has just been submitted. We therefore very much hope that common sense will prevail and the recently passed scheme will eventually be adopted and not the very latest one that has just been received.
Therefore we have decided that since this latest development scheme for 24/26 Studland Road in no way respects the townscape policies of the Bournemouth, we feel it should be refused.
20//22 Marston Hall, Florence Road , Boscombe Ref. No. 7-2022-5672-O
This is a second application to demolish the existing building (a former care home) and to construct a four storey block of 27 flats. The new built foot print would be very similar in size to that which now exists and the height of the proposed roof ridge would be slightly higher than that of neighbouring properties.
The design would be in modernised Arts and Crafts style with two wide projections with gables, at either end of the front facades. Two and three storey bay windows would be attached to each projection with gable windows and dormers in the prominent hipped roof. Fenestration would be completely symmetrical, mainly in the form of modern, vertical arched windows.
Generally speaking, the Society find the design a considerable improvement over the existing building; however although the structure would be aesthetically compatible with the local area, we think the dimensions would be too massive in relation to the existing townscape . Therefore we suggest a general reduction in both the width and height and in particular we agree with local opinion that one floor should be removed. There are also fears that unless such changes are made, parking facilities would become very inadequate.
Thus, because this application does not properly fulfil the townscape conditions of the Bournemouth Local Plan, the Society think it should be deferred for further consideration.