PLANNING APPLICATIONS RECEIVED BY THE BOURNEMOUTH PLANNING DEPARTMENT DURING DECEMBER 2020 – A CRITIQUE BY JOHN SOANE, BUILT ENVIRONMENT CONSULTANT TO BOURNEMOUTH CIVIC SOCIETY
81 Seabourne Road, Southbourne Ref. No. 7-2020-1589-P
This an application to construct a three storey block of nine flats on the site of a modern house and a disused warehouse. The built foot print would be in the shape of three interconnecting rectangles; a long one facing the road and two shorter ones , each at right angles to each other forming a mini courtyard. There would be a prominent Mansard roof with dormers. Although the general shape of the new building would be symmetrical, fenestration would be asymmetrical. On the principal elevation, this would consist of alternative sections of vertical modern windows and integrated French windows with Juliet balconies. The main rear elevation would be in the form of a simpler treatment of the front, car parking would be to the rear of the site.
Although the Society acknowledge that the general proportions of the new structure are compatible with the adjacent townscape, the irregular window positioning of the latter make it visually at odds with the comprehensive, regular fenestration pattern of the neighbouring buildings. We would suggest a much more balanced incorporation of conventional windows and balconied French windows to march the general balance of the main structure.
Consequently, the Society have decided that since this applications falls short of the townscape policies of the Bournemouth local plan, it should be deferred for further discussion and improvement.
4 Maclaren Road, Redhill Ref. No. 7-2020-9553-J
This is an application to construct a chalet bungalow on a long narrow site between larger, more rectangular sites containing other bungalows. The built foot print would take up a considerable part of the area and would be aligned extremely close to the long boundary walls. One short elevation would contain bay windows and the other French windows.
The Society is of the opinion that here is one more example of a new residential development being squeezed onto a totally inadequately sized plot and against any attempt to adequately maintain a proper ratio between built and unbuilt space – which is the controlling design maxim of the majority of the historical residential neighbourhoods in Bournemouth. Therefore we feel that since this application in no way fulfills the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused.
31 East Way, Charminster Ref. No. 7-2020-27950
This is an application to extend an existing two storey twentieth century house with rectangular windows and centrally porched entrance in order to create a pair of semi-detached houses in the same general style but without an integrated architectural design for the principal elevation. The Society observe that the doorway of the new extended façade does not exactly co-ordinate with the first floor window above. On the rear façade there is a somewhat better attempt at an overall design but the effect is reduced by the poor quality of design of the first floor windows. We agree with the local inhabitants in that the new structure is too large for the site and designed on too great a scale for the adjacent neighbourhood. Indeed it has been suggested whether or not such an unimaginative development is actually necessary in the existing urban context. Under the circumstances, the Society has concluded that since this proposal does not comply with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused.
46 Kimberley Road, Southbourne Ref. No. 7-2020-3834-H
This is an application to develop part of a large site near the junction with Castlemain Avenue where on the south west part of the site a standard early twentieth century villa has been considerably expanded to create three flats. The new dwelling would be designed in the style of an interwar suburban family house. The principal two storey elevation would include a substantial gabled projection merging into a prominent hipped roof. Apart from a recessed main entrance there would be two symmetrically positioned, quadruple, casement windows. The Society agrees with local opinion that when the existing large building on the site is taken into account, the addition of the new structure would amount to excessive over development of the site leading to parking problems and loss of privacy and sunlight from too close boundary walls. Consequently, we have decided that since this proposal does not keep to the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused.
284 Holdenhurst Road (near Stanley Road ) Ref. No. 7-2020-17880-D
This is an application to turn a twentieth century shop into what amounts to a studio flat. There would be no window in the sleeping recess and the only light for the living-cum-dining area would come from a small casement window built on the site of the original shop window. The Society feels strongly that apart from inadequate light and negligible private outside space, the noisy context of the accommodation would make it totally unsuitable for residential purposes. We ask the Planning Department to initiate policies making it impossible for such speculative applications, ever to succeed. Therefore we are strongly of the opinion that on account of the inability of this proposal to comply with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused.
61 Howeth Road, Ensbury Park Ref. No. 7-2020-5135-D
This is an application to construct three dwelling houses (one pair of semi-detached houses on the street and one separate one to the rear ) on a corner double plot originally occupied by a single property. The new structure would be designed in the suburban Arts and Crafts style with single or double bay windows, casement windows and prominent hipped roofs. The Society think that the general design of the new houses is compatible with the interwar epoch in which this residential neighbourhood was built; however we feel that three houses on this site would create an excessive density of occupation and therefore we think that the rear property should be removed. Consequently we have concluded that because this application does not respect the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused.
Former Highways Depot, Cambridge Road A coloured illustration showing how the new proposals could look has been sent to us by the developers: Bayview Developments. A formal application is awaited.
It is proposed to construct a complex of 100 flats, mainly for first time buyers and professionals, within a structure consisting of an 8 and a 13 storey round tower respectively and linked together by a five storey block. An interior courtyard would be formed with access from Cambridge Road. The facades of each storey would consist of various lengths of glass panels and French windows which would give access to extensive communal balconies; which as wide, horizontal bands, would also serve as prominent decorative elements in defining the architectural appearance of both towers.
The Society is of the opinion that the present proposals can appear to demonstrate a wider intelligibility of the existing visual perspective of the area between the town centre and Westbourne. We note that the modernist development at Cambridge Road in its general appearance would balance in its general appearance and be equidistant from the existing modernist development on the top of Richmond Hill and rather similar modernist structures in the vicinity of the old County Gates. Provided no future overt modernist development occurs between these three focal points, we think that what is proposed at Cambridge Road might just work on a wider urban scale
However the Society thinks that the other way forward is to create a less radical design to compliment in a quasi modernist/traditional form the several blocks of flats that exist in the vicinity of Norwich Avenue West and Suffolk Road adjacent to Cambridge Road across from the redevelopment site.
A sketch drawing showing how this alternative plan would look was submitted to the developers last year. So far as we can observe our suggestion of a courtyard flanked by curved and related higher structures has been adapted as part of the present submitted design.
The Society is certain that In order to decide which design course of action to take considerably more discussion is needed. We certainly feel that if the modernist design is adopted, both towers should be of equal height and contain no more than seven storeys each.
Debenhams 2/12 Commercial Road Ref. No. 7-2020-1090-U
This is an application to undertake a general renovation of the historic and listed department store building in Bournemouth Square which at present houses a large branch of Debenhams. The site of the store is in the Bournemouth Centre Conservation area. By the quality of its architecture this structure is a key element in defining the visual character of central Bournemouth. It was originally constructed in 1914-15 for Bobby’s Department Store and in its architectural design it is a fine example of metropolitan, classical, commercial architecture which was constructed in industrialized countries all the way from Moscow to San Francisco during the era of the Belle Epoque.
Considerable alterations and extensions were made to the building in the 1930’s, 1960’s and 1970’s and it is the intention of the owners to return the building, as far as possible, to how it looked in 1933. In particular it is hoped to recreate the famous tea lounge on the fifth floor and to make improvements to the terrace bar.
On the exterior façade facing the Square, apart from general cleaning, the existing canopies at first floor level will be replaced by a panelled glass balcony. And just above the original very elegant Art Deco ornamental balconies at first floor level will be reintroduced. To the rear the ad-hoc additions to the service courtyard will go and the general appearance of the area will be improved.
In view of the uncertain financial future of Debenhams, the Society applauds this decision to restore this fine building to its original magnificence. We support this initiative without reservation. Therefore since this proposal fully abides by the conservation policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan we recommend acceptance.