PLANNING APPLICATIONS RECEIVED BY THE BOURNEMOUTH PLANNING DEPARTMENT DURING DECEMBER 2021 – A CRITIQUE BY JOHN SOANE, BUILT ENVIRONMENT CONSULTANT TO BOURNEMOUTH CIVIC SOCIETY
22 Egerton Road, Queens Park Ref. No. 7-2021-28407
This is an application to make alterations and extensions in order to create three flats, to an existing interwar family house that was built as part of a new residential neighbourhood in late Arts and Crafts/Art Deco style. The building has three, well integrated, two storey bay windows and is a good example of this style
The principal changes would be the construction of a new, one storey, living room extension to the rear façade and the creation of a very large, pitched roof at second floor level. Two extremely prominent dormer windows would be integrated between the principal and rear facades. There would be a spacious, glass fronted balcony on top of the single storey extension, where there would be a triple French window which would be replicated on the ground floor. The remainder of the façade would be filled by smaller traditional casement windows and the dormers above would contain quadruple casement windows with upper divisions.
The Society feels strongly that the imposition of these modernist, architectural features would totally change the character of the original building which was designed in a completely different style. Further, we think the appearance of the new structure would considerably degrade the present harmonious aesthetic appearance of the adjacent townscape.
We are not surprised that the local ward councillor has called in this application as a result of 52 comments about this development received from local residents. Further, the Society is most impressed by the consistently high standard of criticism which we have read. Understandably there is a very strong fear that the look of the new structure – especially the large roof and outsized dormers – would constitute a serious blot on the existing visual unity of the neighbourhood; that it would be completely out of character with virtually every other house in the area and that if granted, similar changes to other properties would become out of control. It was also pointed out that balconies were more appropriate to seaside locations, and were likely, in conjunction with the restricted size of modern flats, to encourage a casual/communal existence in which in place of privacy and a family orientated life style, there would be an unwelcome extension of noise, inadequate parking and HMO’s.
Under these circumstances the Society are fully agreed that since this proposal in no way abides by the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused.
46 Hawkwood Road, Boscombe Ref. No 7-2021-1173-C
This is an application to demolish a very small square shaped building in the centre of a very small plot which itself is a portion of the original late nineteenth century house site (46 Hawkwood Road ) and to construct instead a somewhat larger L shaped, two storey, residential structure. The built foot print would take up almost the entire dimensions of the site; it would contain a French window and a glass balcony on the first floor with a pitched roof above.
The Society observes that with a bedroom and shower below and a kitchenette, living and dining space above, the new structure is no more than a glorified studio flat, far too small for a reasonable life style and another example of an attempt just to create income by building a place to live in a most inappropriate position.
Therefore we feel that because this proposal in no way agrees with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused.
Land behind 217,219,221, Old Christchurch Road, near Stafford Road. Ref. No. 7-2021-1058-AD
This is an application to build a three storey block of five flats on an interior site that is completely surrounded by late nineteenth century and later buildings and reached by a narrow way from Old Christchurch Road.
The built footprint is in the form of an irregular rectangle; the building would have conventional proportions with a penthouse second storey surmounted by a flat roof. The dimensions of the flats are relatively spacious, two containing two bedrooms. The principal façade has a combination of full height French and casement windows on the ground floor with further French windows and modern oriel windows above; the remaining elevations consisting almost entirely of wall.
The Society normally takes a very strong stance against such infill developments – however in this case, on account of the particularly spacious dimensions of the site and the reasonable size of the accommodation, we think what is offered might just do. However we do suggest that the design of the upper windows be made less stark and the fenestration on the penthouse story be made more symmetrical.
Thus we have decided that since this proposal is not quite fully compatible with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further discussion and improvement.
Bobby’s Department Store, 2-12 Commercial Road, The Square Ref. No. 7-2021-1090-Z
This is an application which is an addendum to the original proposal last year to rehabilitate the original building finished in 1915 after Debenhams had moved out. The structure is one of the finest examples of early twentieth century Italianate/Arts and Crafts commercial architecture. The latest proposal is for permission to create a new more matching façade to the poorly designed, extension to the building that was put up in the 1960’s. The new design would be strongly influenced by the elegant curved windows on the first and second floors of the original façade. Above this level, less flamboyant but still more appropriate fenestration would be created. Also, the new Bobby’s sign would have an elaborately carved background.
The Society is very satisfied with this proposal, it would complete the architectural unity of Bournemouth Square. However because the main façade of Bobby’s is design in a variant of the symmetrical classical style, we feel that the deliberate asymmetrical design of the wall spaces under the four large windows on the 1960’s extension is simply not appropriate. To us, a more regular visual piece would be far better.
Therefore because this proposal does not fully comply with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, we think it should be deferred for further discussion and improvment
42 Poole Hill, Ref. No. 7-2021-3384-H
This is an application to construct a new four storey block, consisting of a ground floor office and three flats above at the rear of the mid nineteenth century retail/accommodation terraced structure at the top of Poole Hill. The site is part of the Poole Hill and West Cliff Conservation area. The new façade would face on to the parallel, Upper Norwich Road and would consist of a modern ground floor entrance and one traditional casement window on each floor, capped by a pitched roof.
The Society finds the new projected façade quite suitable in relation to surrounding buildings; however we think the short side elevations are rather too modern for this historic area of the town. We suggest that the long narrow lighting strips should be redesigned more in accordance with the shape of adjacent historic window shapes.
Consequently, the Society feel that since this proposal is not fully complimentary with the conservation policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, we think it should be deferred for further discussion and improvement.
5-7 Priory Road, West Cliff Ref. No. 7-2021-4502-Q
This is an application to change various architectural details in relation to a projected large block of flats that was originally approved in 2017: 10 as holiday accommodation and 35 for the free market ( 7-2017—4502-N). Although approval for this scheme appears to have been given, the fact that permission is still sought for last minute changes has persuaded the Society to make one last plea for a considerable improvement in the general appearance of the flat block.
In spite of the fact that the general mass and shape of the new structure can appear to be complimentary to the adjacent Trouville Hotel, we think the severely modernist design does give the general impression of a collection of concrete boxes, piled up on top of each to create each floor and lit by unimaginative and monotonous floor to ceiling glass panels. At the very least it is our opinion that the façade should have some movement in the form of several projections and the fenestration should be more varied in shape. The Society very much hopes that the Planning Department will take note of our late critique.
The Savoy Hotel, West Hill Road
No formal planning application appears to have been put forward but according to local media reports the early twentieth century, Art Deco Savoy Hotel on the West Cliff is in the process of being given an extensive package of refurbishment, extension and new build works. The new owners wish to transform the hotel into a new five star destination in which wellness facilities and new restaurants, as well as eight further cottage suites in a former stable block will be added to the attractions.
The Society warmly welcomes this initiative; we hope it will signal a revival of the luxury hotel trade in Bournemouth after the deliberate reduction in status from five to four stars of the Carlton and Royal Bath Hotels on the East Cliff. We look forward to seeing the detailed planning application in the near future.