PLANNING APPLICATIONS RECEIVED BY BOURNEMOUTH PLANNING DEPARTMENT DURING FEBRUARY 2016 – A CRITIQUE BY JOHN SOANE, BUILT ENVIRONMENT CONSULTANT, BOURNEMOUTH CIVIC SOCIETY
Wharfdale Road : Ref. No. 7-2016-9503-P
This is an application to build a six story block of 11 student cluster flats – together with a three story block of seven conventional flats and two semi-detached houses. The student block would be situated at the south end of the site near Wessex Way; the other two structures would be sited parallel to each other across the northern part of the site.
The student flats would be in the form of a substantial rectangular structure; the main east and west elevations would contain symmetrical rectangular, casement fenestration and there would also be a slightly projecting corner tower to the west. The south elevation facing Wessex Way would be just a plain rectangular wall with a central lighting strip while the north elevation would contain a small tower and contrasting horizontal and strip fenestration.
The Society note that the seven conventional flats would be contained within a long and relatively narrow 2-3 story structure that would present an overtly, asymmetrical, modernist appearance. The east elevation would consist of large pieces of wall intersected by three un-coordinated facade sections of different sizes – defined by concrete collars – and containing windows of different shapes. The west elevation would consist of wall slabs punctuated by irregularly positioned, rectangular windows.
The two terraced houses would be divided into two sections – each of two bays and with French windows on the southern ground floor elevation.
In general terms the Society feel that the buildings proposed would result in too high a density of development; well over 50% of the site would be built upon .
Further we would point out that quite apart from the aesthetically inharmonious relationship that would occur between the block of seven flats and the rear elevations of existing properties in Queens Road, the greatest weakness of the proposal is the faulty physical context and mass of the large student block.
In the Design Statement, justification of the position of this building is made by reference to other larger student residences already constructed between Maderia Road and Wessex Way . The Society suggests that these structures are appropriately sited because of the flat nature of the site and the near vicinity of existing large buildings such as the Police Administrative Headquarters.
But we feel that in comparison, the proposed student block at Wharfdale Road would be excessively prominent within in an area of generally low rise buildings. In relation to the general aesthetic appearance of the existing properties that crown the long southern slope of the Central Bourne Valley between Wessex Way and the Central Pleasure Gardens, we are certain that this new structure, if built, would stick out like a sore thumb.
Under the circumstances, the Society suggests that since this application does not conform to the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be rejected ( 4.19, l, ii and iii )
Bournemouth Information Bureau, Westover Road : Ref. No. 702016-1593-K
This is an application to convert the existing Information Bureau into a restaurant. So far as the Society can observe; apart from the provision of French windows on the Pleasure Gardens side of the building, few basic alterations are proposed for the long elevations. However for the short side elevations, we note that two large semi circular windows – one on the first floor at one end and one on the ground floor at the other end – are proposed.
The Society is very disappointed that the very elegant , triple semi-circular glass domes that at present terminate the two side elevations will be removed. We strongly advise that these pleasing architectural elements be retained for the new restaurant – indeed we are sure that with some appropriate design adjustment, this change may be achieved.
Therefore the Society has concluded that since this application has not fully met the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further consideration. ( 4.19, i, ii and iii )
30a Florence Road: Ref. No. 7-2016-13152-E
This is an application to construction a three story extension to the existing late nineteenth century property; originally built as a family villa – now used as an hotel.
The Society is of the opinion that although the planned extension – to create extra bedrooms – is designed in a complimentary style to the existing structure, its construction would lead to an excessive, over development of the site leaving virtually no room for any appropriate landscaping, let alone car parking spaces. We also think that the extension would have a negative physical impact on the privacy of adjacent properties.
The Society therefore feels that since this application does not fulfil the townscape conditions of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be rejected ( 4.19, i, ii and iii )
677-679 Wimborne Road : Ref. No. 7-2016-4686-AY
This is an application to increase the capacity of the existing structure from one shop and 5 flats to a smaller shop and 10 flats.
In the Design Statement, the Society note that a great deal is made of plans to improve internal planning anomalies and also the exterior appearance of the property. But we feel that such intentions cannot disguise the fact that the main intention of this application is to replace an existing number of already small flats by an even greater number of even smaller ones – some barely the dimensions of standard studio flats. If an extension of accommodation is really needed, we would suggest an extra 3 flats would be a better solution.
In addition we would ask the Planning Department, in view of the very large extension of student accommodation planned for the Landsdown area, to restrict considerably, further permission for the unsuitable overcrowding of older properties that were never designed for such uses.
Accordingly the Society suggests that because the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan are not properly fulfilled, this application should be deferred for further discussion. ( 4.19, i, ii and iii)
Roselyn Hotel, 55 West Cliff Road: Ref. No. 7-2016-6469-G
This is an application to create an extension to the existing unauthorized kitchen annexe to form a restaurant area in the now empty Roselyn Hotel. What is planned would take the form of a plain, concrete, rectangular structure with a flat roof which would take up the greater part of the rear open area of the building up to the boundary with the flat block for elderly residents.
The Society feel that although the proposed extension would not intrude onto the well designed, late nineteenth century principal facades of the Roselyn Hotel; the general form and appearance of the extension is not really appropriate for the building – nor the use as a restaurant in an area that has always been either residential or used as small hotels. Indeed we thin k that Westbourne is a far more appropriate location for another restaurant.
We have also taken note of the considerable number of letters written by local residents about this application who have raised fears about the general loss of character to the area, the increase in noise, food deliveries and litter, the insufficient provision for extra parking and the problem of cooking smells.
Under the circumstances the Society has concluded that the change of use of this hotel into a restaurant would not be appropriate – and in this respect we urge the Planning Inspectorate to look carefully into what appears to be a considerable amount of building activity that seems to be going on at the site in question.
We conclude that since this application does not appear to fully comply with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further discussion. ( 4.19, i, ii and iii )
Pre-planning Environmental Impact Statement : Ref. No.7-20168961-F : Prospective new campus for Bournemouth University at Landsdown Road, Saint Pauls Place
This is pre application scenario for the creation of a Department of Social Health, Faculty Building in 8 stories and covering 10,000 sq. metres and a new student accommodation block of between 7 and 10 stories on the site of 21 Landsdown Road and the car park of Cranbourne House containing 550 beds in 4,5 and 6 bed clusters. There would also be provision for another university building of 4000/6000 sq. metres.
This development would be a significant part of the much larger, long term plan to create a principal campus for Bournemouth University stretching from Landsdown Road, Saint Pauls Place and Holdenhurst Road, over Cotlands Road to Christchurch Road and Saint Swithuns Road.
In connection with this pre-application scenario, the Social Health Building would be situated in the northern portion of the site near the Asda roundabout and the junction between Saint Pauls Road and Wessex Way. No detailed plans or elevations are available but it is expected that the structure would have a horizontal ambience with underground parking with the main entrance towards the centre of the site near the present Saint Pauls Lane.
The student block is likely to be given a more varied shape with accommodation placed in cascading height levels; but following current practice, it is unlikely that any provision will be made for car parking.
The Society fully accepts that given the purpose of the proposed buildings, the huge size of the development and the existing presence of numerous modern buildings in the Holdenhurst Road/Landsdown Road area; a modernist idiom is the only appropriate form of design that can be used.
However we strongly feel that all these new buildings should be so designed as to integrate with adjacent large and high structures to create a kind of integrated, sculptured, modernist townscape – similar to but on a smaller scale to, down town Los Angeles – which could in future years become a notable architectural feature of this part of Bournemouth in its own right.
However we should add finally, that although the Environmental Planning Officer has said that the spatial dimensions of the scheme do not require exceptional measures to protect the neighbouring historic neighbourhood of Dean Park, we fell that the end result would be improved if the proposed building heights were reduced by at least one story and the Social Health Building was not planned as a single monolithic block.
Without the full information that goes with a full application, we can only recommend that the Pre-planning Environmental Impact Statement be used as a blueprint for further detailed discussions concerning the planned development of the site.