PLANNING APPLICATIONS RECEIVED BY THE PLANNING DEPARTMENT, BOURNEMOUTH DURING FEBRUARY 2017 – A CRITIQUE BY JOHN SOANE, BUILT ENVIRONMENT CONSULTANT TO BOURNEMOUTH CIVIC SOCIETY
10 – 12 Lorne Park Road Ref. No. 7-2017-11880-D
This is an application to build a three/four storey block of 15 flats on the site of a pair of conventional, late nineteenth century, semi-detached houses. With the exception of no. 14, Lorne Park Road which has been rebuilt as a block of flats in Arts and Crafts style this, the northern side of the road, has been redeveloped in the form of modernist block of flats as far as Trinity Road where on the western side, modern residential terraces have also been constructed.
The new foot print is not overlarge for the site but it is asymmetrically positioned in comparison with neighbouring properties in order to accommodate car parking spaces. The principal facade is in the form of a very plain rectangular block – topped by a thick flat concrete roof – with fenestration in the form of large, two to three light, vertical windows separated by a mixture of concrete and wooden weather boarded structural divisions. The principal entrance would be in the centre with narrow vertical lighting above. The rear elevation would be very similar and the side elevations would be mainly wall with an upper string course, divided mainly by a single strip of vertical windows.
The Society feels that the proposed building is unsuitable for the following reasons:-
Although, as indicated in the Design Statement, a number of modernist buildings have been built recently in the general vicinity – especially along Maderia Road, we think that their general presence does not relate in the mass and form of a specifically visual context, to the particular spatial circumstances of the site in question. The latter is uniquely placed between the set back modernist blocks of flats along the western portion of Lorne Park Road and the generally still existing, late nineteenth century residential and commercial townscape in the eastern part of Lorne Park Road.
We certainly concede that a well designed building with modern characteristics is feasible on this site – but it must be compatible with the more integrated and creative, modernist design exhibited by the recently built flats at nos. 4 to 8, Lorne Park Road. However the Society also feels that the new building on the site in question must act as a visual intermediary together with no. 14 between the extensive modernist and more traditional architectural elements in Lorne Park Road.
Consequently we think there is all the more reason for the appearance of the new structure at 10-12 Lorne Park Road to be relatively compatible with the Arts and Crafts appearance of the neighbouring flat block at 14 Lorne Park Road.
Therefore having regard to all the above circumstances , we have concluded that if built, the present proposals would be a visual blot on the whole of Lorne Park Road – indeed the completion of this design could give the impression in a superficial way, of an enormous, upended, matchbox. The Society has therefore concluded that because the present application does not fulfill the conditions of the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused. Policy 4.19, i, ii, and iii
Former Coal Yard, Ashley Road Ref. No. 7-2017-1221-l
This is an application for the complete redevelopment of probably one of the largest remaining brown field sites in Bournemouth. This is the former railway coal yard that, together with the now demolished Boscombe station, was laid out by the London and South Western Railway in the late Nineteenth Century. The site is triangular lying between the main line to London and Ashley and North Roads; the current proposal is for the construction of 60 dwellings : 17 in the form of two storey, semi- detached dwellings mainly along North Road and the remainder in the form of two blocks of three/four storey flats along Ashley Road and within the central part of the site.
The site is completely clear of buildings but it is planned that considerable stretches of natural landscaping – as in the north western part of the site – will be preserved; further, in order to facilitate the easier movement of increased traffic in respect to the proposed dwellings, a new main entrance for all vehicles would be made in North Road.
The Society strongly welcomes the complete rejuvenation of a considerable area of central Bournemouth which has been neglected and decaying for over 15 years. We feel that apart from providing much needed further accommodation near the town centre at reasonable cost, there will be an obvious improvement in the visual quality of the surrounding townscape which should enhance a new sense of community within the area – which has taken time to develop following the closure and demolition of the old Boscombe Hospital many years ago.
Each pair of semi-detached houses would be designed in the form of nineteenth century artisan cottages ; each pair being crowned by a prominent hipped roof with dormers. The principal elevations of each pair of houses are on the north side away from North Road for ecological reasons and each house would be two bays wide with small casement windows above and to the side of the main entrance.
Along Ashley Road, the two main flat blocks would be arranged in a symmetrical manner either side of the main pedestrian entrance to the site and would be designed in a conventional modernist manner with contrasting architectural elements made up of different materials The fenestration would mainly be in the form of varyingly sized, rectangular windows with wider horizontal strip lighting at the extremities. The roof of both blocks would be flat with glass panelled penthouses at both ends.
The Society is of the opinion that while the general design of the semi detached house is quite satisfactory – complimenting as it does the existing late nineteenth century terraces on the other side of North Road, we think that the rather conventional, modernist conception of the flat blocks along Ashley Road could be considerably improved. While the general mass and form of the two blocks is satisfactory, we think the fenestration is too varied in shape and not especially well integrated into the general architectural shape of the whole composition. The Society therefore feel there has to be a much stronger contrast between the horizontal ambience of the entire facade and a greater vertical emphasis of the window shapes. If these changes were made, we feel that the general late nineteenth century architectural unity of the townscape along Ashley Road would be enhanced and preserved.
Consequently, the Society has concluded that since this application does not entirely fulfil the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further discussion.
Land adjacent to Branksome Dene Road Ref. No.7-2017-26088-A
This is an application to construct two small houses in late nineteenth century, part-half-timbered, traditional style on the site of a single property in the vicinity of a neighbourhood that was developed on spacious plots in the early Twentieth Century in Arts and Crafts/Art Deco styles.
The Society cannot fault the cottage orne appearance of what is proposed but in view of the 51 letters that have been received about this application, we are forced to concede that in this case the planning implications of this application are more significant than the proposed architectural style.
We note that virtually every letter, in rather similar vein in respect to similar planning application regarding large plots in Talbot Woods, expresses the opinion that the generally spacious layout of the neighbourhood of Branksome Dene Road was designed for single large properties on fairly large plots. Therefore many people expressed the fear that if this application was allowed, it would open the floodgates for a general assault by developers on back gardens in the area which could eventually threaten the substantial Art Deco houses in Mountbatten and Cassel Roads.
After careful consideration the Society thinks that in order to protect the quality of adjacent buildings; either the existing property on the site should be modernised for private occupation, or a single new property – either as a private residence or as two or three flats should replace it.
Under the circumstances, we have decided that since this application does not fully comply with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused. ( 4.19 ,i, ii, iii )
1 Poole Road Ref. No. 7-2017-557-S
This is an application to build a three storey block of 15 flats in place of the existing, much altered, Edwardian family villa and the attached, four storey, modern office block; the entire complex is at present used as offices and is on the edge of the West Ciff and Poole Hill Conservation Area
What is proposed is a rectangular shaped block which would be more centrally positioned on the site in comparison with the dimensions of the existing structure. The principal elevation which would be crowned by a prominent hipped roof would be designed in a simplified Arts and Crafts style with two staged, slight projections with separate roofs and small gables at the peripheries. Fenestration would be in the form of two and three light vertical windows, symmetrically positioned across the entire facade, including two central dormers. The classical ambience of the rear facade – complete with central pediment – would be interrupted by the asymmetrical positions of different sized windows and one lesser side gable; the side elevations would include single projections, partially symmetrical fenestration and the main entrance on the South East side.
Irrespective of the absence of the expected main entrance on the principal facade, the Society certainly feels that the proposed building would be a considerable aesthetic improvement to the existing visually un-coordinated structure. We also think that in conjunction with approval for a new block of flats that will be constructed next door at 2 West Hill Road in traditional late nineteenth century seaside villa style; this entire section of West Hill Road should recover its original architectural quality and eventually help preserve and enhance the distinctive residential quality of this part of the West Cliff.
However we do suggest that since there appears to be no good reason for the proposed asymmetrical appearance of the rear facade, this lapse should be remedied as soon as possible.
Therefore the Society has concluded that since this application appears to satisfy the conservation policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be allowed. ( 4.4, i, ii, and iii )
14-18 Wharfdale Road Ref, No. 7-2017-16553-F
This is an application to construct four residential blocks containing 8 houses and 12 flats on the northern half of this site that fronts Wharfdale Road and two large structures containing 8 commercial units on the southern half of this site which fronts the Wharfdale service road.
The Society realise that it is a considerable anomaly to deal with both residential and commercial uses on the same site. But we understand this situation has arisen because a small parcel of land between both Wharfdale Roads was originally used for part service/part commercial facilities in connection with the now demolished West Railway Station in Bournemouth during the Nineteenth Century. Subsequently, intermittent residential development during the last 100 years has surrounded this industrial land.
In the application, the two halves of the site would be completely divided from each other. In the residential section, apart from the three storey flat blocks, two smaller blocks would contain six terraced houses between them and the smallest structure, two further houses. Each property would exhibit traditional proportions with hipped roofs and gables with mainly double casement windows encased in concrete frames. The ground floors of the rear elevations of the houses would be in the form of French windows and the main central entrances of the flat block and lighting strips above would be prominently, architecturally emphasised and crowned by small gables. The industrial units would be fairly traditional in appearance with hipped roofs and symmetrically placed windows and entrances.
Granted the relatively secluded and unique position of this site, the Society feels that the somewhat eclectic architectural appearance of what is proposed might be considered acceptable under the circumstances. However we have considerable doubts as to whether on amenity grounds, residential and industrial uses would be suitable in such close proximity with each other. We rather think the low rise older buildings that are at present on the site should be modernized – together with other new buildings of moderate dimensions – and utilised in the form of start up high tech pods, offices and small commercial enterprises.
The Society therefore has concluded that since this application does not fully comply with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused. (4.19, i, ii and iii)
79 Lowther Road Ref. No. 7-2017-20301-C
This is an application to construct an extension to an existing family house in order to make six flats. The property was erected in Arts and Crafts style, similar to the majority of houses in this neighbourhood during the early Twentieth Century.
The extension would be designed in a neutral architectural style extending into the rear garden – but the Society considers the most important aspect of this proposal is the threat it poses to the future degradation of the existing balance between built and un built on space which has always been an essential spatial characteristic of many of the historic residential neighbourhoods of Bournemouth. We therefore call upon the Planning Department strongly to refuse further attempts by developers to degrade further garden sites by insensitively planned extensions. Eleven letters express this same point of view and in particular the debasement of the appearance of the area and the decline of family values by these changes.
Under the circumstances we feel that since this application does not uphold the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused. ( 4.19, i, ii and iii )