PLANNING APPLICATIONS RECEIVED BY THE BOURNEMOUTH PLANNING DEPARTMENT DURING FEBRUARY 2022 – A CRITIQUE BY JOHN SOANE, BUILT ENVIRONMENT CONSULTANT TO BOURNEMOUTH CIVIC SOCIETY
135 Kingswell Road, Wallisdown Ref. No. 7-2022-2083-K
This is an application to demolish an existing interwar small detached house and to construct a new pair of semi detached houses in place and also two bungalows, one behind the other, at the rear of the long narrow site. The built foot print would be considerably larger than that of the existing property and the building lines of the semi detached houses would be very close to the west property boundary and the new drive that would serve the two bungalows beyond. The principal façade of the semi-detached block would replicate the interwar style of adjacent properties and include a two storey bay window of five panels on each floor. No illustrations of the bungalows are yet available.
The area has been closely built up during the Twentieth Century by small detached properties using portions of rear gardens and adjacent back land. Nos. 135 and 137 are now the only developed sites with completely free rear areas. Indeed, no. 135 still retains a mature garden of trees and shrubs.
The Society feels that here it is a question of either following established trends and allowing yet another residential development of properties to be built on inadequately sized sites or refusing further development at nos. 135 and 137 and thereby creating some valuable open space that would mitigate the rather high urban density of the area. We, ourselves would favour keeping the status quo.
Consequently, the Society has decided that since this proposals does not comply with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, is should be refused.
Templeman House, Leedham Road, Redhill Ref. No. 7-2022-1336-U
This is an application by BCP Council to demolish the existing old peoples’ home on the site and build a four storey block of 27 flats. Unfortunately no illustration of the proposed structure is yet available but a careful scrutiny of the plans appears to show a generally rectangular shaped footprint, probably designed in a modern style. Under the circumstances the Society cannot give a final judgement of the proposal, but since the site is quite spacious and not that close to existing lines of detached houses, we would suggest that a restrained modern design could be appropriate.
43 Bingham Road, Charminster Ref. No. 2-2022-27863
This is an application to demolish a municipal training centre that has been housed in a substantial interwar style, family residence and to replace it with a new, two storey, housing block comprising six flats. The new structure would be generally rectangular with short wings to the north and west. It would be designed in modernised Arts and Crafts style with a generally, symmetrical, principal façade facing Maxwell Road with two, two storey gabled projections at each extremity and a prominent, hipped roof above. Fenestration in the form of vertical two and three clusters of modern sash windows would be symmetrically positioned. The west elevation (Bingham Road) would consist of a more asymmetrical collage of architectural elements from the principal façade.
The principal complains of local residents is that the proposed structure is too massive in comparison to the general scale of the surrounding properties; that it would increase traffic which would be dangerous to pupils at the neighbouring school and that additional family homes were required and not ever more flats .
The Society agrees with the general sentiments expressed above but we also think that on this isolated site right next to a school building of very modern appearance, a larger structure containing flats and exhibiting a reasonably restrained appearance, would serve as an effective aesthetic foil between the school and the adjacent houses. We would however suggest that the proposed dimensions of the new buildings be somewhat reduced. At the same time we ask whether this development is being promoted simply because the training centre is now redundant or as part of the general desire of the Council to sell off civic buildings just to raise capital sums.
Under the circumstances the Society has decided that since this proposal does not fully comply with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further discussion.
26 Browning Avenue, Boscombe Manor Ref. No. 7-2022-3451-C
This is an application to demolish the existing family house that was constructed in Art Deco-Modernist style as part of the general development of the Boscombe Manor Estate during the first part of the Twentieth Century.
Two new, semi-detached houses would then be constructed but designed in the form of a single, Arts and Crafts single dwelling house. The principal façade would be in Arts and Crafts Style; there would be a very prominent roof (with triple dormers) that would reach down to the ground floor for half the façade. There would be a ground floor projection and a large, three storied projection with a gable would take up both sides of the elevation. Fenestration would be quite balanced with one, two, three and four light windows.
In absolute terms, the Society finds the design of the new structure quite satisfying, but within the context of the site in question, we agree with local opinion which finds the new building too massive for the existing spartiality of the neighbourhood – which would lead to an increase in noise levels and privacy. We feel that the general dimensions of the new block which, we think, go too close to the perimeter fence, should be reduced and that the general design of the main facades should more accurately reflect the Art-Deco Modernist style in which the majority of the houses in this neighbourhood are built.
Therefore the Society feels that since this proposal is not fully compatible with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further discussion.
153 Irving Road, West Southbourne Ref. No. 7-2022-28474
This is an application to build two, relatively small, two storey, detached houses on the site of a large bungalow build during the creation of this neighbourhood in the first half of the Twentieth Century.
The built footprint of each property would, taken together, be considerably larger than that of the present structure; the long side elevations of each being very close to the property boundaries of neighbours. The ground floor would, by means of a one storey extension, extend further into the rear of the site; this would create a large first floor balcony for each house. The principal facades of both houses would be modernized versions of interwar designs with prominent hipped roofs angular, two storey, bay windows.
The Society feels that the site in question is simply too small to take two separate houses and indeed such developments cannot be observed on any of the urbanized sites in the general vicinity. We also think that the presence of a fair number of bungalows near by makes the presence of two storey houses an inappropriate design for this location; the increased height of the buildings would severely restrict natural sunlight to neighbouring properties.
Consequently, the Society has decided that since this proposal in no way satisfies the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused.
9 Tower Road, near Churchill Square, Boscombe Ref. No. 7-2022-22736-I
This is an application to extend and internally alter, an existing late nineteenth/early twentieth century villa residence in order to create 15 bedrooms in order to operate an HMO. The front of this house has a symmetrical façade, with modernised windows, below a pitched roof with two slight gabled projections at the two facade extremities. The new scheme would add an extra bay to the front façade in the same style, which would be co-ordinated with the present reconstruction of two thirds of the rear elevation. The latter would have very utilitarian, casement windows – above which there would be four dormers in a hipped roof.
The Society is not especially impressed by the design but more importantly, we think the question should be asked by the Planning Department : as to whether or not poor quality properties of this sort are desired for students and working people in this part of Boscombe; and if not should general development be concentrated on creating more spacious family accommodation instead.
In these circumstances, we suggest that since this proposal does not come up to the standards of the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further discussion.
81 Broadway ( Hengistbury Head ) Ref. No. 7-2022-28255-A
This is an application to build a dwelling house on the rear section of quite a large site that was developed in the form of a family residence in quasi-modernist style during the mid Twentieth Century. The new house, which would be approached from Wildown Road, would be constructed in modernised (part chalet ) Arts and Crafts style under a prominent hipped roof which would reach down to the ground floor on the rear façade. There would be a slight projection, including a two storey , gabled window, across two thirds of the principal façade; fenestration would be symmetrical and consist of sets of two, three and four sets of vertical casement windows.
The Society observes that, irrespective of its fairly original design what is proposed is quite a substantial residence and it is our opinion that the intended, restricted site is far too small to enable the advantages of such a residence to be fully appreciated. We think that if the scheme went ahead, it would amount to over development – indeed no other house in the adjacent Broadway has any other property on the rear part of the site.
Therefore the Society has decided that since this proposal does not respect the townscape policies
of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused.
709 Christchurch Road Ref. No. 7-2-22-5954-M
This is an application to restore and part reconstruct a well known 1930’s building that was constructed in the then fashionable Art Deco/International Moderne style as show rooms and retail space for the local gas company. The structure was designed by the architectural firm, Seal and Partners, who were also responsible for the Palace Court Hotel and part responsible for the Echo Office on Richmond Hill. The very distinctive street façade exhibits with its distinctive windows, rounded corners, glass staircase tower and flat roof a strong horizontal and streamlined emphasis typical of the period. However in recent years the building has been unoccupied and is in need of considerable repair. The proposed scheme would be to restore the ground floor to retail use, to rebuild the back part of the building, and to increase to two storeys the two rear extensions. Six new flats would be created by these works and two larger apartments would be built on the site of the detached outbuildings in the courtyard behind.
Generally speaking the Society approves of this proposal. We note that the main achievement is the preservation of the Modernist principal façade. Although some remnants of the internal decoration will be preserved we fully accept that comprehensive modernisation of that portion of the building reserved for the new flats is essential . In this way we believe an historical reminder of a distinctive era in the history of Bournemouth will be preserved.
Consequently since this proposal fulfils quite adequately, the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, the Society thinks it should be allowed.
21 Knole Road (near Southcote Road ) Ref. No. 7-2022-247941
This is an application to make substantial alterations to a late nineteenth century mansion block in order to establish an headquarters for Kehilas Adas Yisroel, a religious charitable organisation.
The existing building is of three storeys with a rectangular and a polygonal corner projection on the south facade and with symmetrically positioned fenestration in the form of modern sash windows.
The basic change would be the imposition of a modernistic style on the existing façade of the building. Thus clusters of tall, quite narrow, vertical modern windows would be inserted on both the ground and first floors and separated from each other by varying widths of plain white wall. The main entrance would be at the N.E. corner and consist of double glass doors with a very large gabled window above; the door and window elements being separated by wooden close boarding.
The Society strongly disapproves of this scheme. Here is an attempt to completely alter in a completely unsuitable way, an original building that was originally designed for quite a different purpose. We think what is proposed is an extremely insensitive design which if carried forward, would upset the existing aesthetic harmony of this historic residential neighbourhood – as well as resulting in the loss of valuable accommodation. In particular we find that the existing proportional balance between the depth of the roof and the ratio of wall to window on the facades would not exist with the new design.
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.
509 Christchurch Road, Boscombe Ref. No. 7-2022-5954-I
This is an application to construct a three storey block of three flats on a vacant site on the corner of Adeline Road and Roumelia Lane. The site is the last vacant space in a continuous series of mainly two storey buildings that were created to service the rapidly growing retail area of west Boscombe in the late Nineteenth Century.
The building would be a three storey block with a hipped roof in traditional style. The main south elevation would consist of a prominent, three storey, bay window; each floor having four light window clusters. There would be three light window clusters on the rest of the façade. The west elevation would have two entrances and two sets of symmetrically positioned windows above.
The Society usually strongly disapproves of small infill developments on the periphery of internal back courts. However in this case, on account of the existence of an already quite dense, urban network, we think that this proposal would finally complete an almost complete, continuous series of subsidiary buildings behind the retail area on Christchurch Road. However, in order to preserve a reasonable level of spatial continuity, we suggest that one story be removed from the design and replaced with accommodation in the roof and lit by dormers.
Therefore the Society is of the opinion that on account of this proposal not fully complying with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further discussion.
Glenferness Avenue Ref. No. 7-2022-28280
This is an application to demolish the existing pedestrian bridge parallel to the existing late nineteenth century road bridge over the railway in Glenferness Avenue – and to construct two new bridges for pedestrians and cyclists either side of the present structure. The site is within the Talbot Woods and Meyrick Park Conservation Area.
The Society has always been aware of sharply differing attitudes that have surrounded this conundrum. On the one hand, on account of the relatively narrow width of the bridge, there have long been demands for extra provisions to make this crossing point much safer for pedestrians and cyclists. At present it is often necessary for the latter to cross a busy Glenferness Avenue to use the only bridge now available. On the other hand others feel that the elegant appearance of the brick arched bridge, viewed at some distance in conjunction with the adjacent, fine mature landscape is an appropriate enhancement for Bournemouth as one of the earliest Garden City resorts.
Of the over 30 local residents who sent in their views, although a significant minority felt the new bridges were unnecessary, a majority of respondents were very much in favour of the change on the general grounds of safety and convenience. However the heritage section of the BCP Planning Department felt that the proposed design of the two bridges, especially the balustrades, were not especially well designed and being built at a higher level than the road bridge, a full view of the latter would be obscured from the Elgin and Rothesay Road bridges. It was also felt that the new bridges should be no longer than the existing bridge and that the balustrade design should be improved. The extent of the possible loss of fine trees in the creation of foundation works was another problem to be solved.
The Society, having considered the issues makes the following suggestions. We think there is an overwhelming case for two new bridges on grounds of road safety. We realise that the chief necessity is to create subsidiary bridges that are as transparent and least view blocking as possible. Therefore we agree that each bridge must be built at exactly the same level and at exactly the same length as the road bridge. The most radical change, however the Society thinks should be in the design of the new balustrades. Our suggestion is that instead of using diagonal bracing elements to design the balustrades which are used in bridges all over the world, the structure should be made up of many vertical steel braces ( designed to resemble wrought iron railings ) which would fully compliment the Victorian brickwork when viewed from a distance. Finally the Society feels that in order to reduce to a minimum the removal of mature trees, it mst be possible to support the two bridges on two, semi-circular cantilever steel arches ( spatially centred on the central brick arch ) which would not only be visually pleasing but entail far less deep excavation in the cuttings and landscape disturbance.
Therefore we have come to the conclusion that because this proposal does not fully comply with the conservation policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further discussion