PLANNING APPLICATIONS RECEIVED BY THE BOURNEMOUTH PLANNING DEPARTMENT DURING JULY 2020 – A CRITIQUE BY JOHN SOANE, BUILT ENVIRONMENT CONSULTANT TO BOURNEMOUTH CIVIC SOCIETY
6 Saint Michael’s Road Ref. No. 7-2020-3772-M
This is an application to construct two mezzanine floors within the late nineteenth century former Freemasons Hall ( 1877 ) in Saint Michael’s Road. The buildings has an elaborate neo-baroque style principal elevation with a central pediment, Roman Doric pilasters, arched windows and an elaborate main entrance at one side. The building is within the West Cliff and Poole Hill Conservation Area.
The alterations will be mainly internal but the blank rear elevation would receive three new arched windows and a new arched door.
The Society feels that the visual changes to the rear elevation will improved the general appearance of this part of the building. Therefore we are agreed that since this planning application fulfils the conservation policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan it should be allowed
This is an application to build a two and a half storey block of 8 flats on the site of a late nineteenth century family house; the built foot print would be somewhat larger than that of neighbouring properties. The front elevation would include a gabled projection ( in conjunction with a two storey bay window and a prominent, corner prospect tower. The first floor of the central part of the main façade would have a balcony of traditional imitation iron railings and above there would be a distinctive hipped roof. Fenestration would be symmetrically positioned in the form of modern sash windows.
The Society accepts the fact that in this part of Boscombe, there has been a certain trend in recent years to replace the existing houses by modern flat blocks designed in the form of modern renditions of the original historicist architecture of the Victorian era. However even if such a development may create a relatively plausible visual perspective along Florence Road, the Society is strongly against the gradual loss of the original architecture of the area. We feel that a special effort should be made by the Planning Department to restrict further depredations of this kind. Consequently in case a change of intention eventually is likely concerning this application, we think that because the latter does not fully comply with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred fur further discussion.
127 West Way Ref. No 7-2020-23064-A
This is an application to extend the rear elevation of a conventional, mid twentieth century, suburban house; the building would be enlarged by just over a quarter. The new façade would be given a more complex hipped roof and larger, central French windows. Other new windows would be of different sizes and asymmetrically positioned.
The Society is of the opinion that although the building alterations are of a generally utilitarian nature, the result new rear façade is of quite poor quality and could be improved. Thus although two of the new rooms on the first floor of the new façade are quite small, we think that the three equally sized, first floor windows that existed on the original façade should be reinstated. Also that either side of the new central French windows on the ground floor, there should be substantial vertical windows of equal dimensions.
Therefore the Society has concluded that since this application does not adhere to the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further discussion
60 Surrey Road Ref. No. 7-2020-11862-E
This is an application to construct a modern three to four storey block of 12 flats on the site of an existing mid twentieth century family residence which had been converted into five flats.
The building would be constructed according to quasi traditional proportions with corner projections and a hipped roof, but with a modernist architectural treatment of the principal and rear elevations. There would be prominent double French/glass windows with balcony railings on all floors of the projections and a pronounced asymmetrical positioning of rectangular windows on the central parts of the facades.
The Society feel what is proposed is an uninspired, banal design, exhibiting some of the influences of passe 1960’s modernism; if built it would certainly look out of place amongst the more traditionally designed properties in the immediate vicinity. Indeed in the design statement there is considerable space given to describing the practical advantages of the dimensions of the new structure but not any mention of the aesthetic impact of the latter on the surrounding townscape.
Further, we are well aware that the visual appearance of Surrey Road either side of the vicinity of the site in question has been altered considerably by the construction of modern blocks of flats. But this is not the case in the general area of 60 Surrey Road where there is a much greater survival of original structures. The Society therefore hopes that the BCP Planning Committee will continue to exercise the same level of townscape care shown by the Planning Board of the old Bournemouth Borough Council – as in the well integrated design of adjacent blocks of flats in Prince of Wales Road a few years ago – so that a degree of sensitive perception will continue to treat particular original integrated sections of townscape as complete urban elements of townscape as deserving of special treatment in themselves, when judging the suitability of new planning applications. Therefore we very much hope that the lack of any aesthetic understanding in respect to new building developments often exhibited by the old Poole Planning Department will never become a negative characteristic of BCP Council.
The Society suggests a more integrated, less overtly modernistic and certainly less austere design and with a considerably smaller built footprint for 60 Surrey Road.
We have therefore concluded that since this application in no way fulfils the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused.
16 Stevenson Road Ref. No. 7-2020-10110-E
This is an application to make alterations and extensions to a conventional, interwar, family suburban residence.
It would seem from the plans that what is actually proposed appears as a full scale reconstruction of the existing property in quasi modernist style. The architectural character of the original structure would no longer exist and in its place would come a building topped by a pitched roof with three gables and where three of the elevations would contain mainly large windows of differing sizes and placed in unregularized positions on the facades. One of the long side elevations would be almost entirely wall and there would be a one story projection to the rear with a roof terrace above.
The Society is not especially impressed by the design. We think it is a clumsy attempt to appear both modern and yet also keep a traditional ambience at the same time. From our experience of previous applications, such a synthesis, as in this case, never usually work. And indeed here in Stevenson Road the appearance of this new building would have a detrimental effect on the integrated appearance of the remaining inter war properties. We would suggest a more sensitive and less overtly modernistic adaption of the existing accommodation at 16 Stevenson Road. However judging from the intended uses of the new rooms, the latter could easily be adapted into three flats.
Under the circumstances, because this proposal does not fully satisfy the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, we suggest it be deferred for further discussion.
2 Midland Road Ref. No. 7-2020-12806-F
This is an application to construct a two and a half storey block of six flats on the site of several structures related to mixed uses. The property would have a somewhat larger built footprint than adjacent properties and be in the style of a Georgian small house/cottage with a hipped roof, symmetrical modern sash windows and a central entrance with skylight.
The Society feel that although the general appearance of the proposed structure would fit in reasonably well with the somewhat varied late nineteenth century residential townscape of the neighbourhood, the dimensions of the building are rather excessive for the area and should be reduced. Fears have been expressed by local residents that the small flats of the property would be used by students which would cause disruptions to family life and children living in foster care.
In these circumstances we would suggest that since this application does not fully satisfy the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further discussion.
11 Bodorgan Road Ref. No. 7-2020-1216-V
This is an application to construct a three storey terrace of semi-detached dwelling houses in late nineteenth century Arts and Crafts style, on the site of a mid twentieth century bungalow of no architectural value. The site is within the Meyrick Park Conservation Area. The new built foot print would be considerably larger than the existing one. The principal and rear elevations would be generally symmetrically designed with complex hipped roofs. The principal elevation would have a central projection with a prominent, two storey bay window attached. Regularly positioned fenestration with imitation iron railing balconies on the first floor would be in the form of single or double sash windows (in conjunction with French window attachments) with upper divisions. The rear elevation would imitate the principal façade in a simpler form. A difference in gradients on the site would allow underground parking under the principal elevation.
In general terms the Society is quite happy with the general appearance of the design but feel the dimensions and mass are too large for the site. We suggest that the terrace be shortened by one or two residential units.
Consequently, since that application does not fully comply with the conservation policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, we recommend that it be deferred for further discussion.
Rear of 677A Christchurch Road Ref. No 7-2020-2007-AQ
This is an application to extend part of the foyer of a redundant cinema that faces Christchurch Road into a small, two bedroom dwelling, which would be reached by a narrow private way from Heathcote Road. A staircase block would be attached to the outside.
The Society consider that the site of this proposed accommodation is totally unsuitable for human habitation. The rooms would be very closely surrounded by high buildings which would severely limit the penetration of sufficient light and air. We respectively ask the Planning Department to take effective measures to prevent further attempts to squeeze in minuscule accommodation on totally unsuitable sites similar to 677A Christchurch Road.
Under the circumstances, since this application completely fails the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, we have no choice but to recommend that it be refused.
Walpole Road – Open Space Ref. No. 7-2020-7347-G
This is an application by BCP Council to build a new café/community centre in one corner of Churchill Gardens, a public, rectangular open space surrounded by terraced dwellings built in Art and Crafts style in the late Nineteenth Century.
The Society fully agrees with the Council that Churchill Gardens is a most popular and much used pleasure area and serves a most valuable purpose in a part of Boscombe that is battling to overcome drug and other social problems. Under such circumstances, BCP Council wish to improve the facilities offered in this open space by the construction of a new café/community to serve as a café, meeting place and centre for instruction in different fields for the benefit of local young people.
The new structure would be built in the form of a rectangle and consist of large vertical orientated windows between regularly spaced supporting divisions; above which would be a distinctive entablature and a flat roof ending in a rectangular cupola.
The Society thinks the suggested design is particularly elegant for such an honourable purpose and recommend it be granted without reservation.
212-214 Castle Lane West Ref. No. 7-2020-24978-D
This is an application to construct two, two storey linked blocks containing six small flats on two adjacent sites each occupied by individual properties.
The double blocks would be designed in a modernised, traditional form with two gable projections on the principal elevation with a distinctive, hipped roof above. Fenestration would be in the form of symmetrically positioned vertical, double or triple sash windows. The rear elevation has four pairs of French windows on the ground floor, off centre with the windows above on the first floor.
Although the Society is reasonably content with the general design, we question whether the gradual replacement of mid twentieth century bungalows in Castle Lane West is a sensible course to take. Affordable family properties along Castle Lane have always been popular and local opinion is worried about the lack of sufficient parking spaces. Perhaps on account of the presence of quite large buildings in the vicinity of the adjacent roundabout, such a development can be accommodated, but the Society would ask the Planning Department to decide whether it is a good idea to encourage further two storey flat developments further along Castle Lane.
However under the particular circumstances of this site we think that since this application has not deliberately transgressed the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be allowed.
Durley Chine Depot, Durley Chine Ref. No. 7-2020-18304-S
This is an application to redevelop various council service buildings and 11 beach huts at the Durley Depot on the Bournemouth Undercliff to create an environmental educational centre, along with a café, toilets, staff facilities and storage space. This is part of the general long term plan to enhance the facilities and attractions along the Bournemouth Undercliff.
The structure will be constructed mainly in wood and will consist of a wide gallery, toped by a distinctive sloping roof, that will contain a café and toilets as well as various ecological exhibits. Beyond will be the two story, educational and staff block, consisting of seminar and class rooms together with staff refreshment and washing facilities. At right angels to this block will be a series of storage facilities for use by council employees.
The Society is quite satisfied with this quite original design – we hope it will be strong enough to cope with the strong gales that regularly come up the Channel. However we do think that the asymmetrical placing of the windows on the seaward façade of the educational/staff block is unnecessary; a more regular fenestration scheme would be better.
All in all, we believe the new building which would be dedicated to maritime ecology, is a most worthwhile venture in this era of climate change. But since it does not quite fulfil the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, we feel it should be deferred for further discussion.
Hicks Common Sang : new parking arrangements.
An extension of new parking facilities has been applied for by BCP Council in the general vicinity of the natural landscape park which has been established around Hicks Farm, Throop Mill and the River Stour. Various forms of landscape : hedgerows, wetlands, meadows and woods are being preserved in the area and the new developments are mainly to improve the facilities for future increases in visitor numbers. The enhancement of this natural area is also being undertaken as a compensation for the loss of natural habitat at the Winter Gardens that will occur as a result of the new development scheme for this part of Central Bournemouth.
The Civic Society fully supports the principal of these enhanced facilities in conjunction with the natural landscape park at Throop but is concerned that they must be carefully thought through by the Council so do not increase the traffic, parking and useage of the green belt and open space here at a detriment to its character and appearance.