PLANNING APPLICATIONS RECEIVED BY THE BOURNEMOUTH PLANNING DEPARTMENT DURING JULY 2021 – A CRITIQUE BY JOHN SOANE, BUILT ENVIRONMENT CONSULTANT TO BOURNEMOUTH CIVIC SOCIETY
8a Wharfdale Road Ref. No. 7-2021-0503-R
This is an application to construct a large block of 46 flats ranging in height from 2 storeys to 9 on a large, partially former industrial site in the vicinity of Wessex Way and Queens Road. The built foot print would be extremely large in comparison with those of the existing small houses at the entrance to the site in Wharfdale Road. The block would be built very close to Wharfdale Service Road overlooking Wessex Way.
The proposed new structure would be generally in the shape of a rectangle with part of the east and west elevations stepped down to 5 and then 2 storeys – parking and servicing being situated on the ground floor. The main facades are designed in the modernist style with symmetrically arranged fenestration sequences of vertical, single and double windows and French windows with balconies. Certain sections of the façade fenestration would be emphasised by the use of contrasting building materials.
The Society strongly feels that not only is this building extremely banal and unimaginative, it would also stick out like a sore thumb, being built in such a prominent position so close to Wessex Way. In order to preserve a clear perspective along one of the principal throughfares leading into Bournemouth, permission has never been given for any very high structures to be built near Wessex Way since this route was constructed over 30 years ago.
In addition local comment is of the opinion that the excessive size of the new building would exert a negative impact on the existing more intimate, social character of the adjacent houses which are only between 2 and 4 storeys high. It was felt that the suggestion made in the Design Report that the proposed structure would blend easily with neighbouring buildings of similar height was not accurate. We therefore think that what is proposed is just not suitable for the site in question and that a less massive, more sensitive design be substituted in its place. Consequently we have decided that since this proposal is in no way compatible with the planning policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused.
178 Cranleigh Road, West Southbourne Ref. No. 7-2021-26492
This is an application to construct two detached dwelling houses on a triangular site at the junction of Cranleigh and Merrivale Avenue in West Southbourne. Each house of two storeys would be designed in the inter war suburban style and the built foot print of each would consist of a single rectangle with projecting wings to the east. The principal facades of both houses would encompass two story gabled bay windows and prominent pitched roofs. The Society is of the opinion that although the appearance of the new houses would be complementary to the existing neighbourhood, the proposed site is just too small to accommodate two houses. We therefore share local opinion that one new property is sufficient. Therefore we think that because this proposal does not respect the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused.
4 Talbot Avenue Ref. No. 7-2021-1856-D
This is an application to construct a substantial two storey extension to create new flats at the south east corner of an early twentieth century substantial Arts and Craft style family house in Talbot Avenue, part of the Talbot Woods Conservation Area. The existing S.E. elevation has a well modulated, integrated design incorporating elaborate chimney supports, a half timbered gable, a neo-baroque main entrance and a prominent hipped roof. The new extension would appear as an extension of the latter in the same style and roof form and include another half timbered gable and distinctive clusters of vertical casement windows with upper divisions. The opposite N.E. elevation would be more asymmetrical in appearance.
However the Society perceives that here is a clever attempt to increase substantially the volume of residential living space by disguising the extension in the historic dress of the original building. It this proposal is approved we feel strongly that the result would be a serious destabilization of the particular aesthetic sensibility of the original planned design. The mature balance between built upon and un built upon space which is such a feature of the unique series of fine houses and integrated gardens that make up the townscape of Talbot Avenue, we see being threatened by this extension. Therefore the Society concludes that because this proposal does not comply witht the Conservation policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused.
6 St. Michaels Road Ref. No. 7-2021-3772-P
This is an application by a business group to create a new mezzanine flat roof at the existing roof level of this neo baroque structure (the former Conservative club) and a new hipped main roof supported by a new low main wall above the original colonnade with symmetrically positioned small windows – three either side of the main pediment. The structure lies in the West Cliff and Poole Hill Conservation Area. A considerable number of solar panels would be positioned on the new flat and hipped roofs and in other parts of the site. Although certain visual changes to the principal façade would be apparent, the Society is of the opinion that overall, the visual appearance of this historic building would not be seriously threatened.
Consequently we feel that since this proposal does not threaten the conservation policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan it should be allowed.
718 Christchurch Road Ref. No. 7-2021-3357-E
This is an application to build a two storey extension to form two new dwellings at the rear of a two story retail/residential complex dating from the late Nineteenth Century. The proportions and general shape of the extension are similar to the existing structure – including modern sash windows and an extended hipped roof. The new rear elevation includes French windows on both floors and a balcony on the first floor.
The Society observes that the alterations would not change excessively the present ratio to built and unbuilt space on the site. Therefore since the rear sections of adjacent site appear to be equally built up, we feel what is proposed is reasonable. The Society has therefore decided that since this application respects the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be allowed.
31 East Way Ref. No. 7-2021-27950-A
This is an application to construct a final house at the end of an existing terrace of houses. The principal elevation would replicate the appearance of the present end house with one window and the main entrance below and two windows above plus an intermediate vertical stair light window. The Society has decided that since only quite small gaps already exist between other sections of this terrace further along the street, there is just room for this new property to be fitted in to the terrace ensemble.
Upon consideration we have therefore decided that the particular circumstances ensure that this proposal abides by the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan and so we suggest it is allowed.
2 Oban Road Ref. No. 7-2021-5804-H
This is an application to construct a new family residence on a new site created from part of an existing, developed site in the early Twentieth Century. It is situated within the Talbot Woods Conservation Area. The design of the original house was much influenced by the then fashionable Arts and Crafts style and, in common with many adjacent properties in this part of Bournemouth was set in spacious gardens on a large plot. The new house would generally follow interwar precedents and be in the form of a square three bay structure with a hipped roof with a two storey and an upper floor, bay window on the principal elevation – with French windows to the rear. As with our discussion on the extension proposed for 4 Talbot Avenue (1856-D ), the Society thinks it would be setting a bad precedent to allow considerable further building on these developed sites in the Talbot Woods area where the aesthetic sensibility between built upon and non built upon space is so finely balanced.
Therefore after proper consideration, we feel that since this proposal does not respect the conservation policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused.
9/11 Upper Norwich Road Ref. No. 7-2021-1680-Y
This is an application to construct a three to four storey block of flats on the site of smaller, semi detached, residential properties. The site lies in a narrow road that was built to service the large retail and residential establishments on Poole Hill that were built during the later Nineteenth Century. The design of the new building would be in modernised Arts and Craft style and the rectangular built foot print would divide the building into two blocks connected by a recessed staircase link . On both the two principal elevations of the block there would be distinctive hipped roofs (incorporating gables) and a generally symmetrical balanced ratio between wall and vertical casement windows.
The Society has concluded that in spite of variations in site levels, the basic mass and form of the new structure should fit in quite well with the generally larger sizes of developed plots on the north side of Upper Norwich Road. However we would suggest that the somewhat abrupt contrast between the glassed in staircase hall and the neighbouring sections of the new block is jarring. We think that a framework less reliant on such large sheets of glass would make a better design connection between the two portions of the block.
Consequently the Society has concluded that because this proposal does not completely fulfil the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further consideration.
New Westcliff Hotel, 27-29 Chine Crescent Road Ref. No. 7-2021-4909-AN
This is an application to construct a five storey block of 22 flats on the site of the existing hotel – a much altered, palatial, family residence dating from the late Nineteenth Century. The site lies within the West Cliff and Poole Hill Conservation Area.
The new structure would be built in the style of all purpose mansion blocks that were becoming increasingly popular in Bournemouth as 1900 approached. The principal elevation would include two end projections embracing two four storey bay windows ending in two barge boarded gables and merging into a prominent hipped roof with two dormers. Fenestration would be in the form of modern vertical sash windows. Half the rear ( western ) elevation would be slightly projected with French windows and imitation wrought iron balconies at either extremity. The flats would be relatively spacious with two bathrooms in most flats. With regard to the ever present problem of adequate parking, we suggest that some common underground provision, with possibly some public help, might be a reasonable solution for this and similar redeveloped sites in this holiday area.
Although the Society regrets the passing of yet another well established hotel on the West Cliff, we must bow to the inevitable and accept that some hotels can be very expensive to renovate and that there is now increased demand for self catering facilities at maritime holiday resorts. Therefore we can hope that the Council’s insistence that a certain proportion of new flats on the West Cliff must be reserved for holiday makers and that existing hotels must either be modernised sensitively or that their replacements harmonise with the original townscape of this part of Bournemouth. What is actually proposed as a replacement for the New Westcliff Hotel, the Society considers to be reasonably suitable for the site.
Therefore, taking everything into account, we think that since this proposal generally has satisfied the conservation policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be allowed.
3 Corhampton Road Ref. No. 7-2021-9129-C
This is an application to build a two storey block of five flats on the site of an inter war detached, bay windowed, suburban house – situated between Christchurch and the main railway line in west Southbourne. The built footprint of the new structure would be at least a quarter to a third larger than that of the existing house. The block would be in the form of a rectangular shape and designed in modernised Arts and Crafts style. The principal façade would contain symmetrically positioned, two storied bay windows with a prominent roof and gables above.
Although the Society find the proposed design, in itself, quite acceptable in its mass and form; taken in context we think the new structure would be considerably out of scale with the surrounding buildings. Indeed 60 local residents expressed strong reservations that because what was proposed was substantially more massive than the majority of their homes, the social cohesion of the area would be put at risk. A condition further imperilled by increased parking problems and the loss of mature landscape.
Therefore having thought carefully about this conundrum, the Society thinks that so great appears to be the pressure in this area against what is now proposed, that the best course of action would be either outright refusal or the adoption of a much smaller rebuilding plan – for example just two semi-detached houses.
Consequently, under the circumstances, we think that because this proposal has not fully satisfied the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further discussion.
Glen Fern Multi-storey Car Park; South Western House, Fir Vale Road Ref. No. 7-2021-1958-DO
Building of a mixed development – leisure, commercial, residential.
A very provisional and incomplete plan has been received under which all the commercial, hospitality and car parking buildings that were put up between Glen Fern and Fir Vale Roads in the 1960’s would be demolished and new strictures in the form of a hotel, apartments and leisure and entertainment facilities built instead. There is as yet no clear idea as to how the new buildings would look. However in general terms it is likely that substantial structures would be constructed along Fir Vale Road and Glen Fern Road. At the junction of the latter two roads, they would be separated by a wide, first floor roof garden and linked together by more structures at the rear of the site parallel with the rear of the retail facilities at Horseshoe Common. At the far end of Glen Fern Road there would be a short wing, possibly connected to the hotel. An open meeting to observe the plans in detail will be held at the Russell Cotes Museum on 8th September from 2 p.m.