PLANNING APPLICATIONS RECEIVED BY BOURNEMOUTH PLANNING DEPARTMENT IN JUNE 2018 A CRITIQUE BY JOHN SOANE, BUILT ENVIRONMENT CONSULTANT TO BOURNEMOUTH CIVIC SOCIETY
10-12 Lorne Park Road, The Lansdowne Ref. No. 7-2018-11888-E
This is an application to construct a four storey block of ten flats in modernist style on the site of a pair of semi-detached, late nineteenth century conventional houses.
According to the initial plans, the built footprint of what is proposed would be larger than that of the existing structure and would be substantially higher by one storey. The principal facade would be divided by a narrow concrete support into two equal sections in which the first three storeys would be filled by fairly large, vertical windows arranged in a relatively symmetrical manner. Above would be a slightly indented penthouse storey with asymmetrical front facade and a flat roof. The two main entrances would be on the ground floor which would also serve as a storage area for the whole block.
The Society feel what is offered is a very unimaginative design even if the general proportions of the structure in relation to adjacent properties are generally adequate. Granted that in Lorne Park Road there has been a steady replacement of, it must be admitted, the somewhat unexceptional original properties there, we think that this site which is between a recently completed modern block of flats and a Victorian mansion block, should have a form which although essentially modern should create a plausible aesthetic step between the modern flats and the nineteenth century structure. We therefore suggest a more sensitive arrangement of the windows in relation to the rest of the facade and a more integrated and tapering shape for the penthouse storey.
We have therefore concluded that since this application does not satisfy the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused for further discussion. (Policy 4.19,i,ii,iii )
8 Carbery Avenue, West Southbourne Ref. No. 7-2018-2515-I
This is an application to construct four dwelling houses in the form of a two storey rectangular block, designed in the general shape of a large early twentieth century family house with a prominent hipped roof but with distinctly modernist architectural features.
The built footprint would be considerably bigger than that of the bungalow at present on the site; a high proportion of the principal facade – with a slight projection – would consist of large double or triple, square/rectangular windows with glass balconies on the first floor. The rear facade, also with a projection, would have very prominent, French windows on the ground floor; there would be three entrances to the flats from the side and one from the front.
The Society feel that not only is the proposed design excessively out of scale in comparison with the smaller dimensions of neighbouring properties, the mish-mash of traditional and modernist features would make it aesthetically impossible for the new building to enhance the existing townscape. And this criticism is strongly echoed by 19 letters of comment written by local residents. Strong fears were expressed that the 1930’s appearance and family life style of the existing area would be compromised, not just by the alien appearance of the new building, but by the higher density of the new houses created by the greater number and smaller size of the residential units. It was feared that the greater provision for car parking would considerably reduce the quality of the mature natural landscape that had grown up over the years. In particular, the Society would concur strongly with the general view that if such flat developments were not immediately stopped, they would pose a serious threat to the existing tranquil character of this part of West Southbourne.
We have therefore decided that since this application does not fulfil the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused. (Policy 4.19,i,ii,iii )
46-48 Dalmeny Road by Harbour Road, Southbourne Ref. No. 7-2018-2567-J
This is an application to construct an integrated two and a half storey block of 9 flats on the site of two substantial and quite well designed, mid twentieth century detached houses. The principal facade would consist of three distinct gabled sections and where architectural divisions would be strongly emphasised by contrasting concrete elements in the modernist style. A smaller gable would exist on the more irregular side elevation in Harbour Road. Fenestration in general would be quite un integrated with an deliberate asymmetrical relationship between window and wall rations in two of the main gable sections; the corner main gable has large glass panels right across the two lower floors .
The Society echoes the general criticism contained in 39 letters of comment by local residents that what is proposed is simply far too large and stylistically out of character with the existing houses in the neighbourhood. As such there is a general feeling which we share that further flat development is simply not the best course of action for this predominantly house orientated area. Indeed it was noted that the new block would exceed the existing building line and thus create a visual hazard for traffic going along the coast roads. Therefore in view of the fact that flat proposals in well established, family orientated, residential areas in Bournemouth often generate a very considerable amount of trenchant opposition by the local inhabitants; most earnestly, we would ask the Bournemouth Planning Department to evolve a policy that would spare the inhabitants of such neighbourhoods the further worry of such misplaced development schemes.
Accordingly, we are of the opinion that since this application does not comply with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should not be allowed. (Policy 4.19,i,ii,iii )
3 The Triangle (facing on to Norwich Road ) Ref. No. 7-2018-1306-O
This is an application to build a two story extension in the form of two flats to an existing late nineteenth century shop in the rear yard of the property. The area in question would be very small and built between the existing walls of neighbouring properties. The end elevation of the extension would be very utilitarian and would encompass two rectangular windows near an entrance door and a flat roof.
The Society strongly feel that the exceptionally restricted space allotted to the flats is totally inadequate to sustain a reasonably civilized existence for the residents. We note that barely enough light enters the very small rooms to give adequate lighting; the comparison with the more spacious rooms in the accommodation as part of the original building on the site is palpable. We also think that the design of the new end extension on the site (if design is the right word) is unbelievably crass – it appears to be a left over from the insensitive urbanism of the 1960’s.
Therefore on hygienic, social and aesthetic grounds, the Society has no hesitation in suggesting that since this application in no way whatsoever complies with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused. ( Policy 4.19,i,ii,iii )
1079A-1083 Christchurch Road, Boscombe Ref. No. 6608-H
This is an application to construct a two and a half storey block of four flats including commercial space in place of the existing original building.
The new structure would be designed in traditional, late nineteenth century, retail/ residential style and the built footprint would not be so different from a fair number of nearby retail properties . On the principal elevation there would be a modernised almost traditional shop front and above there would be two large gables that would merge into the steeply pitched roof. The rear extension of one and a half storeys would have a smaller pitched roof. Fenestration would be in the form of traditional casements symmetrically positioned with arched gable windows. Since this structure would hardly be any higher than neighbouring buildings the Society consider this design is a suitable replacement for the original property and would fit in well with adjacent structures.
We therefore are of the opinion that since this application complies with the townscape provisions of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be allowed. (Policy 4.19,i,ii,iii )
3 Edge Hill Road, Winton Ref. No. 7-2018 – 27073
This is an application to construct three separate dwelling houses on the site of an existing larger building within an early twentieth century neighbourhood of small detached properties.
Each house would be designed in a similar suburban Arts and Crafts design and the principal feature of the front elevation would be a substantial projection encompassing a two storey bay window ending in a large gable as part of a distinctive pitched roof.
The Society feels that the building of these houses would be quite complimentary to the style of the adjacent structures in the road; further the built footprint of the new properties and their spatial layout would help restore the original, visual appearance of this part of Edgehill Road when first built.
We have therefore decided that because this application meets the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be allowed. (Policy 4.19, i, ii, iii )
Former Pembroke Hotel, 13-22 Poole Hill Ref. No. 7-2018-4704-AC
This is an application for a general renovation of the historic, Grade II listed, former Pembroke Hotel on Poole Hill in order to create a modern restaurant/hospitality facility. The building lies within the West Cliff and Poole Hill Conservation Area.
The exterior of the property is a distinguished mid-Victorian classical design with a well proportioned three storey facade flanked by pilasters and with an impressive central entrance. Apart from general renovation and the placing of more sensitive signage the appearance of the principal elevation will be little changed. However the interior and the rear facade are much decayed and will be extensively renovated. The walls and especially the windows of the rear facade need to be repaired and where necessary renewed. The interior divisions are set to be altered to improve the efficiency of the hospitality services. The small courtyard at the rear will be redesigned as an open air cafe and bar.
The Society strongly recommends this development: one of the iconic buildings of early Victorian Bournemouth will be renovated in a similar fashion to adjacent, well designed classical style buildings on Poole Hill and in this way the very distinctive architectural qualities of this area (which also includes the upper Commercial Road) will be preserved.
Therefore since this application fully complies with the conservation policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, we recommend it be approved. (Policy 4.4, i, ii, iii )
14-20a Belle Vue Road , Southbourne Ref. No. 7-2018-20591-A
This is the second application to construct two inter connected three and a half storey blocks containing 40 sheltered flats on the site of four modern bungalows. One block would have the general shape of a late nineteenth century mansion block but would be wholly modern in its architectural appointments. There would be two projections (one large and one small) merging into the hipped roof and the very extensive fenestration would be in the form of glass panels and French windows with balconies. The second block, which would be connected to the first one by a three storey glass link would be uncompromisingly modernist in appearance and consist of a series of receding sized concrete encased box like shapes filled by glass panels and French windows.
There has been an unprecedented negative response to this proposals in the form of no less than 171 letters of comment from local residents. The main complaint with which the Civic Society concurs is that the built footprint and general mass of what is proposed is far too large for the small scale of the individual bungalows and houses of the surrounding area. It was felt that the structure would overwhelm the gardens of many existing properties by considerably restricting light and privacy thereby degrading the community value that still exist in the neighbourhood. There was the general feeling that further blocks of flats and retirement complexes were not needed, but more small, affordable family houses would be far better appreciated. Yet more residential units it was strongly believed would create yet more traffic and thus a further degradation of the peaceful family atmosphere of this part of Southbourne.
The Civic Society therefore supports all these contentions and so thinks that because this application in no way fulfils the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan it should be refused. (Policy 4.19,i,ii,iii)
Old Echo Office building, Richmond Hill Ref. No. 7-2018-2004-Z
This is an application generally to renovate and enhance the complex of buildings constructed between c.1930 and 1970 for the production of the Bournemouth Daily Echo. It would entail interior changes and improvements of the original International Moderne Echo Office building the removal of unplanned built extensions that have been added since the 1930’s, the adding of a new mezzanine level, the construction of a two/three story block of 53 bedrooms at the rear of the site and the enhancement of the 1960’s extension in Albert Road. The new space would have mixed uses – including office space, working areas for inventors and entrepreneurs and also a new hotel complete with cafe and bars.
According to the design report the purpose of the proposal is to bring back this well known building into the local economy and to modernize for more creative use the historic rooms and spaces of the original Echo building. At the same time it was felt necessary for financial reasons, completely to modernise the less architecturally distinguished, post war extensions to the rear for hospitality use.
Further in order to visually balance as far as possible the new rear extension the corners of the latter would be curved (streamlined) so as to match the same characteristic in the Echo building. In addition, wrap around windows on the front facade of the new extension would be used to harmonize with similar forms of fenestration on the front of the original structure. Although the dark material chosen for the new extension is very contemporary,we feel that the effect would show up in high relief the completely restored International Moderne facade of the Echo building. In Albert Road, the proposal to create matching fenestration across the entire facade of the 1960’s extension and an upper loggia on the fourth floor will greatly improve an under used and neglected section of the complex.
Generally speaking the Civic Society is very satisfied with these renovation proposals other than the additional storeys that rise behind the central tower feature of the building. We consider that these rear extensions dominate and unbalance the symmetrical facade of the Echo Office building when viewed from St. Stephens Road and would destabilize what otherwise, in these well intentioned plans, would be an improved silhouette of the restored facade on Richmond Hill.
The Society greatly respects the work of the architects in this enterprise. Designing a likable modernist extension to an iconic modernist building between two well known historic buildings: the old neo-classical Theatre Royal and the Art Nouveaux Norfolk Royale Hotel, is quite a difficult task and if a storey was removed from the rear rooftop extensions and the extensions here sat symmetrically behind the tower we would welcome them without hesitation.
However we have concluded that since this application does not fulfil the townscape conditions of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred. (Policy 4.19, i, ii, iii )