PLANNING APPLICATIONS RECEIVED BY THE BOURNEMOUTH PLANNING DEPARTMENT DURING JUNE 2021 – A CRITIQUE BY JOHN SOANE, BUILT ENVIRONMENT CONSULTANT TO BOURNEMOUTH CIVIC SOCIETY
908 Castle Lane East Ref. No. 7-2021-7258-C
This is an application to build a three storey block of up to 12 flats on the site of a considerably smaller detached residence.
In comparison with the more restrained mid twentieth century style and smaller size and mass of the adjacent houses on quite small sites, on the larger site in question, the new construction would have a much larger built foot print on which a substantial structure in late nineteenth century, Arts and Crafts style would be constructed. Below a complex hipped roof, the principal façade would be in the form of a large rectangle, indented in the centre and with respectively a gabled projection at one extremity and a prospective belvedere tower – complete with turret roof – at the other. Fenestration would be symmetrically positioned, mainly in the form of quadruple and double sets of traditional, upright casement windows. The remaining elevations would be simpler/more modern versions of the main elevation.
Although the Society accepts that what is proposed is quite an accomplished design, we would agree in general with the majority of the 42 emails of local comment which find the new block inappropriate to the neighbourhood. It is felt that the large dimensions of the three storey structure would have a detrimental effect on the established social character of the area where the majority of the family houses are of two storeys. There were fears that the new population of the small flats would introduce values that were incompatible with the established local mores. Moreover, apart from a loss of privacy and natural light, it was thought that increased traffic on the corner of Holdenhurst Road would increase the risk to local residents and children going to the local school.
The Society, having thought deeply about the matter would suggest that if a new development is permitted on this site, then a smaller block of say only 6 flats should be permitted and the design of the building should be made simpler and less overpowering so as to integrate more harmoniously with the existing townscape.
Consequently we have decided that since this proposal does not comply with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused.
This is an application to construct an extremely small two storey house on a very narrow rectangular site which is accessed from Columbia Gardens but is in effect the rear part of the site on which stands 25 Granville Road. The building would be in a traditional form with an Arts and Craft ambience. The two end principal elevations with symmetrically positioned triple and double vertical casement windows – including a pair of French windows – below a pitched roof. The Society note how little space is left for private areas around this house; there is virtually no distance between the outer walls and the two long boundaries of the site and barely room to park a car. We see here another flagrant example of a property holder attempting to over develop part of a fully developed plot in a way that was never envisaged when this neighbourhood was first conceived. Again we ask the Planning Department most strongly to devise a consistent policy that stops such brazen contraventions of proper planning practice. Therefore since this application in no way conforms to the accepted townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, the Society advises that it be refused.
263 Charminster Road Ref. No. 7-20201-4978-C
This is an application to modernize and better integrate two existing shop areas as a single restaurant; to improve toilet facilities and to construct new function rooms at the rear. This would involve the construction of a blank wall ( with entrance ) on the same building line as the existing properties either side. The premises would continue to be accessed by a private way at the rear from Maxwell Road.
The Society has concluded that proposed improvements do not pose any visual threat to the existing appearance of the present structure. We think that here is a good example of the sensible adaption of an older building to modern needs. Thus the Society has decided that because this proposal in no way degrades the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be allowed.
Granville Works, R.L. Stevenson Ave Ref. No. 7-2021-22987-I
This is an application to built a two storey block of 14 one bedroom flats on a rectangular piece of interior land behind several terraced houses fronting R.L. Stevenson Ave. The new block would be built across the site of existing industrial buildings which would be demolished. The new built footprint would be substantially larger than the present one and would cover virtually the entire site. There would be no car parking spaces and the property would be reached by a narrow way – Clement Mews – from R.L. Stevenson Ave.
The two storey rectangular block would have a pitched roof and relatively symmetrical fenestration in the form of traditional casement windows divided in two. The rear elevation would mostly be wall and there would be large double arched window on the narrow west elevation.
The Society is of the opinion that this new structure would be far too massive for the restricted site and we agree with the 15 local comments that if built the resulting high density overcrowding would amount to over development. Also it was feared that the flats would be too small and that there would be a considerable loss of light and privacy by adjacent properties.
We see here yet another attempt to put up new habitations in a completely unsuitable position by trying to use the presence of existing buildings of totally non residential purpose, as a legal precedent for ever larger structures. Again the Society asks the Planning Department always to ensure that such planning proposals are always refused.
The Society therefore feel that since this proposal in no way complies with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused.
866 Ringwood Road Ref. No. 7-2021-2318-G
This is an application to construct a two storey block of five flats for the disabled. It would have a built foot print quite a bit larger than those of adjacent properties in the form of a synthesis of two rectangles.
The design would have a strong Arts and Crafts ambience; there would be three slight gabled projections on the main elevation below a prominent hipped roof. The fenestration
would be symmetrical, mainly in the form of traditional casement windows in various combinations. It is the considered opinion of the Society that in spite of some local feeling that the new structure is not compatible with the surrounding bungalows; the laid back vernacular style of the proposed structure and the really quite generous spatial context of the site, allow the general form and mass of the new block to be properly contained within the existing townscape.
Therefore we feel that because this application complies with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be allowed.
46 Northcote Road Ref. No. 7-2021-121-N
This is an application to construct two houses on an unused amenity site between the rear of a residential terrace in Northcote Road and the main Weymouth-London railway line. The built foot print would occupy the greater part of the existing site and be adjacent to a car park. The houses would be designed in a conventional modernist style: an austere block design with an asymmetrical sloping roof. The concrete walls would contain mainly horizontal modern windows in irregular locations and there would be a distinctive two story concrete collar containing two large glass panels -one on the ground floor and one above.
The Society is not especially impressed by this chunky and quite rigid design – a throw back to the 1960’s/1970’s. It might be suitable on this site, well away from established principal throughfares; however we would suggest using a more restrained design, more compatible with the adjacent nineteenth century residential terraces, right opposite.
Thus the Society has concluded that since this proposal does not fully accept the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further discussion.
981 Wimborne Road- corner of Malvern Road Ref. No. 7-2021-3533-C
This is an application to build on a vacant site, a two and a half storey block of five flats as a replicated extension of the existing early twentieth century retail/residential terrace. The built foot print would be similar in size to that of neighbouring properties . The street façade would have a slight Art Deco ambience with a pitched roof with dormers; the fenestration would be in the form of four triple sets of vertical casement windows, the upper ones in the form of projecting bay windows.
The Society is quite satisfied with the design of the new building; also we do not think in this case that placing accommodation on the ground floor of a retail street will be detrimental to the occupants.
Consequently, we are certain that this proposal in no way conflicts with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan and so we recommend acceptance.
9 Chessel Avenue Ref. No. 7.2021-C
This is an application to extend what is probably a partially constructed detached family house, that was designed, along with the surrounding houses in an Arts and Crafts/Art Deco synthesised style, during the early Twentieth Century. So far as the Society can see, the purpose of the extension is to create a fully functioning pair of semi-detached houses.
The house in question exhibits only about half its originally planned width. The intention would be to create the missing wing where a new entrance would be located. A more complex hipped roof would be constructed and all the traditional casement windows on the principal façade would be symmetrically positioned.
Generally speaking the Society approves of the additions but we think that the new rear garden elevation could be improved. A large, new quadruple French window would be placed on the ground floor of the new wing and right beside a large modern casement window in the original house. We think that both glass areas should be replaced by better designed fenestration that more precisely reflects the style of the four windows above on the first floor.
Therefore the Society has concluded that since this proposal does not fully satisfy the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further discussion.
24-28 Ferncroft Road off Wimborne Road between Kinson and Bear Cross Ref. No. 7-2021-28209
This is an application to build three parallel positioned, bungalows on an interior piece of land reached by a private way ( a former private drive ) off Wimborne Road near Kinson.
In reality the Society is sure that the interior piece of land has been created from the rear portions of the three developed sites at 24,26 and 28 Ferncroft Road; the built foot prints of the bungalows would take up a very considerable portion of each new site.
Although the most northerly of the three would be somewhat smaller in size than the others, the general appearance of all of them conforms to a conventional bungalow design: generally horizontal appearance, low pitched roof, and traditional casement windows. Each interior would be relatively small with two bedrooms each.
Although we can find no fault with the basic design, the position of each bungalow – both in relation to each other and the character of the surrounding neighbourhood would amount to over development and a blight on the area. Once again we most seriously ask the Planning Department to block attempts to create high density, residential development in parts of historic urban areas that were never designed for such changes.
Therefore the Society feels that since this application in no way complies with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused.
Liston Hotel , Wollstoncraft Road Ref. No. 7-2021-8500-S
This is an application to construct a five storey block of 33 flats on the site of the late nineteenth century Liston Hotel. Irrespective of attempts by the council to revive hospitality facilities on the Boscombe Overcliff in recent times, the Society does accept that there has been a general trend during the same period towards the construction of holiday flats in this area; irrespective of the resulting increase in undersized small flats and the reduction of natural light and privacy for neighbouring properties.
The block proposed would be five storeys high – including the indented penthouse floor; its built foot print would be considerably larger than that of the Liston Hotel but the existing building line would not be much changed. The principal elevations would face east along Wollstoncraft Road and south along Boscombe Cliff Road. The building would consist of a large rectangular block with a wing to the south and slight variations of façade projections including a short extension to the north east. In essence the whole structure would be in the form of a modernist designed concrete block, enclosing a series of mainly single, double and triple, vertical sash windows on every floor. The Society notes that a general appearance of superficial, proportional symmetry of the entire structure would be achieved by the consistent size and generally balanced placement of the vertical window sets which would disguise the basic asymmetrical proportions of wall to fenestration.
However we feel strongly that if a final decision is made to build flats on this site, then the rather stark modernist appearance of the present structure must be softened so as to become more complimentary to the surviving historical structures in the vicinity. Indeed an important choice must soon be made: whether or not the new building should become architecturally and perspectively part of the series of high rise blocks of flats that exist between Boscombe Cliff Road and the sea. Or whether the new building should be more integrated into the still largely surviving, late nineteenth century, grand residential, late nineteenth century residential neighbourhood that stretches from Boscombe Cliff Road virtually all the way to Christchurch Road.
Under the circumstances the Society has decided that since this application does not fully comply with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further discussion.
Hicks Farm, Throop.
The BCP Council has decided to create a new rural park, based on one of the last remaining original areas of historic original and farmed landscape in Bournemouth – the Hicks Farm Estate. The practical infrastructure of the area – such as better car parking facilities – would also be improved.
There would be a recreation of wild life habitats; new river walks along the river Stour; the planting of new hedgerows; the growing and harvesting of historic crops: culminating in the recreation of the original community and their farming methods which had been established at the Hicks estate as a dairy farm round about 1800.
One of the principal reasons for this initiative is the establishment of new educational open spaces as a compensation for the loss of more central green areas such as the Winter Gardens due to building development. However there are many who think that the creation of a new rural centre within the Green Belt in conjunction with the enhanced car park facilities would eventually create a momentum of development that could threaten the viability of the entire Green Belt within the Stour Valley.
The Society feel that these fears may be over stated. Instead of threatening the Green Belt, we think that if this rural park becomes a legal entity it could protect the area from house building proprosals and if successful in encouraging the citizens of S.E. Dorset to appreciate better their original rural culture, such an achievement would strengthen the relevance of the Green Belt in helping local inhabitants to respect the importance of the natural world. We understand how the new car park and its associated comings and goings might be considered a threat but there needs to be careful though as to its design and management; if there are more visitors – provided every relevant area of fauna and flora is diligently preserved – such a properly run facility could enable everybody to appreciate the rural environment.
The Society on balance now supports this proposal subject to tight management conditions.