PLANNING APPLICATIONS RECEIVED BY THE BOURNEMOUTH PLANNING DEPARTMENT DURING MARCH 2016 – A CRITIQUE BY JOHN SOANE, BUILT ENVIRONMENT CONSULTANT TO BOURNEMOUTH CIVIC SOCIETY
2 Lorne Park Road Ref. No. 7-2016-3144-P
This is an application to construct two extra floors on top of an already existing, three storey, commercial property that was built in the then fashionable, International Modernist Style, over two decades ago. The two new floors would be stepped back in a similar way to the existing floors – which means that each higher floor would be smaller than the floor below and that part of the roof of each floor would serve as a terrace to the floor above. The long elevations of each new floor would replicate the long elevations of the existing floors which would be in the form of rectangular concrete sections filled with vertical glass panels.
The general impression of the new building would be that of a white ziggurat made of concrete and glass; however the resulting symmetrical appearance would be qualified by the presence of a solid wall across half the topmost storey of the narrow south elevation, where service facilities and a staircase would be located.
The Society is well aware of the considerable controversy caused by the original building in view of the unsympathetic impact of this structure on the adjacent , late nineteenth century properties in Lorne Park Road. We are well aware that the new extension will in no way put an end to this problem – but at the very least the finished result will give this building a better level of depth which will enable it to relate better to the adjacent modernist block of retail and residential facilities at Leyton Mount . Under the circumstance, the Society would observe that a distinctive mini-townscape has emerged within a more conventional one and that is the best that can be said in respect to this application.
139-141 Southbourne Overcliff Drive Ref. No. 7-2016-1512-AH
This is an application to build a two and a half to three storey block of 10 apartments on the site of two interwar bungalows.
The structure would consist of two principal interlocking rectangle shapes where each floor of the principal elevation would consist of vertical glass panels fronted by continuous, prominent, glass balconies. There would be three large gables above filled with very big windows in front of a lower pitched roof. Very prominent concrete collars would encase the ground and first floors.
The Society observes that in common with other, previous applications to build flats in historic, residential neighbourhoods, the design for this site consists of a vaguely traditionalist shape which is used as a general container in which to squeeze fashionable, inelegant , modernist architectural forms. In our experience this eclectic devise is never a success – indeed we feel that the resulting chunky and overbearing result would be both too massive for the dimensions of the site and very unsympathetic in relation to the general character of the surrounding, generally low rise neighbourhood. Ironically we think that a provisional design for a new property on this site contained at the very bottom of page 9 of the Design and Access Statement which accompanied an earlier, unsuccessful application in February 2013, would be more suitable than what is now proposed.
The Society strongly feels that a presumption to allow the gradual redevelopment of this part of the Southbourne Overcliff in the form of higher density blocks of flats should not be considered a foregone conclusion. We respectfully remind the Planning Department that the spatial structure of the Southbourne Overcliff is very different to the Boscombe Overcliff. For we believe that in the latter case, the larger sites enable a degree of planning flexibility to be exercised; however at Southbourne, the much larger number of smaller houses and bungalows must surely imply a greater restraint on redevelopment proposals.
It seems to the Society that at a time when Bournemouth needs to preserve and expand numbers of reasonably sized and priced family homes as much as possible, the last thing that is required is the deliberate aesthetic and social disruption of a well established family neighbourhood in a good position near the sea.
Consequently since this application has failed to fulfil the conditions of the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, we feel that it should be refused. ( 4.19, i, ii, and iii )
45 Southbourne Coast Road Ref. No. 7-2016-2179-T
This is an application to build two, two storey houses on a curving corner site at the junction of the Southbourne Coast Road and Dalmeny Road in an overt modernist design. The site occupies a highly visual position between the environs of Hengistbury Head and the commencement of the Southbourne Overcliff – and in the vicinity of a considerable number of spacious, post war (chalet) bungalows.
The proposed houses would be in the form of two separate structures, closely spatially related to each other. The basic shape would follow to a reasonable degree the curved boundaries of the site; in both houses there would be considerable areas of floor to ceiling, vertical glass panels, held together by a prominent concrete framework and including wide balconies at first floor level and distinctive flat and partially angled, flat roofs.
Irrespective of the absolute level of competence displayed by the proposals, the Society is of the opinion that the new building by reason of style and general size would be extremely inappropriate for this particular site. This is a point of view in many letters of objection to this scheme. Other matters raised by this correspondence include: the impact of a building of such high density in a prominent position; the disconcerting impact of the abstract architecture and the need to encourage more house building of a more conventional design instead of speculative development for the holiday home market.
Under the circumstances, we have decided that since this application does not fulfil the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, we recommend that it be refused. (4.19, i, ii, and iii )
Beales Store, 35 Old Christchurch Road Ref. No . 7-2016-726-AH
This is an application by the Investment Trust that owns the freehold of Beales store to convert the existing 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th retailing floors into 76 flats.
There would be some loss of retailing space on the ground floor to enable a separate entrance to the flats to be created; but no significant alteration to the present outward appearance of the building. The flats themselves would be in the form of long, fairly narrow rectangular shapes that would be aligned along a broad central corridor on each floor.
The Society is convinced that such a drastic proposal would have an extremely negative impact on the general renown of Bournemouth as a first class holiday resort and these fears were expressed strongly in 71 letters written to oppose the scheme.
In specific terms we feel that the flats would be small and rather cramped and that the whole scheme is more than likely a way of raising higher income from the building irrespective of the importance of the present function of Beales as one of the principal attractions of the town.
The general feeling is that if half the retail floors are converted into flats, Beales as a general departmental store would eventually not be viable as an economic proposition. If this happened considerable numbers of people would be put out of work and such an action would hasten the decline of the centre of Bournemouth as a premier shopping centre. This in turn could bring about eventually the waning of Bournemouth as a desirable, national holiday destination.
Consequently the Society most fervently hope that this most irresponsible scheme is turned down – indeed we would be happy to hear that this application has not even been granted discussion time at a future planning board.
Thus since the project in our opinion has not fulfilled any of the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, we recommend it be refused ( 4.19, i, ii, and iii )
Denham House 8-10 Yelverton Road Ref. No. 7-2016-5535-AL
This is an application to extend upwards by three floors ( including a dormer roof storey ) an existing three story block of shops – with flats above – in order to create an additional 21 apartments. The chosen design would be in the form of a free interpretation of the original, inter-war, Georgian revival style of the original building. In the extensions, the existing, symmetrically orientated, fenestration pattern would be generally adopted; the outer peripheral windows would be generally replicated, while the new central section would be indented in the form of a miniature, neo-Georgian facade with central projection. The new, shallow hipped roof would contain nine well designed dormers – almost all precisely aligned to the line of windows below.
In considering this application, the Society thoroughly recommends what we think is a balanced and competent extension which will also enable the new building to be better aesthetically related to the heights of the neighbouring structures.
Consequently, we have concluded that since this application fulfils all the townscape policy conditions of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be allowed. ( 4.19, i, ii, and iii )
24-26 Studland Road Ref. No. 7-2016-7545-C
This is an application for a site at present occupied by two small interwar houses of negligible architectural value, on which it is proposed to build three, two story, terraced houses – each with a prominent gable and pitched roof. So far as the Society is able to understand the design; the lower two floors would be encased by a thick concrete collar which, we think, would considerably reduce the natural balance of the basic design.
Since we are of the opinion that the general shape of the new building would be a positive compliment to the adjacent properties, we suggest that the removal of the concrete structural elements would substantially improve the appearance of what is proposed. The Society therefore feels that since this application does not yet fully satisfy the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further discussion. ( 4.19, i, ii, and iii )