PLANNING APPLICATIONS RECEIVED BY THE BOURNEMOUTH PLANNING DEPARTMENT DURING MARCH 2021 – A CRITIQUE BY JOHN SOANE, BUILT ENVIRONMENT CONSULTANT TO BOURNEMOUTH CIVIC SOCIETY
3 Walpole Road, Boscombe Ref. No. 7-2021-6789-G
This is an application to construct a two storey extension to a substantial, late nineteenth century, two storey house originally used as an hotel – displaying prominent bay windows at the corners, an arched entrance and a large modern dormer in the pitched roof. The proposal is to create a separate unit of accommodation to the rear of the house, close up to the western boundary wall. The design would follow loosely the general style of the main structure with brick facades, modern sash windows and a Juliet balcony on the first floor.
The Society has concluded that irrespective of the visual plausibility of the new extension, what is proposed is simply far too massive for the restrictive dimensions of the site. We strongly feel that this creeping aesthetic degradation of the existing balance of built upon space to unbuilt upon space by poorly designed extensions within historic residential neighbourhoods of Bournemouth must be strongly resisted by the BCP Planning Department. Consequently the Society has decided that since this application in no way complies with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused.
663 Christchurch Road Ref. No. 7-2021-4970-P
This is an application to make minor alterations to the existing three storey retail/residential building dating from the early twentieth century, to rearrange the retail facilities on the ground floor and to modernise and replan the one bedroom flat accommodation on the first and second floors. A new entrance and staircase leading to the first floor flat – together with a new shop entrance would be installed. To the rear, the existing rear staircase would lead to spacious amenity spaces converted from former store rooms.
Generally speaking, the Society find the proposed alterations acceptable and reasonably viable. However we do not really understand the purpose of the adjacent, very spacious amenity areas. Will this part of the premises be hired out for functions or used as further residential facilities by the flat holders. We very much hope that these questions will be answered in any subsequent planning process. The Society does think however that the poor design of the two new entrances and central display window on the shop façade should greatly improved. We feel that both doors should be given a slight classical ambience to match the general style of the street façade and the central window should extend further down, be not so high and be slightly narrower.
Under these circumstances, the Society is of the opinion that since this application does not completely fulfil the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further discussion and improvement .
61 Harewood Avenue Ref. No. 7-2021-27871
This is an application to construct a two storey extension on the western side of an existing residence – together with the modernisation of facilities in the existing garden room at the rear of the site. The house is a typical example of a detached family residence built in suburban Arts and Crafts style during the inter war years. The new work would create a three bay principal façade flanked by two, two storey bay windows, a new central entrance and crowned by a distinctive hipped roof with dormer. The rear elevation would be more asymmetrical. There would be one two storey bay window at the S.E corner with a prominent four bay French window across the remaining two thirds of the ground floor. Thus a spacious residence would be creating including more than one bathroom and dressing rooms.
The Society is of the opinion that in view of the generally wide principal facades adjacent to the site along Peteesfield Road, the larger built foot print of this development is acceptable. However we feel that with regard to the rear elevation, the dominance of the hipped roof demands a much more symmetrical design. Therefore we suggest the creation of a central two storey bay window and either side, smaller double French windows with three light casement windows above. Consequently, the Society has concluded that because this application falls short of the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further discussion and improvement.
30 Firs Glen Road , Near Bournemouth University Ref. No. 7-2021-28048
This is a proposal to demolish an existing bungalow and to construct two detached family residences in a modernised Arts and Crafts style. This historic residential neighbourhood was laid out between the late Nineteenth Century and the inter war period. The combined built foot print of the two houses would be larger than that of the adjacent properties, but each house would be narrower – and therefore longer – than its neighbours within a plot one third wider than most adjacent plots. The principal elevation of each house would have a ground floor bay window, ending in a gable that merged into a deep pitched roof. Fenestration would be regularly positioned in vertical elements with upper divisions in twos or threes.
Although what is offered, appears reasonably well designed, the Society agrees with local opinion which considers the combined mass of the new structures, excessive in size, a threat to neighbours’ privacy and likely to entail the destruction of mature vegetation.
Therefore we would recommend the construction of just one, somewhat wider block with more garden space and privacy. Consequently, the Society considers that since this application does not comply with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further consideration and improvement.
142 Alma Road (Near Charminster Road Crossroads ) 7-2021- 27253-B
This is an application to construct a connected two and one storey extension to a property – already used as an HMO – in order to turn it into a larger HMO. The new extension at the rear would be in the form of two stepped down sections under small hipped roofs and ending with French windows on the rear façade. The building works would create eight bedrooms and the extended ground floor would be used as the new living area.
The Society note that the new built foot print would be substantially larger than those of adjacent properties and be likely to cause a considerable disruption to the visual urban perspective of this part of Alma Road. We also agree with local opinion which feels that planning applications merely to create extra sleeping accommodation for students – together with inadequate parking spaces – is not the prime purpose of well established residential neighbourhoods such as Charminster or Winton.
Under these circumstances, we are of the opinion that since this proposal in no way respects the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused.
10-14 Portman Terrace ( In the vicinity of Southbourne Grove) Ref. No. 7-2021-3401-I
This is an unusual conversion of part of large car show room premises into three, one bedroom flats. The site is part situated below a prominent, three storey, late nineteenth century retail/residential terrace. Each flat would have a living area opening on to a patio. However each bedroom, wedged between the foreshortened car showrooms and part of the internal living room wall, would be obliged to be top lit through the ceiling. No major changes to the exterior of the structure are envisaged.
The Society realises that the architectural circumstances of this project are unique and are unlikely ever to be repeated. Nevertheless we do wonder whether allowing several rooms to be illuminated entirely by indirect means is appropriate.
Consequently we have decided that since this project does not fully comply the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further discussion.
41-43 Burleigh Road, West Southbourne Ref. No. 7-2021-11882-C
This is an application to construct a single storey extension to an existing inter war family house and a block of two, two storied, semi detached houses at the end of the narrow and elongated rear garden of the property. The extension to the house would create a new elevation terminate by triple French windows and a triple casement window. The two semi-detached houses would be within a rectangular block crowned by a deep pitched roof. The front elevation would contain double and triple, symmetrically positioned, casement windows with a double entrance in the centre. The rear elevation would contain two double sequences of French windows with casement windows above.
Irrespective of any possible elements of good design, the Society totally abhors this project as it seeks to create substantial new residential facilities in a totally unsuitable, restricted space where there is virtually no room for a garden or any substantial private space or sufficient parking.
Our inevitable conclusion is that since the application falls very short of the standards of the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused.
37 Southbourne Coast Road (By Dalmeny Road) Ref. No. 7-2021-27984
This is an application to demolish an existing bungalow and replace it with a new chalet bungalow within a neighbourhood of quite well designed bungalows, built in the mid twentieth century and having achieved an integrated visual perspective. The new structure would have a wide and shallow, canted roof as against the pitched roofs of the adjacent bungalows. The seaward facing facades of the ground and upper floors would be faced from floor to ceiling by vertical glass panels and French windows which would be recessed in the vicinity of the main entrance on the ground floor. The upper windows would be combined in wider framing and there would be a triangular window just below the top of the roof.
The Society finds the general shape of the new chalet bungalow reasonably plausible but the prospective good intentions are completely undone by the exceptionally banal effect of the fenestration.
Quite frankly, we think it is a throwback on mass to the uninspiring window designs of 1960’s Modernism and is totally unsuitable to illuminate an intimate seaside dwelling. We suggest on the ground floor, slightly smaller, less intrusive glass panels, wider window divisions and a more balanced design for the front door. On the upper floor: fewer, individualized, somewhat narrower and longer, glass panels.
Consequently the Society after careful consideration has concluded that since this application does not fully respect the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further discussion and improvement.
66 Harewood Avenue Ref. No. 7-2021-15552-A
This is an application to replace a conservatory as part of an existing inter war detached family residence, with a rectangular, one storey orangery; also the conversion of an existing garage at the corner of the site into amenity/office use.
The orangery would be a plain block with quadruple casement windows on the east wall and French windows to the rear elevation. The amenity block would be a low, plain box with French windows to the garden.
The Society considers that these alterations are small enough not to degrade the original balance of built to unbuilt space on the site. Although we think that the conservatory was aesthetically more compatible with the house, the new orangery is more or less an acceptable substitute.
Therefore since this application complies with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan we think it should be allowed.
38 Corhampton Road, Pokesdown Ref. No. 7-2021-9129-C
This is an application to construct a two and a half storey, rectangular shaped, block of five flats on the site of an existing property in modernised Arts and Crafts style. It would encompass two quite distinctive, two storey bay windows with a central entrance under a porch. Above would be a large hipped roof and three, integrated dormer windows. Symmetrical fenestration would be by many small glass panes in modernised vernacular form.
In general, the Society is quite impressed with this original design. Although the built foot print is somewhat larger than that of adjacent properties along Hambledon Road and Corhampton Road, we are of the opinion that the proportional difference is not large enough to prevent the proposed new building from being sympathetically integrated into the surrounding townscape.
Consequently the Society feels that because this application does not breach the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be allowed.
520 Charminster Road Ref. No. 7-2021-12772-A
This is an application to make alterations and to construct a two storey extension on the southern elevation of a late nineteenth century family house. The built foot print would be expanded by two thirds to the site boundary very close to no. 518. The new mini-wing would bear some resemblance to the existing property with vertical modern sash windows and an expanded pitched roof above. To the rear a new design taking up the entire width of the old rear elevation would include French windows below and three symmetrical, modern sash windows above.
The Society is not impressed by what is proposed: the new extension would make the enlarged property too large for the site; the new façade designs unbalance the original appearance of the building; the enlarged building visually interrupts the original planned ratio of built to unbuilt on space between nos. 518 and 524. Indeed we note the negative results of insensitive extensions that may be seen between nos. 526 and 524 where a carport with accommodation above has been allowed. It follows that the Society has concluded that because this application does not comply with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused.
379-383 Wimborne Road Ref. No. 7-2027-728-AF
This is an application to construct a three storey, rectangular block containing student accommodation, backing on to existing late nineteenth century/early twentieth century, two storey shops. On both the two long side elevations the accommodation would be lit by a series of long, vertical, mini oriel windows parallel to each other and separated by narrow projecting pieces of wall in the form of buttresses. The accommodation block would be linked at a slightly lower level to the rear of the shops by a smaller structure.
The Society strongly feel that the proposed hostel is far too large in scale and if built would be a massive intrusion, both in height and mass in relation to the adjacent townscape and rear courtyards along Wimborne Road. Further we think the building would be far too close to other occupied properties; the social ambience of the area would be considerably changed – institutionalised usage in place individualised space, together with a plethora of uncontrolled car parking. The Society appeals to the Planning Department: not to allow the spread of the very distinctive social behaviour of increasing numbers of students to change the more intimate family characteristics of the historic residential and retail neighbourhoods of north Bournemouth.
We are thus resolved to say that since this application in no way is compatible with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused.
Hotel Rivera, 5 West Cliff Gardens Ref. No. 7-2021-8921-F
This is an application to demolish the late nineteenth century Rivera Hotel and to erect a 5/6 storey block containing 18 flats; the rectangular built footprint would not be so different in absolute size from that of the existing structure. The site comes within the West Cliff and Poole Hill Conservation Area. The new structure would be designed in the form of a late nineteenth century mansion flat block in historicist style. On the seaside elevation there would be two central projections with gables above and one between, merging into a complex hipped roof with dormers. The entire façade would be fronted by common verandas on each floor with imitation wrought iron balcony railings. Fenestration would be symmetrical with each flat being lit by a pair of French windows and vertical side windows. The rear façade would be slightly asymmetrical in design with two, wide, slight projections, one of which having quadruple bay windows on each floor. The top most floor would be half timbered.
The Society believes that seen in a wider visual context, this form of decorative architecture, of which original examples exist in Bournemouth, would fit in reasonably well with the existing scale of the Victorian buildings between West Cliff Gardens and Durley Gardens, facing on to the West Cliff. However, when taken in conjunction with the placing of the new building in a more central position on the site, we would agree with local comment that this structure could be considered both overbearing in dimension and the restriction of light and privacy – especially in relation to the less grandiose architecture in West Cliff Gardens away from the sea. We further feel that when the present adjacent site to the Hotel Rivera is redeveloped for residential use, the urban density of this part of the West Cliff could become excessive.
The Society suggests that the flat block be moved back to the existing position of the Rivera Hotel; be reduced in height by one storey and that a portion of the flats be used as holiday lets in order to protect the tourist industry on the West Cliff.
Accordingly since we feel that this application does not satisfy completely the conservation policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further consideration and improvment.
This is an application to construct two extra stories on an existing Georgian style house of three storeys situated in a small square just above Commercial Road in central Bournemouth. The site is within the West Cliff and Poole Hill Conservation Area. On the principal elevation, the existing façade of symmetrically positioned lines of sash windows would be replicated and above there would be a pitched roof. The rear elevation would be generally similar in appearance.
When the Society saw this application, we simply could not believe that such an outrageously inept design could possibly be expected to be taken seriously. In conjunction with local opinion, we think this “design” completely ignores the unchanging rules of architectural proportion – namely there must ALWAYS be a natural ratio/balance between the height of a building (modern or traditional) and its width. Furthermore, we feel that not only would the new structure look ungainly in itself, but also completely degrade the urban character of one of the last original areas of old Bournemouth.
Quite frankly, writing as the Built Environment Consultant to Bournemouth Civic Society, when I was teaching architecture and building conservation at university level in London, I don’t think the least original of my students could have produced such a clodhopping design. It is an ideal vision for a dolls house but definitely not for a sensitive part of our town.
The Society cannot stress enough the need to prevent applications that merely for greed, wish to destroy the integrity of individual buildings by adding extra floors – as at 8 Portchester Place.
Therefore the Society is of the opinion that since this proposal in no way abides by the conservation policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused.