PLANNING APPLICATIONS RECEIVED BY THE BOURNEMOUTH PLANNING DEPARTMENT DURING MAY 2021 – A CRITIQUE BY JOHN SOANE, BUILT ENVIRONMENT CONSULTANT TO BOURNEMOUTH CIVIC SOCIETY
29-29a Southbourne Overcliff Drive Ref. No. 7-2021-10037-G
This is an application to extensively remodel an existing interwar semi-bungalow to create two very spacious semi-detached houses on three floors, each with separate dining and living room areas and three quite spacious bedrooms and en-suite bathrooms. There would be two enlarged balconies towards the sea. The design would be very modernist and would be in the form of a concrete box (with indented upper floor) with continuous all glass facades – with French windows – on the upper two floors below a flat roof.
The Society feel this is a very boring, rather conventional design and would not harmonize very well on one of the smaller sites within the generally original townscape of the Southbourne Overcliff. We suggest that at the very least, the rather thick, crude concrete structure should be reduced in thickness; a more balanced ration be created between individual windows and wall and a more traditional pitched roof be substituted.
Consequently, since this application in no ways respects the townscape policies of them Bournemouth Local Plan, we consider it should be refused.
261-263 Windham Road Ref. No. 7-2021-27832-B
This is an application to extend an existing late nineteenth century small semi-detached house in Springbourne to create further accommodation. The existing Georgian style wing would be replicated on the other side of the central gabled projection to make a symmetrical front façade. There would be three separate entrances on the façade to separate residences. However the position of these three doors would considerably unbalance the general appearance of this elevation.
Irrespective of the fact that the proposed new building would appear more “finished” and be part of a short terrace of houses, the Society feels that the mass and form of the resulting structure which would extend right to the opposite boundary would be far too large for the existing site. We agree with local opinion that the new development would create an excessive density of occupation for the neighbourhood and thus the tranquility of which would be reduced.
Therefore on social and planning grounds alone, the Society think that since this application does not comply with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan it should be refused.
320 Iford Lane Ref. No. 7-2021-5712-J
This is an application to demolish the existing twentieth century structures on the site and to build in their place, four semi-detached properties and a small two bedroom bungalow in the far, rear corner of the site. Unfortunately, it has not been possible yet to see drawings or illustrations of the proposals. However according to the Site, Block and Location Plan, the west elevation appears relatively symmetrical and so presumably the rear elevation follows suit.
Therefore the Society can only suggest that so far as we can ascertain, the built footprint of the proposal can be properly contained on the site in question but probably without the addition of the proposed bungalow in the rear corner. A final judgement of the proposal will be made when the full set of illustrations are available.
156 Iford Lane Ref. No. 7-2021-5712-J
This is an application to construct a small, one and a half storey property on an undeveloped piece of land near the railway bridge over Iford Lane. The new building would have a traditional part asymmetrical design with a pitched roof, vertical modern windows on the south façade and a large French window on the narrow west façade.
The Society think that this spacious plot is certainly large enough to contain this new house, but we feel that it should be sited more mid way between the railway embankment and 154 Iford Lane and also further back towards the centre of the site
Therefore we have concluded that since this application does not yet completely satisfy the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further consideration.
Fairview House 17 Hinton Road Ref. No. 7-2021-9602-H
The Society strongly feel that the site in question is the very last one towards the eastern end of Hinton Road on which a modern commercial building of more than five stories could be build, without seriously compromising the visual context of the Grade One church of St. Peters at the end of Hinton Road by Gervis Place.
The built foot print of the new block would, as a result of the steep incline at the rear of the site, not be so different in extent to the existing one. The principal façade would be symmetrically designed with two wide side projections and regularly positioned, traditionally designed French windows – complete with double, wrought iron style balconies on every floor. The Georgian idiom would be similar to that of the majority of large modern commercial buildings which have been constructed in the western part of Hinton Road over recent decades.
But although the Society is reasonably satisfied with the general design, we think the wider perspective of Hinton Road can only be preserved if the maximum height of any new structure built along this road is limited to between six and seven storeys. Therefore we feel that this new proposal at 17 Hinton Road should be reduced by one storey and topped by a low mansard roof. In addition, the current proposal to increase the height of the adjacent structure (21 Hinton Road) should be kept at seven storeys.
Consequently, the Society has decided that since the Fairview application does not fully conform to the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further consideration.
35 Ophir Road Ref. No. 7-20-21-12347-C
This is an application to make alterations and a new second floor roof extension in an interwar family house. These changes would consist of a one storey extension to the rear of the property and a large dormer above the front elevation. The rear extension would contain a new kitchen and dining room and include French windows. The new dormer would be triangular shaped and follow the shape of the pitched roof above
Apart from the need for better designed windows in the rear extension, the Society thinks that the arbitrary and uncoordinated shape of the large dormer would completely disrupt the integrated perspective of the adjacent houses. We suggest a better alternative would be two, smaller dormers, designed to be more in keeping with the appearance of the house.
Therefore the Society feels that since this application does not fully go along with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further consideration.
117 Southbourne Overcliff Ref. No. 7-2021-28163
This is an application to remodel an interwar family residence in order to create a new second floor level. A large triangular shaped gable window would be created above the front elevation and large vertical windows would be placed in the two side elevations.
The Society accepts the purpose of the alterations but finds the design of the new windows inappropriate in respect to the design of the house. We think the gable window should be somewhat narrower and the two side dormers should be made more horizontal in general appearance.
Thus we have finally concluded that since this ap-plication does not fully satisfy the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further consideration.
Woodrisings, 10 Branksome Wood Road Ref. No. 7-2021-4702-AA
This is an application to demolish a two storey, partially Georgian style, terrace of flats built during the 1970’s and to replace it with a very large, five storey block of 55 flats.
The new building would be constructed in contemporary modernist style – basicly a huge rectangular box with recessed penthouse storey. Each floor would consist of a similar sequence of French windows and smaller rectangular windows with communal (glass?) balconies around the greater part of the perimeter.
Although the Society accepts that some modern flat blocks have become an accepted feature of Branksome Wood Road in recent decades, we feel strongly that the proposed block would be far too massive in comparison to adjacent buildings. It would appear as massive angular concrete and glass structure and a complete aberration in respect to the surrounding landscape in the vicinity of the nearby Central Pleasure Gardens.
The Society is not surprised that 58 objections to this development have been received by local residents. We agree with them that such an unwelcome intrusion would seriously effect the quality of life in the area leading to loss of privacy, more noise and pollution together with increased traffic hazards and insufficient parking places. Unease was also expressed that a massive disturbance of the water table might have a deleterious effect on the fauna and flora of the adjacent gardens. We also fully accept the residents’ long term fears that too many developers were merely interested in financial gain with the result that many proposals were too large and aesthetically unsuitable for the area at the expense of badly needed family accomodation.
Under the circumstances the Society must very strongly say that since this proposal in no way reflects the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it must be refused.
541 Wimborne Road Ref. No. 19533-C
This is an application to create three small new flats and a new office area within an existing two storey shop (with flat above) dating probably the early Twentieth Century. A two storey extension complementing the original structure with French windows is envisaged.
The Society observes that here is yet another example of an attempt create further inadequate and overcrowded accommodation on a developed commercial site that was never intended for such use.
We strongly recommend that since this application seriously fails the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused.
The Talbot public house 59 Wimborne Road by Pine Road Ref. No. 7-2021-2910-K
This is an application to convert a well known architectural landmark in Moordown into ten flats.
The building is a fine example of late nineteenth century Arts and Crafts. The principal south and west elevation have complex/integrated designs including: varied vertical fenestration; a considerable range of gables and distinctive pitched roofs. The Society thinks that the new flats may not ne exceptionally spacious but the internal alterations will not greatly affect the exterior appearance of the building apart from minor changes to the service facilities on the east elevation.
We recommend without restraint the preservation and adaption of this fine historic structure.
1446 Wimborne Road Ref. No. 7-2021-10556-J
This is an application to build a new, very small chalet bungalow on an oblong piece of internal land where there is already a dwelling reached by a narrow private drive from Wimborne Road. The new dwelling would have three bedrooms on two floors; it would be rectangular in shape with a pitched roof, dormers and a pair of French windows.
The Society is of the opinion that the site is already severely restricted and totally inadequate for a new building. If built we agree with local opinion that it would amount to severe overbuilding and overcrowding not to mention parking and turning problems. We strongly condemn yet another attempt to build merely for financial gain, on a developed plot which was never intended for two houses, let alone one.
Consequently, the Society feels that since this application does not in any way comply with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Plan, it should be refused.
7 Talbot Avenue Ref. No. 7-2021-9508-AD
This is an application to make alterations and extensions to a care home that is based in a fine example of an Arts and Crafts family residence – a style developed by Charles Voysey and Baillie Scott at the end of the Nineteenth Century : with neo-vernacular fenestration, prominent pitched roofs and distinctive, high elegant chimneys. Over previous decades, alterations have been made to the building. The building lies within the Talbot Woods Conservation Area.
The principal alterations would be three new projections on the principal N.W. façade and an extended wing at the S.E. rear corner.
The central wide, two story projection together with somewhat larger, neo vernacular windows, would be balanced either side by smaller projections in the form of two storey bay windows. A new symmetrical façade would be created and crowned by a complex series of smaller pitched roofs over the projections. The new S.E. wing would now balance in mass the existing wing opposite together with a balancing pitched roof that would merge into the main roof of the house. The fine entrance façade on the north east side would not be affected by these alterations.
Generally speaking, the Society is impressed by the sensitive way the alterations have been set out. In view of the previous changes that have happened to the structure, we think what is proposed would be a considerable improvement to the appearance of the house.
Therefore because this application makes a creditable effort to observe the conservation policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, we feel it should be allowed.
Flat development, Southbourne Cross Roads Ref. No. 7-2021-28119
This is an application to build four blocks of 27 flats on the existing fairly narrow Southbourne cliff car park that backs on to the Southbourne Coast Road. The blocks respectively would be two, three, four and three storeys and irrespective of variations of dimensions and mass, each block would be a basic rectangular structure with very angular concrete stanchions framing mainly vertical glass panels in association with (glass ?) balconies. Some of the stanchions would project further than others – so giving the principal facades a kind of ambience of architectural symmetry.
The Society note that the site is strategically positioned between the heart of the traditionally designed, early twentieth century, seaside resort of Southbourne near Belle Vue Road and the line of modern flats that has been constructed in recent decades along the Southbourne Coast Road.
Therefore we think that the main problem facing this application is how to synthesise adequately these conflicting building traditions according to appropriate mass, form and style. While we feel that the built footprint of each block is satisfactory, we are of the opinion that while the two blocks along the Coast Road, being nearest to the existing blocks of flats, may plausibly be designed in a more overt modernist style, the last two blocks in the vicinity of historic Southbourne should be designed in a more restrained, modernist manner compatible with older established surroundings. And we are at one with local opinion when it expresses the fear that the new blocks would become a visual blot on the older townscape of Southboune – becoming merely brief holiday homes for the well-to-do.
Apart from these particular aesthetic distinctions, the Society feels that at present all the new blocks are far too angular in appearance – each building looks as if it has been put together in the form of a random series of box containers with glass sliding panels. We feel that the facades appear to lack any distinctive character and only the most primitive form of architectural perspective. It must surely be remembered that the purpose of this development is to produce enhancing holiday accommodation in a vibrant seaside atmosphere. The Society thinks that what is offered is a throwback to the sterile ideological modernism of the 1960’s. We feel strongly that far more vibrantly designed facades are needed in which the general horizontal shape of each block is proportionally balanced by a far great impetus of fenestration verticality and more attention to the appropriate optical ratio between wall and window.
Under the circumstances, the Society has decided that since the present proposal does not come near to satisfying the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused.
The Chequers Hotel, 17 West Cliff Road Ref. No. 7-2021-1706-V
This is an application to demolish the existing, but much altered, late nineteenth mansion block – recently a hotel – and to erect a four/five storey block of 21 free market flats and six holiday lets. The site is triangular and stands on the boundary of the West Cliff and Poole Hill Conservation area.
The new built foot print is nearly the same as the existing one and the projected structure has been designed as a considerably larger structure in late nineteenth historicist style. On either side of a distinctive, belvedere tower, the eastern side of the principal façade would be more restrained, the western side more monumental and incorporating another, four square belvedere tower. There would be an elaborate pitched roof and separate roofs for the two belvederes.
Fenestration is generally symmetrically positioned with a predominance of arched windows on the two lower floors but with paired, double sash windows in the easterner half of the main façade.
Even if the Society finds the new development somewhat large for the site, we feel that the elaborate, distinctive form of the architecture is an effective foil between the adjacent, post modernist Cliff Court Hotel and the large, modernist flat block – Crescent Court – just beyond.
Although local opinion is much against the selling of the new flats to absentee visitors instead of permanent occupiers, everyone wants the new block to be built. For we much appreciate their problems in that during the last two or three years, the building has become a very disorganised HMO where there has taken place numerous drug parties and many other degrading activities.
In this situation, the Society strongly supports this endeavour and since the application complies with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be allowed.