PLANNING APPLICATIONS SUBMITTED TO THE BOURNEMOUTH PLANNING DEPARTMENT DURING NOVEMBER 2016 – A CRITIQUE BY JOHN SOANE, BUILT ENVIRONMENT CONSULTANT TO BOURNEMOUTH CIVIC SOCIETY
Lansdown Drill Hall, Lansdown Lane Ref. No. 7-2016-941-F
This is an application to construct a 3/4/5 storey building to contain 9 commercial units and 34 small residential units – most probably for students. The site is an old drill hall tucked away beside Lansdown Lane beyond Lansdown Road and generally surrounded by high density, late nineteenth buildings.
The main structure would be grouped around an irregular, polygonal courtyard which would contain access to an underground car park; the main entrance to the complex would be via a wide opening facing on to Lansdown Lane. The principal facades to the south and west would be of four stories and either side of the main entrance to the courtyard the facades would be of three and five stories respectively. Together with a penthouse storey and flat roof, the basic elevations of the structure are fairly standard for a modern flat block. However the five storey section is partially encased by projecting concrete frames and there is a three storey connecting section on the north side.
Although the Civic Society is satisfied with the built footprint and general proportions of the building and we are also happy with the generally symmetrical fenestration along the more integrated south and west facades; we think that the five storey section could be reduced by one storey and that a fair number of the windows do not need to be over emphasized by projecting concrete frames. Consequently we would recommend a more balanced, overall design for the principal facades with generally far less concrete framing in the modernist style
We have therefore concluded that because this application does not fully satisfy the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further discussion. 4.19, i, ii, and iii)
5 Ferncroft Road Ref. No 7-2016-3094-E
This is an application for the construction of four dwelling houses in the form of two pairs of semi-detached properties to be built on the site of a bungalow within a mid twentieth century residential neighbourhood between Kinson and Bear Cross. The houses would be contained in two structures, each built in the form of an interwar, suburban Arts and Crafts style residence. Features would include pitched roofs, gables, double and triple windows and French windows and the main entrance on the ground floor.
Although the general design is quite competent, the Civic Society has noted that there is considerable opposition (nine letters from local residents ) to the generally high density of the building which would be constructed within a residential area containing many bungalows and reasonably spacious gardens. There were also fears that increased motor use would worsen existing traffic problems cause by the adjacent day centre and Masonic Hall.
In view of the fears expressed above, we feel that although the general appearance of the proposed buildings would be reasonably harmonious in respect to the existing street scene, further discussion is necessary in respect to the wider community implications of this development.
Consequently the Society feels that since this application falls somewhat short of the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further discussion.(4.19, i, ii, and iii)
17 Howeth Road Ref. No. 7-2016-4587-B
This is an application to build a one storey small bungalow within the rear garden area of an existing house. The fenestration is in the form of French and casement windows and the principal facade is of no particular artistic significance.
The Society note that here is yet another example of an attempt to develop small portions of backland in a most unsatisfactory, over intensive manner. In this case the proposed structure in taking up nearly 60% of the site, is far too large – leaving virtually no room for a garden and barely enough space to park a car. We think that such developments are totally incompatible with the spatial balance of the neighbourhood and should be resisted where ever they occur.
Consequently, we have concluded that since the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan have not been followed, this application should be refused. (4.19, i, ii, and iii )
938-946 Ringwood Road Ref. No. 7-2016-187-N
This is an application to construct a three storey block of 15 flats on a triangular site – at present in use as a garage – between Ringwood Road and High Howe Lane at Northbourne.
Although there are gradient variations across the site the new structure would respect the low rise adjacent urban surroundings and would be designed with an Art Nouveau historical ambience with variations in the overall pitch of the roof. There would be considerable variations of shape including a polygonal tower structure at the apex of the west and east facades – the latter being canted with a further two storey projection. The east facade itself would encompass two large gables and a penthouse and across most of the elevations the fenestration would consist of double sets of vertical windows with upper divisions.
Generally speaking the Society is generally happy with the overall design; however we feel that the tower structure could be somewhat reduced and the penthouse story should either be removed or made less prominent.
We have therefore concluded that since this application does not fully comply with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further discussion ( 4.19, i, ii, and iii )
59-61 Saint Albans Avenue Ref. No. 7-2015-4571-S
This is an application to construct a 2/3 storey block of 17 flats on the double site of a twentieth century care home.
The building would be designed in early twentieth century, Georgian, classical revival style; the built foot print would be in the form of a large rectangle and the symmetrical principal facade would encompass a central and corner projections – the latter being attached to two storied bay windows. The projections would merge into gables which would be incorporated into a prominent pitched roof. The rear elevation would be somewhat more asymmetrically designed with two projections. Windows would be generally of four lights with French windows on the ground floor.
Although the Society finds the design itself generally quite acceptable, it would appear rather dominant in comparison with the smaller scale of the individual family houses of the adjacent townscape.
Moreover, considerable fears that the new building could change the existing character of the street have been expressed in a fair number of letters from local residents. It has been suggested that the existing sense of community in Saint Alban’s Avenue might be eroded – especial by reason of the need to provide for ever more traffic and car parking.
We would suggest that the impact of the new building could be reduced if the main facade could be broken up into two complementary stylistic elements.
The Society has therefore concluded that since this application does not fully comply with all the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further consideration. ( 4.19, i, ii, and iii )
38 Southbourne Grove Ref. No. 7-2016-2695-D
This is an application to construct a small house within the rear area of a substantial commercial property. It would be designed in a generally traditional, rectangular form with regular vertical fenestration.
The Society feels that the significance of this application is not so much the appearance of what might be built but the attempt to fill up open space that was originally created to be an essential element of the adjacent building. We think the site is far too small to take a new property and even if similar intrusions do exist nearby behind other properties in Southbourne Grove, the Society strongly thinks that for the sake of the future well being of the neighbourhood, this practice should not be encouraged.
Accordingly, because this application does not fulfil the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, we suggest it be refused. ( 4.19, i, ii, and iii )
181 Holdenhurst Road Ref. No. 7-2016-12111-C
This is an application to construct a small house in the corner of the rear garden of a larger existing property on the corner of Holdenhurst Road and Portchester Place.
The new building would be a restrained , two bay structure of two stories with roof dormers. Fenestration would be casement with French windows on the ground floor with the main entrance on the side elevation.
Again the Society observes that here is another example of an attempt to construct something on a site that was never intended to take a building. We would suggest that the Planning Department should evolve a precise policy in order to prevent this visually and socially degrading practice from spreading within the historic, residential neighbourhoods of the town.
Consequently, the Society recommends that since this application does not fulfil the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused. ( 4.19, i, ii and iii )
1-5 The Green, Branksome Hill Road Ref. No. 7-2016-2557-G
This is an application to build five dwellings and two four story blocks of 20 flats at the junction of Branksome Hill Road and Glenferness Avenue on the site of five post war family houses which would be demolished.
The built foot print of each block is not completely rectangle but consists of a long narrow, irregular shape made up of three interlocking smaller rectangles connected to a larger rectangular section with a prominent curved corner to one side.
The principal facades of each block would exhibit the usual characteristics of many other recently blocks of flats in the conurbation. That is to say each floor would have double or triple groups of French windows behind prominent horizontal strip, glass balconies. In the rear elevations of each block there would be some variation; name large sections of blank wall containing smaller sequences of fenestration.
The Society is of the opinion that in spite of the unconventional basic shape of the two blocks, they demonstrate minimal imagination and would create a most negative aesthetic ambience in what is predominantly a low rise, well established , residential neighbourhood. Furthermore we are strongly against the presumption that the demolition of five existing family houses to create these new blocks would be an improvement. On the contrary the Society think that the unique quality of the existing townscape is made up of all the houses in this neighbourhood, irrespective of architectural value.
Indeed these sentiments are overwhelmingly reflected in the 37 letters sent in by local resident about this development. The main argument is that on aesthetic as well as social grounds it would be folly to demolish quite recently built, family houses for which there is a continuing demand – in order to replace them with totally inappropriate high rise flats. Further – quite apart from fears concerning the increase in traffic – it was also considered likely that the existing balance of low rise townscape and mature landscape of the area would be seriously compromised by the upstart glass boxes; in particular the perspective view of the neighbourhood as seen from Glenferness Avenue as the road descends to Branksome Wood Road. Finally fears were expressed that the protection of the Talbot Woods Conservation Area would be seriously compromised.
Therefore the Society has concluded that since this application has not fulfilled in any way the conservation policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused. ( 4.4, i, ii, and iii )
140-142 Holdenhurst Road Ref. No. 7-2012-4052-AA
This is an application to convert the existing bar and restaurant situated on a triangular site between Holdenhurst and Northcote Roads into 27 student residential units. The present building is a competent example of the Italianate classical style and was widely in vogue when this structure was built in the late Nineteenth Century. The premises subsequently became a very well known hostelry known as the South Western Bars.
The intention is to add a further storey in the form of a pitched roof with dormers above the present structure but with little other external alterations.
The Society feel that although what is proposed might be generally visually acceptable, the finished result could appear somewhat top heavy for the original well balanced facades below. Also in view of the high number of purpose built student accommodation blocks that are shortly to be built between the station and the Lansdown, we think that further consideration should be given to try and keep such a well known centre of refreshment functioning well into the Twenty First Century.
The Society has therefore concluded that because this application does not fully comply with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further discussion. ( 4.19, i, ii, and iii )
241 Charminster Road Ref. No. 7-2016-23358-D
This an application to construct a small one/three storey block of seven flats on Charminster Hill, below the Alma Road/Richmond Park Road Crossroads. The development would consist of a rectangular block on a foot print not so different in size from that of the existing interwar family house.
The mass and scale would also be similar and would include a prominent hipped roof and a small one story extension n to the rear. The principal facade would be in the form of an early twentieth century suburban villa with two, two storey bay windows – ending in gables
The Society generally is satisfied with the new design; however we would suggest that for the sake of a better balance, a window be placed above the central entrance on the principal facade and that the basic dimensions of the property be made somewhat smaller to avoid excessive encroachment by the new block on adjacent site boundaries.
However we feel overall that since this application has generally satisfied a reasonable proportion of the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be allowed. ( 4.19, i, ii, and iii )
56 Christchurch Road Ref. No. 7-2016-2265-E
This is an application to construct a three/four storey block of 32 flats on the site of a much smaller, nineteenth century property
The new design would be in the form of a large half timbered, mansion block; a built form that was very popular in expanding fashionable resorts at the end of the nineteenth century. The main feature of the principal facade would be two prominent half-timbered projections merging into gables around which would be grouped a symmetrical arrangement of large vertical casement windows.
Although by reason of mass, size and style, this property is very different from that which it would replace, the Society think that by reason of the large volume of adjacent structures, it would be spatially harmonious with the existing townscape. However we also note that in other parts of central Bournemouth where new flats are being built, almost identical historisist designs are being put forward. In effect these blocks are in reality modern blocks of flats, cleverly disguised in antique dress. The Society therefore suggests to the Planning Department that where circumstance dictate a new building in an historical style, a much greater variety of older design forms should be considered. To conclude: since this application generally satisfies the majority of the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan. we suggest it be allowed. ( 4.19, i, ii, and iii )