PLANNING APPLICATIONS RECEIVED BY THE BOURNEMOUTH PLANNING DEPARTMENT DURING NOVEMBER 2020 – A CRITIQUE BY JOHN SOANE, BUILT ENVIRONMENT CONSULTANT TO BOURNEMOUTH CIVIC SOCIETY
74 Green Road Ref. No. 7-2020-840-N
This is an application to build two pairs of two storey, semi-detached houses together with a fifth house at the rear of the venue on a site that is presently occupied by unused industrial premises. The neighbourhood was laid out in the form of small residential dwellings in the early Twentieth Century but the immediate area has since been changed by brownfield development in the vicinity.
Each of the two semi-detached structures would be constructed in a modernised Arts and Craft design. Each principal façade would contain two porched entrances in relation to a symmetrical facade containing modern vertical sash windows below a prominent pitched roof. The single house of one and a half storeys is a simpler interpretation of the semi-detached properties. Although the Society accepts local opinion that the new development could result in a loss of light and privacy and an unwanted and perhaps dangerous increase in traffic and parking problems, we feel that the built footprint of the two pairs of semi-detached houses although somewhat larger than that of adjacent houses is reasonably compatible with the varied spatial layout of the surrounding neighbourhood.
However we do think the inclusion of a fifth house to the rear of the site amounts to over development and should be removed. Consequently the Society has concluded that since this proposal does not fully comply with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused.
174 Old Christchurch Road Ref . No. 7-2020-1284-T
This is an application to construct a new three storey extension at the rear of a substantial late nineteenth century, two/three story structure, originally built for retail and residential use in the vicinity of Horseshoe Common and now used as a night club. The existing two storey extensions would be demolished and replaced by a new three storey block. The lower ground floor and basement would contain service and infrastructure facilities and a new entrance to the club. Above would be a new smoking room with false windows mimicking the fenestration design on the upper floors. Above this level would be a narrow landscaped roof garden and an enclosed open terrace and loggia. According to the planning justification, the extension would create much needed extra space and reduce objectionable odours and noise in respect to adjacent residential property.
Generally speaking. The Society finds the scheme plausible. The rear appearance of this significant terrace has never been considered as architecturally important as the principal elevation. Alterations to other parts of the terrace have taken place over the years and we are of the opinion that what is proposed will be both a visual improvement to the building in question and a relative enhancement of the perspective context of neighbouring structures. The Society therefore has decided that since this application satisfies the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be allowed.
331-333 Charminster Road Ref. No. 7-2020-6443-D
This is an application to create two new flats at roof level within an existing early twentieth century retail -cum- residential, two storied structure on the corner of Markham Road. The accommodation would consist of one, one bedroom flat and one studio flat. A new three storey staircase tower would be constructed at the north east rear corner of the property to provide access to the new flats. Such conversions in order to provide accommodation mainly for students have become relatively commonplace within historic neighbourhoods in recent years. In these particular circumstances the Society considered what is proposed a reasonable proposition. Thus we have decided that since this application fulfils the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Plan, it should be allowed.
5 Wotton House, Wotton Mount Ref. No. 7-2020-328-I
This is an application to demolish the existing Wotton House , a much altered, late Victorian property of no exceptional architectural importance and to build a six storey building containing 32 residential units of social housing. The position of the site is to the south west of Wotton Mount (adjacent to Old Christchurch Road ) and between the late nineteenth century residential semi detached properties of Wotton Gardens and a series of large modern structures – the telephone exchange and modern blocks of flats – facing on to Bath Road. Being between two such contrasting types of urban townscape, the Society thinks that the proposed building – with a built foot print shaped like an indented rectangle – has been pragmatically designed as a synthesis of a traditional mansion block shape with considerable modernist, stylistic, influences.
The main feature of the principal facade consists of two projections at either end of the elevation, with sub projections and ending in four gables that would merge into the hipped roof. There would be modern, vertical casement windows on all upper floors within the projections and several Juliet balconies. The central part of the main façade would be in the form of parallel, closely positioned vertical glass panels separated by thin concrete strips. The ground floor would be given over to storage and parking , together with a sunroom.
Although the Society believes the design reasonably well structured given the circumstances of the site, we would suggest that the very conventional modernist setting for the glass panels in the centre could be improved by abolishing the vertical divisions and emphasising the wider horizontal divisions together with a more distinctive entablature at the top. Consequently, we think that since this application soes not completely fulfil the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further discussion and improvement.
99 Holdenhurst Road
No formal planning application has been received for this massive development; what follows is taken from the Daily Echo.
On the present site of the offices of Goadsby and Harding, near the junction between Holdenhurst Road and St. Pauls Road, it is proposed to erect a very large complex towered structure of 21 storeys which will contain 334 one and two bedroom apartments and a selection of mixed use commercial and community facilities. There would also be two parking decks below with spaces for 141 vehicles.
The lower three storeys of the integrated four tower complex which would house the non-residential sections of the building would appear as a podium holding up the remainder of the towers above and be encircled by more substantial concrete pilasters. Above the remaining floors would be grouped in three or four “box” sections by substantial horizontal and somewhat thinner vertical concrete structural sections. Although the ratio of mass to height appears to follow the more vertical design concepts of Anglo-American, modern metropolitan planning, the restrained, balanced and horizontal style of the facades is more influenced by the latest visual achievements from Central Europe – especially Berlin.
In respect to the relevance of what is proposed to the context of the site; the Society accepts that with regard to the Holdenhurst Road, St. Pauls Road, Oxford Road, Oxford Lane district of Bournemouth this area over the last 25 years has been allowed to become a show case for late 20th. Century/early 21st Century European, modernist architecture. A new kind of distinctive townscape/skyline -rather similar but on a much smaller scale to Los Angeles – is emerging and therefore we accept that the new tower complex will become an integrated element in this visual spectacle. It is also to be hoped that the development will enhance a pedestrian/cycle pathway between Oxford Road and Holdenhurst Road. However the Society would suggest that two storeys be removed from the top most tower in Holdenhurst Road.
24 Stillmore Road Ref. No. 7-2020-27945
It is proposed to erect a terrace of three reasonably spacious houses on three floors on a triangular site near Ringwood Road, not far from the Bournemouth Water HQ in Francis Road. The built footprint would be in the shape of a large rectangle with room for parking in front and private gardens behind. Unfortunately it has proved impossible for us to find a drawing of the proposed elevation; however it seems that the long side elevations would contain unsymmetrical fenestration. So far as the Society can ascertain, irrespective of local fears of over development and loss of natural habitat, we feel that the proposal is generally appropriate for its position. Therefore since this application generally meets the townscape policy criteria for the Bournemouth Local Plan, we think it should go ahead.
20-22 Hankinson Road Ref. No. 7-2020-5853-C
This is an application to build a two and a half storey block of eight flats on the site of a modernist family residence built in the 1960’s to the rear of an already developed site – on which stand two detached houses at the other end of the site built round about 1900. The new property would be designed in the form of a small block of nineteenth century artisan apartments in rustic/Arts and Crafts style with a prominent hipped roof and dormers. The principal façade would be symmetrical and encompass three entrances; the central one framed by pilasters and topped by a shallow pediment. The rear elevation would be in the same style but asymmetrically designed. Fenestration throughout would be in the form of double and triple traditional casement windows.
The Society is of the opinion that irrespective of the compatible visuality of the proposed new structure it is far too large and overbearing for the dimensions of the site. And this opinion is shared by local residents who fear that the tendency to build in back gardens in this area would degrade its visual character – leading to an unwelcome increase in HMOs, parking problems and and a reduction of privacy for adjacent properties. Also we believe strongly that just because a particular site has been poorly redeveloped in the past (viz. the present house on this spot built in the 1960’s), this should not automatically dictate that the same built footprint should be followed in future planning applications. Consequently, the Society recommends that since this proposal in no way follows the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused.
7-11 Poole Hill and 39-41 West Hill Road Ref. No. 7-2020-13166-V
This is an application to reconstruct the nineteenth century ruined old stable block of the adjacent, former Pembroke Hotel in order to create three retail units on the ground floor and four flats above. The later Victorian terrace on the other side of the site would also be restored as two flats. The site lies within the West Cliff and Pool Hill Conservation Area.
The new building on Poole Hill would follow closely the general design of the old stables. The original entrance would be recreated in the form of a gabled projection merging with a pitched roof. On the principal façade, nineteenth century style shop fronts would be created on the ground floor with modern sash windows above.
The Society very much welcomes this proposal that would bring a much needed enhancement of a much neglected but aesthetically important area of historic Bournemouth, back to life. The old stable block has been unoccupied for two decades and has been allowed quite literally fallen down. Therefore since this admirable development completely fulfils the conservation policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, we recommend its adoption without reservation.
12 Foxholes Road, Southbourne Ref. No. 7-2020-2325-D
This is an application to replace a substantial mid twentieth century chalet bungalow with a three storey block of six flats. The proposed structure would be a rectangular block in traditional materials with two prominent gabled projections with bargeboards taking up the greater part of the principal elevation. There would be double and triple sets of casement windows throughout but with French windows on the rear ground floor.
The Society thinks that what is proposed is too monumental in respect to the immediate townscape and also too massive for the restricted site. Apparently several similar planning applications have been turned down and we agree with the majority of the 21 comments sent in by local residents that there should now be a slow down in the demolition of original houses for new blocks of flats; otherwise the distinctive urban qualities would be completely spoilt. We would suggest that serious discussions should take place between householders and the planning department to determine what proportion of sites should be allowed to be re-developed and where. In respect to the proposal in question, we also think that if a rebuild does take place it should have a considerably smaller built footprint with a lower roofline. Consequently, the Society feels that, under the circumstances, the Society has concluded that because the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan have not been properly observed, this application should be refused.
36 Burnham Drive Ref. No. 7-2020-223-AW
This is an application to make extensions to an existing large 1960’s bungalow mainly in the form of a new heightened hipped roof to create extra living space.
Although, as the Society observes, the new more prominent roofs, with two distinctive dormers, would, purely in relation to the existing bungalow alone, enhance the architectural appearance of the property, we are also fully aware from over 20 communications from local residents, that the proposed alterations would considerably diminish the integrated aesthetic effect of 36 Burnham Drive and two other adjacent bungalows that were built all of a piece by the builder that laid out this part of the estate. Under these circumstances, the Society was not surprised to learn that previous application for similar alterations had been turned down.
As a solution to this planning complication, we would suggest that the legitimate need of the householder to create more living space and the legitimate needs of local inhabitants to preserve the fine characteristics of the neighbourhood might be solved by allowing the roof extension to be not quite so large as what is proposed and not to large to seriously affect the integrated appearance of the three bungalows in question.
Therefore we feel that since this application has not fully satisfied the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further discussion.