PLANNING APPLICATIONS RECEIVED BY THE BOURNEMOUTH PLANNING DEPARTMENT DURING OCTOBER 2017 – A CRITIQUE BY JOHN SOANE, BUILT ENVIRONMENT CONSULTANT TO BOURNEMOUTH CIVIC SOCIETY
5-7 Priory Road Ref. No. 7-2017-4502-N
This is an application to construct a six storey block of ten holiday and 35 residential flats in modernist style on the existing car park immediately adjoining the Trouville Hotel. It is a sloping site and on the edge of the West Cliff Conservation Area.
The principal facade would consist of a rectangular block made up of a series of concrete rectangles – some very slightly projecting – within which would be smaller concrete sections, each one containing a recessed glass fronted apartment behind asymmetrically positioned glass or horizontally divided balconies. Above would be three distinctive penthouses- somewhat asymmetrically designed in respect to the dimensions of the principal facade. The rear facade is generally similar to the main elevations but with fewer concrete divisions while the side elevation consists of alternative slabs of concrete wall between different sized rectangular windows.
The Civic Society are reasonably satisfied with the general mass and dimensions of what is proposed and we also accept that in the use of this site for apartments, an appropriate form of modernist design would be acceptable. We do though question whether the loss of the existing hotel car park is wholly desirable and that adequate alternative provision is available.
However we strongly feel that the principal elevation appears to resemble other rather chunky and box like blocks of flats with an undue horizontal emphasis that have been constructed in parts of Bournemouth in recent years. Quite apart from being unsympathetic in respect to the existing more traditional buildings in the upper part of Priory Road, the appearance of what is proposed would be very much out of place with the vertical fenestration and Juliet balconies of the new block of flats recently built opposite; the elegant proposed modernist/classical design for the new international hotel just below the flats and the ultimate design of the Winter Gardens project on the corner of Priory and Exeter Roads.
We would therefore suggest that the basic elements of the principal elevation – including any projections – be made more integrated and symmetrically balanced minus one storey; that the penthouse section should follow suit and that in addition to emphasising vertical divisions between each flat, the glass facades and French windows be made more vertical and that all balconies be faced by traditional style imitation iron railings.
Under these circumstances, the Society has concluded that since this application does not fully comply with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, and rather than be refused it should be deferred for further discussion. ( Policy 4.19, i, ii, iii )
97 Ashley Road Ref. No. 7-2017-4157-H
This is an application to remove several one storey extensions to the late Victorian Portman Hotel and to add a substantial, two storey extension at the south east corner in order to create a two/three storey block of 23 flats and one free standing house at the north west corner of the site.
The existing building is quite a competently designed structure in English, seventeenth century vernacular-baroque style. The proposed extension in conjunction with the existing facade, would create the impression of an extended piece of townscape in an historicist guise. The new section would be of two stories with a substantial hipped roof, dormers and gable to the south. It would be built of brick to match the existing building material and the fenestration on the principal, rear and side elevations would be symmetrically positioned in the form of historic casement windows.
Given the relative spaciousness of the site, the Society feels that the general appearance of the existing buildings could certainly be improved by the proposed alterations. We also think there is sufficient room for the two storied individual house which, with a pitched roof, would follow a simplified Arts and Crafts design with sash windows enclosing upper divisions.
However although we find the exterior appearance of the new proposals suitable, we are sorry to learn that many of the proposed flats would be exceptionally small – 15 only containing one bedroom each – and fall below national guideline standards for reasonably sized apartments. And in this respect our fears are echoed by local residents. It has been suggested a further increase in the already excessive number of rather small, poky flats in Boscombe is likely to worsen the social pressures on single persons in this part of the resort at the expense of providing more family orientated accommodation as suggested by the Boscombe Local Plan. The Working Group of the Boscombe/Pokesdown Local Plan has also urged the need for a much more integrated approach to the general redevelopment of this part of the neighbourhood – whereby plans for the Portman Hotel; the remainder of the Royal Victoria Hospital site and the Boscombe Coal Yard should be considered together.
Under such circumstances, the Society has concluded that since this application does not fully comply with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, rather than being refused it should be deferred for further discussion. (Policy 4.19, i, ii, iii )
16 Vale Road 7-2017-15194-B
This is an application to build a three storey block of nine flats in modernized, Arts and Crafts style to replace a modern bungalow in a road of bungalows near Southcote Road. The proposed building which would rise on an enlarged built footprint would be generally rectangular in shape with two, three and two story projections on the front facade. There would be a prominent hipped roof and the symmetrical fenestration would be in the form of modern sash windows.
Although the new structure is a reasonably competent design, the Society feels that by its height and mass, it would visually overwhelm the adjacent small bungalows; a feeling that was echoed by local comment which also feared a dearth of parking spaces. Consequently we have decided that because this application does not abide by the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused. ( 4.19, i, ii, iii )
1-5 Hendford Road, Ensbury Park Ref. No. 7-2017-977-J
This is an application to develop a small area of backland at present used as a builders yard within a well established residential area, using the existing entrance ( between two houses ) to the site. Two pairs of very small, simply designed, semi detached houses with pitched roofs would be constructed, leaving room only for car parking spaces.
The Society is of the opinion that this development would amount to a gross over development of a restricted site – a view shared by local residents who are also worried about curtailment of sunlight and privacy for adjacent properties. Since such irresponsible planning applications occur on a regular basis, the Society calls upon the Planning Department to formulate a more precise policy to prevent this unwelcome practice.
Accordingly, since we feel that this application does not in any way fulfil the townscape conditions of the Bournemouth Local Plan, we suggest that it be refused. (Policy 4.19, i, ii, iii )
115-123 Seabourne Road Ref. No. 7-2017-1125-I
This is an application to construct a new third floor extension on top of a late nineteenth century apartment/retail building in order to create eight student-studio flats in the roof space – to be lit by dormer windows. A new walk way would be constructed at roof level and access to the accommodation would be via a protected exterior staircase.
The Society notes that with the exception of the exterior staircase there would be minimal physical changes to the existing building. We also appreciate that the new student accommodation would be most useful for participants attending courses at the nearby European College of Chiropractic. However the Society has misgivings about the visual qualities and especially the general safety of, the proposed external staircase; the necessity of having to climb three storeys in the open and then traverse a walk way on a dark night could be extremely off putting for some students. In addition we think that the absence of car parking facilities would also be a considerable disadvantage. Therefore we feel that this scheme would only be practical if car parking facilities were provided and that access to the roof studios would be gained by an internal staircase and corridor.
Consequently the Society has decided that since this application does not completely fulfil the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, rather than be refused it should be deferred for further discussion. (Policy 4.19, i, ii, iii )
647 Christchurch Road Ref. No.7-2017-2445-AH
This is an application to construct a very large, second floor extension along the full width of the long, narrow rear area of an existing shop; there would be an external staircase to reach the second floor.
The Society observes that this is another attempt to overbuild to an excessively high density, the limited space behind nineteenth/early twentieth century retail premises. We are certain that if allowed – not only would the appearance of the site be degraded but the quality of life in this highly urbanised area likewise would suffer considerably. Accordingly, the Society calls upon the Planning Department to evolve a planning policy to prevent further transgressions of this sort in well established neighbourhoods of the resort.
Accordingly, we think that since this application in no way observes the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused. ( Policy 4.19, i, ii, iii )