PLANNING APPLICATIONS RECEIVED BY BPURNEMOUTH PLANNING DEPARTMENT DURING OCTOBER 2019; A CREITIQUE BY JOHN SOANE, BUILT ENVIRONMENT CONSULTANT TO BOURNEMOUTH CIVIC SOCIETY
32-34 Markham Road, Charminster Ref. No. 7-2019-18781-E
This is an application to construct three new bungalows on already developed double plots using the entrance to one of the existing houses as an access point for the new development. Each bungalow would be designed in modern chalet style with modern rectangular windows on the ground floor, clustered vertical windows below the roofs and small dormers above.
Two of the bungalows would be sited parallel to each other at the rear end of the garden and the third bungalow would be built between the other two bungalows and the existing properties. Although new arrangements of this sort have been allowed at nearby properties, we feel that the current fashion to build new dwellings within already developed sites amounts to overdevelopment and if allowed to continue, will considerably degrade the accepted ratio between built upon and un built upon space that exists within the historic residential neighbourhoods of Bournemouth.
In this application, for a start, the Society suggests that the third, centrally situated, bungalow be removed to make the scheme less impactful but because this current proposal does not comply with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan it be refused.
Former Grand Cinema, Poole Road, Westbourne Ref. No. 7-2019-5577-F
This is an application to construct a gym and changing rooms by the insertion of a mezzanine floor across a considerable section of the auditorium of the former Grand Cinema at Westbourne.
In view of the fact the building is still in a very reasonable condition and much of the contemporary, internal Art Deco decoration still remains, the Civic Society has been concerned that these alterations would have a considerable degrading effect on the visual character of the interior. The English Theatre Trust also protested vigorously against the proposed alterations. The question was posed: did this new use go against the council policy to provide community cultural facilities within appropriate buildings within the town? BCP Council obviously felt the proposal was inappropriate for on November 21, permission was refused. The Society strongly believes that the fine auditorium of the old cinema could be made into a centre for local theatre and musical performances and also be able to stage art film festivals from time to time.
Grassmore Hall, 21 Knole Road Ref. No. 7-2019-24794-A
This is an application to create two further flats at a late nineteenth century mansion block consisting of two stories and a basement The south elevation displays some architectural pretention with square and angled, projecting two storey bays; the east elevation also has a two storey, angled bay window. The new two storied extension would be most visible on the east side where a new bay window would complement the existing one. In view of the relatively larger size of the plots of several adjacent, houses, the Society believes that although the new extension would extend right up to the existing boundary, if built it would not degrade the existing visual characteristics of the area. Consequently, we have decided that since this application properly complies with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be allowed.
188-194 Spring Road, Springbourne Ref. No. 7-2019-3160-E
This is an application to build nine terraced houses on the site of a disused factory in a late nineteenth century, terraced, artisan area where several sites have been converted to industrial use over the years. The intention would be to build six terraced houses facing Spring Road – with another three beside the rear boundary of the site.
The new properties would be constructed in the form of two storied, artisan terraces with pitched roofs and integrated vertical modern sash windows and dormers. The Society is very much in favour of such a development; it restores to a reasonable degree the original, regular structure of terraced housing of the original plan. However we think that the short terrace of three houses to the rear of the site could be seen as over development, possibly a single structure divided into two flats would be the answer.
Therefore because this proposal does not fully meet the townscape conditions of the Bournemouth Local Plan, the Society thinks it should be deferred for further discussion and improvement.
26/28 Talbot Road Ref. No. 7-2019-26405-A
This is an application to convert and extend an existing, integrated, early twentieth century private house of two and a half stories, into five small flats. The two lower floors would each contain two, one bedroom flats; the roof which would require alterations and a changed dormer would contain one flat. In addition, a section of the neighbour’s plot would be taken to enlarge the turning circle of cars driven to the parking area.
The Society note that what is proposed is typical of contemporary trends to make high density use of existing houses in settled residential area. The result is the creation of small units of accommodation, little bigger than studio flats. We do realise that it is likely that the nearness of Bournemouth University does create a market for this type of property. However we do urge the Planning Department to realise the continuing need for family sized properties throughout Bournemouth and therefore to act accordingly to encourage, more effectively, the creation of these residential types.
Regarding this proposal, the Society would convert the ground and second floors of the house in Spring Road, only into two flats.and so because this application would not satisfy the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, we would recommend it be refused.
9 Castle Road, Moordown Ref. No. 635-O
This is an application to build 27 houses including a four storey block of flats on the site of the old established Castle Laundry in Castle Road, Moordown. The layout would take the form of three pairs of semi detached houses; five terraced houses; and a flat block along Castle Road – five terraced houses along Denmark Road with three pairs of semi detached houses at right angles behind.
The Society feels that the general equilateral layout of the proposed residential blocks will help to restore the original early twentieth century appearance of this area of Moordown. However this advantage, we feel, would be considerably by the sharply differing visual appearance of the residential blocks. The semi detached properties are distinctly higher in scale than the adjacent rather angular, terraced houses; while the flat block exhibits a conventional, boxy, modernist design with large windows which is totally out of keeping for the neighbourhood.
We would therefore suggest that more uniform blocks in keeping with the surrounding house forms be substituted in which , by means of a mixture of semi detached and terrace designs, the fenestration is made more symmetrical and better integrated into each façade. We would further suggest that further parking spaces should be provided by utilising the ground floors of some or all of the new structures for this purpose.
The Society also wishes to point out to the Planning Department that here is another example in Bournemouth of a failed attempt to synthesize elements of vernacular and modern architecture in a single scheme. As here, they always fail.
Consequently, because this proposal does not fully satisfy the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, we feel it should be deferred for further consideration and improvement.
47a Southcote Road Ref. No. 7-2019-3076-J
This is an application to create a three to four storey block of eight flats within a very built up part of Southcote Road. The block of flats would be built very closely between two existing commercial/industrial warehouses and be accessed by a narrow road right beside a terraced house on Southcote Road. Part of the ground floor would be used for car parking. Except for the rear elevation, the only possible front facade would face towards Southcote Road and consist of three separate sections The north west section would be austere and block shaped with modern rectangular windows; the middle section would be of two bays and exhibit vertical French windows with glass balconies; the southern corner would be rectangular shaped with two modern windows joined by close boarding.
Irrespective of the unusual site and hidden appearance of this facade, the Society finds the eclectic and very un co-ordinated design of this quite narrow elevation, quite inappropriate in relation to the wider general appearance of Southcote Road. We feel that the unusual combination of industrial and residential structures in Southcote Road, is no excuse for unsuitable latitude in the design of this block of flats.
Therefore while accepting the justification of residential development on this site we think that an overall coordinated design, possibly based on the central section of the principal facade would be more appropriate.
Accordingly, the Society has decided that since this proposal falls short of the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further discussion and improvement.
4 Greaves Close, rear of Kingwell Road Ref No. 7-2019-5428-Z
This is an application to construct three bungalows on an internal piece of undeveloped land which would be reached by a narrow road which at present is the entrance to no. 4 Greaves Close. The bungalows which would be of modern conventional with pitched roofs would be placed towards the rear of the site; two bungalows being placed closely parallel with each other in one corner and the third bungalow more isolated in the other corner.
The Society feel that the construction of three bungalows would create development at too higher density for the site which in turn would affect the generally spacious visual characteristics of the entire close. And these observations are echoed by 21 letters by local inhabitants: comments include fears that the new structures would not respect the appearance of adjacent houses; the potential loss of natural landscape; the fear of flooding on account of the existing high water table and the likelyhood of inadequate parking and the loss of privacy.
In spite of these objections, we think that a somewhat smaller scheme is possible on this site- possibly a single property designed as two flats.
Therefore having concluded that this application does not fully satisfy the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, we think it should be refused.
13 Durley Road South Ref. No. 7-2019-6344-V
An amended application was received by the Planning Department in late September with new designs to construct a five/six storey block of 25 free market flats and six holiday flats ( on the ground floor ) for the vacant site at 13 Durley Road South – within the West Cliff and Poole Hill Conservation Area.
One design is in the form of two rectangular, two and a half storey, blocks connected by means of a blank, modernised, belvedere tower. Fenestration would be in the form of symmetrical modern windows, with dormers inserted within the mansard roof. The Society feel that although this design is a relatively competent interpretation of 1930’s International Moderne, the general visual impact of such a building would be incompatible with the late nineteenth century seaside architecture of the West Cliff.
The other four storey design resembles a Victorian mansion flat block of which there are several on the Bournemouth cliff top. The built foot print is generally rectangular and the principal south west elevation encompasses two prominent projections of unequal width ending in gables that would be incorporated into the elaborate hipped roof. Fenestration is symmetrical in the form of modern sashes and where the principal entrance and windows on the first floor have round headed arches. The narrower street facade integrates two slight projections – together with a three storey bay window; gable windows and two dormers and a side entrance approached by an external staircase. The other two elevations are scaled down versions of the other two facades.
Not surprisingly, the Society is quite impressed with this second design and feel that if built, it would considerably enhance this corner of the West Cliff by Durley Chine. We therefore very much hope that it will be this more traditional creation that eventually will be endorsed by the Planning Department. Therefore since this new application fulfils the conservation policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, the Society suggests that it be allowed.
Wessex Fields Development and the Associated Link Road Development to the A338
The new BCP Council has decided that that Wessex Fields, between Bournemouth Hospital and the River Stour, should be developed for the general economic benefit of Bournemouth and in accordance with the general sustainability of the natural environment. In conjunction with this aim, the Council has decided to build the new link road to the boundary of Wessex Fields; from there on it is envisaged that the link road will connect with existing roads across the area before any further new extensions are contemplated.
In order to enhance the general development of Wessex Fields, the Council has decided to purchase the land there for £2m. in order to benefit from the increased value of office/employment/commercial sites that would be served by the new link road . In this way it is hoped, the Council will be able to control more efficiently the expansion of economic activity on the various sites. After legal delays, it is hoped that building the new link road will soon go ahead and be completed by March 2021; during which time detail planning of the final layout of Wessex Fields should go ahead.
It is the considered opinion of the Society that it is sufficient to build only a new approach to Wessex Fields from the Ringwood approach side of the Spur Road. Such a new access would greatly assist ambulances attempting to reach the hospital from the north in emergency circumstances. But in order to avoid excessive traffic congestion and huge visual and environmental damage to the green belt, the Holdenhurst Village Conservation Area and the historic cob barn, we do not think that a flyover at this access point is needed to deposit traffic heading north on the Spur Road out of Bournemouth. Instead we think that a new road should be built to approach Wessex Fields from Castle Lane – to run from Deansleigh Road and then between the edge of Bournemouth Hospital and the Law Courts to Wessex Fields