PLANNING APPLICATIONS SUBMITTED TO THE BOURNEMOUTH PLANNING DEPARTMENT DURING OCTOBER 2020 – A CRITIQUE BY JOHN SOANE, BUILT ENVIRONMENT CONSULTANT, BOURNEMOUTH CIVIC SOCIETY
This is an application to construct a three storey block of 18 flats on the large site of a former industrial building on the corner of Cleveland and Spring Roads. Apart from some adjacent industrial structures, the area consists mainly of late nineteenth century, terraced and semi-detached artisan houses.
The built foot print of the proposed flats would follow that of the existing building; its mass and form would resemble a large concrete rectangle with some slight projections of lesser height at the narrow end elevations. The fenestration is quite distinctive and consists of modern generally rectangular casement windows of several different sizes; a few designed in the shape of modern oriel windows and positioned unsymmetrically in a random and somewhat eclectic fashion on all the four elevations of the proposed building. There are several Juliet balconies on the first and second floors opposite French windows.
The Society feel that the proposed structure would appear as an over large monolithic block which would be far too large in scale for the surrounding townscape. It would not exhibit any sense of integrated design or visual order and would be seen merely as a motley collection of pretentious windows punched into a concrete carcass. Indeed local opinion is of the opinion that the inadequate appearance of the new proposals is geared mainly to accommodate a predetermined number of residential units. Consequently it is widely believed that the exterior appearance is of secondary importance and the size of the small, mainly one bedroom flats will fall below the minimum national standards; thus private amenity space and adequate landscaping would be severely curtailed as well as adequate car parking.
In the Design Brief where the concepts of “modern” and “Inclusive” are considered mutually interchangeable terms, the obvious contradiction of this deduction is simply not recognised; no idea exists of the obvious social and visual incongruity of modernist and late nineteenth century urban forms.
The Society would therefore suggest that the general façade design of new development on this site, should be more in keeping with the surrounding properties and that the excessively long side elevations the present proposals be broken up into three separate architectural elements.
Under these circumstances, we have concluded that since this planning proposal in no way satisfies the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused.
Hop Inn, 6 West Cliff Road Ref. No. 7-2020-5964-P
This is an application to create a visual make over of the Hop Inn, a well established hostelry on the Bournemouth West Cliff. The scheme would include new advertising material on the front elevation to West Cliff Road; one quite prominent wall sign together with two quite large wall projecting signs on the side façade to West Hill Road and the painting black of the entire late nineteenth century building
The Society has no problem with the conventional wall signs – but we are strongly against the two projecting wall signs which we think are far too prominent and visually poorly positioned. However our main complaint is about the painting of the building completely in a very dark colour. The Society thinks the existing colour scheme is infinitely preferable; for indeed bright colours of leisure buildings has been a normal feature of seaside resorts since the early Nineteenth Century. It would therefore a most irresponsible thing to do to paint a much visited pub in such a dreary colour. If this happened, visitor numbers would probably be much reduced and the surrounding area would also suffer.
Consequently because the application does not properly fulfil the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, the Society has decided that this application should be refused.
49 Markham Avenue Ref. No. 7-2020-18703-E
This is an application to demolish an existing, much extended bungalow and associated outbuildings on a triangular site at the end of the Markham Avenue cul-de-sac. Three of the bungalows would be constructed along the wide rear boundary of the site while the fourth would go at the apex of the site beside the entry to the other three bungalows. All the bungalows would have private back gardens with parking spaces in the front. Each bungalow would be of average size containing a multi purpose kitchen/dining/living area and two bedrooms. Each residence would be constructed in the inter-war suburban Arts and Crafts style with a prominent hipped roof.
The Society is reasonably happy with the bungalow design but not with how they are laid out on the site. We agree with local inhabitants who feel strongly that the development is yet another example of excessively cramped over development – similar to what has already happened in other parts of the neighbourhood in recent years. It was felt that parking problems would only get worse and that the natural conditions of wild life in the area would be threatened. The Society appeals to the Bournemouth Planning Authority to be ever vigilant against bad developments that are likely to destroy the original spatial viability of established historical neighbourhoods. We would suggest that if new build is to take place no more than two bungalows should be constructed on this site.
Therefore having considered the circumstances of this proposal, we think that since it has not fully abided by the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused.
137 Broadway Southbourne Ref. No. 7-2020-27884
This is an application to construct two, two storey, semi-detached dwellings on the site of a mid twentieth century bungalow.
Although the general proportions of the new structure are generally traditional; apart from the hipped roof, the design of the principal elevation is distinctly modernist. The central part of the façade contains the two main entrances with two large rectangular, horizontally divided, windows above. The extremities are in the form of slight projections which are taken up entirely by two very large windows that end in gables framed in concrete. The upper windows rise to a triangle apex within each gable.
The Society thinks that the incongruous design of what is proposed – vaguely traditional but also distinctly modernist makes the new development unsuitable for the adjacent townscape which consists mainly of bungalows and larger properties from the post war period. We feel it is quite possible to have a modern design that does not try to be two things at once. A facade that respects the general proportions of the present proposal but where the architectural and fenestration details are more compatible with those of adjacent properties would, we think be the best solution.
Therefore the Society has concluded that because this proposal does not fully respect the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for improvement or refused.
1008 Wimborne Road Ref. No. 7-2020-3141-AB
This is an application to construct eight flats in a two and a half storey block to be built on the former car park of the Holly public house in Moordown. The structure will be designed in traditional style with a pronounced Arts and Crafts influence. The principal street façade would be symmetrically laid out with a central gable merging into a prominent steep roof. Fenestration would be in the form of vernacular casement wndows with double dormers above. the distinctive central doorway would be visually connected with the window above. Granted the adjacent existence of a large part of the original early twentieth century townscape, the Society is reasonably happy with what is proposed. The main problems as indicated by local comment is the potential reduction of privacy and sunlight by the positioning of the building in relation to properties in Marks Road just to the north and the generally small size of the flats. The first conundrum, eventually will be solved by a repositioning of the new block nearer to Wimborne Road; but as to the other matter – we would suggest that the number of proposed flats in the block be reduced to no more than six – all with larger two bedrooms each.
Therefore the Society has concluded that since this application does not fully comply with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth LocaL Plan it should be deferred for improvement or refused.
14 Lombard Avenue Ref. No. 7-2020-2788
This is an application to build a two storey extension to a substantial, interwar family residence. The extension would consist of a new garage below and a master bedroom with en suite facilities above.
The Society generally approves of the general proportions and hipped roof of the new extension. However what we strongly dislike is the large, classically influenced, window (complete with small pediment) on the west wall of the new extension. Its presence totally spoils the existing Art Deco/Arts and Crafts ambience of the existing main façade. We would therefore suggest that if a large window is desired for the master bedroom, it should be placed on the less architecturally important south wall and a smaller, more horizontally orientated, casement window be inserted on the west wall in place of the originally proposed large window.
Consequently, 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 improvement or refused.
46-48 Dalmeny Road (near Hengistbury Head ) Ref. No. 7-2020-2567-L
This is an application to convert and extend, two, mid twentieth century detached houses into structures connected by a linking staircase section containing six flats. The new property, superficially have traditional proportions including two wide projections on the principal elevation which would merge into gables that would become part of the pitched roof. The fenestration would be modern in design and consist of up to four vertical glass panes in line, with French windows and glass balconies at first floor and gable level.
The Society, generally, is satisfied with the visual appearance of the new structures but we feel that the general mass and form of the building should be reduced in scale and the excessive size of the windows should also be made smaller to be more in keeping with the surrounding townscape. Indeed we agree with local opinion that the exceptional size and luxurious fittings of the proposed flats (including three bath rooms in one flat!! ) would be an open invitation for the creation of second homes for the wealthy which would go against the family social cohesion which has always been an important aspect of the residential neighbourhoods in the vicinity of Hengistbury Head. In effect the Society suggests that the proposed flats should be de-exclusified by changes in the interior design of the proposed block in order to be more socially acceptable to the existing community. We have therefore concluded that since this application has not satisfied the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused.
117 Ensbury Park Road Ref. No. 7-2020-13029-K
This is an application to construct two, two bedroom bungalows at the rear of two narrow sites that were developed as detached, family houses in the early/mid Twentieth Century. The bungalows which would be of very conventional design, would be built parallel to each other with room for only very small private gardens up to the rear boundary. Entry to these new properties would be via a private drive that would run between no. 117 and no. 113, Ensbury Park Road. Most of the land either side of the private road between the rear of nos 117 and 113 and the new bungalows, would be devoted to car parking and service facilities.
The Society notes that here is another blatant example of an attempt to create new residential development at an excessively high and unhealthy density on historic site that are already developed and which were never designed for further building. We are totally against what is being attempted at 117 Ensbury Park Road and we most sincerely request the Planning Department yet again to create a firm policy that outlaws such irresponsible planning practices.
Under the circumstances, because this proposal in no way concurs with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan we, suggest that it be refused.
19 Kingswell Road, East Howe Ref. No. 7-2020-3029-I
So far as can be understood from the somewhat imprecise plans and elevations of this planning proposal, the intention is to build a new detached, two storey house in inter war suburban style on the vacant half of the double site of no 19, to be known as no 17.
The built footprint would be similar in size to that of adjacent houses and to the rear of the site there would be gardens for no. 19 and no. 17 and a parking area just beyond. The principal façade would encompass a two storey bay window with a prominent hipped roof above. Irrespective of local fears about the lack of privacy, the Society finds what is proposed quite acceptable since what is proposed is no different to what would now be built on this site if normal planning arrangements had been followed when this neighbourhood was originally built.
Consequently, we have decided that since this proposal conforms to the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be allowed.
Land beside 973 Christchurch Road ( Pokesdown Hill ) Ref. No. 7-2020-4106-B
This is an application to construct a pair of semi-detached houses on mainly vacant ground beside 973 Christchurch Road. The built footprint would be considerably larger than that of adjacent property which were constructed as suburban family houses in the inter war period. The principal façade would be designed in modernised Arts and Crafts style with a hipped roof and gabled projections at the extremities. The central part of the elevation would contain the two entrances with very modernist doors and fenestration would be in the form of symmetrically positioned casement windows. The rear part of the site would be given over to private gardens and parking spaces.
Although the general design of what is proposed might be considered more or less compatible with neighbouring properties, the Society is of the opinion that here is an example of over development within a limited and constricted open space where in our opinion only one smaller property at the rear end of the site along Connaught Road should be allowed, or better still, the site should remain un developed as a valuable open space and possibly landscaped accordingly.
Under the circumstances, the Society feel that because in this proposal th townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan have not been properly applied, it should be refused
18 Holdenhurst Avenue, Iford Ref. No. 7-2020-1736-F
This is an application to make substantial two storey rear additions to a palatial, inter war, family residence built in modern Arts and Crafts style. The addition would be asymmetrically shaped with a large living/dining kitchen area on the ground floor and new bedrooms above. The design of the slanting extension would be in the modernist style. Below an asymmetrically pitched roof, there would be three large, rectangular windows on the first floor and a series of six tall, glass vertical panels beside a single projecting rectangular window at ground floor level.
The Society can only conclude that here is a prime example of a somewhat eclectic attempt to introduce modern forms of design irrespective of whether or not they are suitable in any particular architectural context. In this proposal we can only say that we find the conjunction of this somewhat inept piece of moderist design and the elegant roof and chimneys of the existing house, weird in the extreme. Therefore we feel that the new extension is completely aesthetically unsuitable both in respect to the existing appearance of 18 Holdenhurst Avenue and also quite harmful in relation to the longer visual perspective of the rear elevations of adjacent rear facades, viewed en mass, of the houses either side of this property.
The Society would recommend instead that the new extension be designed with architectural features more in tune with the existing style of the house and upon a more regularly shaped, built foot print. We think that the scale of the spatiality of larger sites occupied by grander suburban houses as in Holdenhurst Avenue is still not spacious enough to indulge in radical architectural experiments.
The Society has therefore decided that because this proposal does not comply with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan it should be refused.
25 Glenferness Avenue Ref. No. 7-2020-16239-Q
This is an application to construct a substantial, two and a half storey block of eight flats in the grand Arts and Crafts style that was employed to build a high proportion of large detached houses in this part of Glenferness Avenue in the 1920’s and 1930’s. The site of the new development is a large bungalow built in mid Twentieth Century.
Each of the four elevations is asymmetrically designed below a complex and prominent hipped roof with dormers. Except for the north facade which is simpler and has fewer windows, the other facades have varied projections and include on the west elevation an elaborate two story bay window ending in a gable. The windows everywhere are regularly positioned in groups of two, three or four vertical glass elements and with three sets of imitation wrought iron balconies in front of French windows on the first floor.
The Society is highly satisfied with the proposed design; it imitates perfectly the prevailing interwar architectural style of Glenferness Avenue and replaces one of several totally unsatisfactory post war bungalows that were built along this road in the 1950’s and 1960’s. We recommend the new structure without reservation. Consequently the Society feels that since this application fully reflects the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Civic Society, it should be allowed.
154 Iford Lane, Southbourne Ref. No. 7-2020-5712-I
This is an application to construct two detached dwelling houses on a piece of waste land beside the railway embankment where the London line goes over Iford Lane. The two houses both of which would have simple rectangular built footprints would be spaced out one behind the other in the centre of the site. Below a pitched roof, each house would present an austere appearance with generally vertically orientated, fenestration and with French windows on the ground floor.
After careful consideration the Society has concluded that since there is no pressing aesthetic reason for buildings on this site to conform more precisely to a particular style, the austere appearance of the two houses could be accepted. However we do feel that a better positioning of these properties is possible. One structure should go beside the far western perimeter of the site while the other should be placed on the northern boundary not too distant from the site entrance with Iford Lane. We think that if this change is carried out, each house would enjoy more private land and privacy.
So we think that because this application does not fully comply with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deffered for further discussion and improvement.