PLANNING APPLICATIONS RECEIVED BY THE BOURNEMOUTH PLANNING DEPARTMENT DURING OCTOBER 2021 – A CRITIQUE BY JOHN SOANE, BUILT ENVIRONMENT CONSULTANT TO BOURNEMOUTH CIVIC SOCIETY
Flat development, Southbourne Cross Roads , Southbourne Ref. No. 7-2021-28119
This is a proposal to construct four blocks containing a total of 27 flats on the existing fairly narrow Southbourne Cliffs car park that borders the Southbourne Coast Road. The blocks would be of two, three, four and three storeys in height and irrespective of variations of dimensions and mass each block would be a rectangular structure : on the seaward elevations consisting of a series of horizontal and vertical concrete staunchions framing rectangular spaces filled with large glass panels; on the rear facades there being very pronounced and wider vertical wall sections between much larger fenestration elements stretching over several floors.
The Society feels that the design of all the prospective new blocks are far too angular in appearance – each building element looks as if it has been put together in the form of random series of box containers with glass sliding panels and with no sense of an overall integrated aesthetic design. We feel that the facades appear to lack any distinctive character and exhibit only the most primitive form of architectural perspective. The Society is conscious of the fact that this kind of extensive development is supposed to produce accommodation for a fairly wide range of social groups – not briefly tenanted and expensive pads for absentee owners. We think that the present proposals only offer a throwback to the sterile ideological modernism of the 1960’s.
Not surprisingly an unprecedented 641 local residents feared that what was proposed would constitute a serious blot on the general character of the surrounding neighbourhood and sent in representations – the main complaints being: that the proposed new structures would be totally inappropriate in both size and appearance for the restricted site where they would be constructed and would block the existing sea views from property situated behind in Saint Catherine’s Road; that the high density urban development of the new blocks of flats would create a serious disruption to the existing well integrated, family orientated life style of the surrounding area and that a much higher number of new residents would seriously worsen the parking problem and cause increased social disruption in summer across what is now a generally peaceful part of Southbourne.
Quite understandably, the Society has decided that the present planning application does not come near to satisfying the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan and should be refused.
11 Bodorgan Road, Meyrick Park Ref. No. 7-2021-1216-W
This is an application that calls for the demolition of the existing twentieth century bungalow, a building of no architectural importance. Instead would come a three storey, rectangular shaped structure containing five semi detached dwelling houses and built according to a modernised Arts and Crafts design. There would be a generally symmetrically shaped front façade of five bays, connected to two ( two storey and one storey ) bay windows – the whole complex being crowned by a complex hipped roof with dormers. The rear elevation would be simpler and provided with five French windows.
The Society feel that although the general appearance of the proposed design is quite reasonable, the width of the new building is somewhat too wide for the restrictions of the site. We think it should be reduced by one bay and consequently a more asymmetrical interpretation of the principal elevation would be more appropriate for a structure now only four bays wide.
Consequently because we have concluded that what is offered does not fully satisfy the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, we think the proposal should be deferred for further discussion and improvement.
98 Lowther Road , Malmesbury Park Ref. No. 7.2021-25256-A
This is an application to demolish an existing Edwardian Arts and Crafts /Art Deco family house and to build a new two storey block of nine flats in a more traditionalist Arts and Crafts style. The built foot print would be up to one third larger than those of adjacent properties – being in the general form of a rectangle. The front façade would be divided into three main sections by different building materials and the presence of a prominent end projection connected to a two storey bay window and ending in a barge boarded gable as part of a complex hipped roof. The rear elevation with French windows would be a simplified version of the front and all windows except on the long sides would be sash with upper divisions, symmetrically positioned.
The Society is of the opinion that although the design is relatively complimentary to the surrounding neighbourhood, it should be made less flamboyant (without the double bay window ) in order to fit in with the surrounding style. We also think that the proposal should contain no more than 4 or 5 flats
Indeed in nearly 60 representations from local residents, there was considerable alarm that what was proposed did not fully respect the existing distinctive, early twentieth century character of the area and that such develops threatened the unique architectural character of Lowther Road. It was suggested, considering that earlier plans for the redevelopment of the site had already been rejected three times, that a less drastic conversion of the property into fewer flats would be a better solution. Too many people of diverse origins living on an overdeveloped site could threaten the social continuity of the district which had hither to been protected by property of non excessive size and accepted family values.
Under the circumstances, because the Society does not think that this planning application fully respects the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, we think it should be deferred for further discussion and inprovement
8 Carbery Avenue , Southbourne Ref. No. 7-2021-2515-K
This is an application to demolish the existing residential property and to erect a single, two storey building containing four separate dwellings. The structure would be of tradition proportions as for a substantial detached house with a prominent hipped roof. Apart from various entrances, the main facades would be dominated by double and triple sets of very large casement windows and French windows on the ground floor.
Although the Society accepts that the site is spacious enough to accommodate the increased size of the new built foot print and the general appearance of the new block is just about compatible with the surrounding buildings, we think that the bland and uninteresting design of the principal elevation could be enhanced by more sensitive architectural framing of the windows which also could be slightly reduced in size.
Therefore the Society feels that since not every thing has been achieved in this application to comply with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further consideration and improvement.
1A Colville Road, Boscombe Ref. No. 7-2021-28331
This is an application to demolish a small unused workshop in order to construct a small one and a half storey block of two flats at the rear of a very closely built up retail/accommodation area of central Boscombe during the rapid expansion of this part of Bournemouth in the late Nineteenth Century. The new structure would be attached to an existing rear section of the internal courtyard of the property. It would be of very small dimensions, exhibit a variety of window shapes and have a hipped roof.
The Society note that the building would enjoy virtually no private space, hardly any good light and in general terms would be situated in a position that was never intended and was never suitable for residential use. We note that here is what appears to be another example of a greedy attempt to gain income by the use of very poor planning procedures which have no place within the historic neighbourhoods of Bournemouth. Consequently the Society has decided that since this application in no way respects the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan it should be refused.
834 Old Christchurch Road, Boscombe Ref. No. 7-2021-5208-F
This is an application to build a two storey extension in relation to the conversion of existing offices int two flats. This area is part of a larger retail Arts and Crafts development backing into Warwick Road/Place, created as part of the breakneck expansion of the commercial heart of Boscombe after c.1885. The new structure would become a new extension of the rear service yard served by Warwick Place. It would be of traditional design with pitched roof and symmetrically positioned modern sash windows.
Normally the Society does not approve of such extra extensions on historically developed sites. However, in this case, the disposition of the mass in relation to the general density of the buildings in the vicinity creates a visual context that makes a reasonable proposition for such an addition. We think a further improvement to the design would be the addition of a window on the new north elevation. Finally it should also be pointed out that several local residents felt that the new building was somewhat too large for the site and possibly cause a traffic hazard.
The Society has therefore decided that since this proposal does not completely accept the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further discussion and improvement.
The Bridge, 947 Christchurch Road, Pokesdown Ref. No. 7-2021-5331-F
This is an application to construct an additional two storeys on top of the existing block of three storey flats, which was constructed on a triangular site between the main London railway line and Christchurch, some years ago. The existing property is in modern Georgian vernacular style and consists of an apex tower of four storeys merging into the three storey central section with a two story wing at the end. The proposal is to raise each of these sections proportionally so that irrespective of the increased height of the whole structure, the existing height ratio between the existing built sections would be preserved.
However having looked very carefully at the new plans, the Society has concluded that what is proposed here is overdevelopment; because even if the height ratio is preserved, it is of insufficient depth to compensate, proportionally, for the excessive number of storeys within the enlarged structure.
The Civic Society therefore most earnestly asks the Planning Department not to allow yet another original design of an existing building to be degraded for the sake merely of financial gain.
Cllr. David Kelsey the Chairman of the Planning Committee has let it be known that the Committee has already refused several applications brought under the Permitted Development Prior Approval legislation; therefore we sincerely hope what has already happened can also happen again.
The Society is of the opinion that since this application does not respect the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused.
17 Holdenhurst Road , Lansdowne Ref. No. 7-2021-7689-L
This is an application to demolish the existing buildings and construct a 1,3,5,6, storey block of 33 flats ( probably for students ) on an enclosed site surrounded mainly by late nineteenth century buildings between Holdenhurst and Lansdowne Mews ( leading to Lansdowne Road )
The Society is well aware of the extensive amount of redevelopment that has taken place in the adjacent Holdenhurst and Oxford Roads in recent years. It relates to the academic, residential and business aspects of the rapidly expanding and extensive higher educational hub that has been establishing itself around the Lansdowne. We therefore accept that it is inevitable that in this very precise part of Bournemouth, further large modernist structures are likely to be expected. However we are satisfied that in respect to this application, on account of the distance between the interior site of the prospective development and the surviving nineteenth century buildings further along Holdenhurst Road, there would be no overt visual clash of incompatible architectural styles. Consequently the Society feels that the projected 5/6 storey height of the new blocks is acceptable.
The built foot print would be in the form of a sheared off rectangle with a short east wing built towards the access passage to the building from Holdenhurst Road. The main block would be square shaped with generally symmetrical fenestration: a mixture of modern vertical sash windows Juliet French window/balconies and rectangular windows. Under the particular planning circumstances of this site, the Society is minded to conclude that because this application generally meets the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be allowed.
Solent Beach Complex, Southbourne (Bistro on the Beach) Ref. No. 7-2021-1696-J
This is an application to redevelop the existing café/restaurant and beach hut structure by a much larger three storey complex comprising an enlarged hospitality area; a considerable number of overnight beach huts and a considerably expanded service section. The existing two storey building is distinguished by a series of continuous false four centred arches at ground and first floor levels that is quite distinctive. The new three storey building would be on a narrow rectangular built footprint ; along two thirds of the seaward façade a colonnade would front the overnight beach huts on the first and second floors – the final section of the façade with a less integrated, more overtly modernist design, would shelter the new utility facilities.
Even if the Society accepts that the new replacement proposals have some merit, we wonder if such a relatively non central section of the Bournemouth beaches really needs such a massive replacement – almost amounting to the construction of large hotel. Certainly several local residents think the same way; in particular it is felt that such over development – complete with excessively elaborate laundry facilities – in inappropriate for merely a residential maritime area. Instead there are calls for the replacement of more affordable, conventional beach huts and more space for outside dining.
We therefore support the local suggestion that a comprehensive modernisation of the existing structure would be a sensible alternative – or if an elegant new building is contemplated, it should only be of two storeys, similar to what now exists. Therefore the Society has decided that because this application does not fully comply with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further discussion and improvement
20-21 Florence Road, Boscombe Ref. No. 7-2021-5672-N
This is an application to demolish the existing Merton Hall Nursing Home and to replace it with a new four storey block in modernist style of 28 flats. The site is an amalgam of two separate sites that were occupied by two substantial, late nineteenth century family houses, similar to what was built when this residential neighbourhood was laid out on the Boscombe Estate.
The new construction would present a symmetrical design on its principal façade with slight projections to vary the architectural monotony. The fenestration would consist of very large double windows and above there would be a partial mansard roof with dormers.
Although the Society feel that the replacement building is quite well proportioned, we think that the main elevation could be made less angular and austere. We think the windows could be more sensitively framed and made more a part of the general overall design. Also the building materials could be made more sympathetic to those of adjacent older buildings (warm red brick ).
Thus the Society has concluded that since this application does not completely relate to the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further discussion and improvement.
28 West Cliff Road , West Cliff Ref. No. 7-20231-1663-J
This is an application to demolish the late nineteenth mansion block ( Babbacombe Lodge ) for the erection of a four free market flats and 6 holiday lets. The proposed site lies in the West Cliff and Poole Hill Conservation area. Since the existing property on the development site adds some character to the existing historical townscape, the Society realises that with contemporary pressures to replace or convert original structures into purpose built accommodation within an important central conservation area, each case has to be taken on its merits.
In this case the new built footprint, somewhat larger than the original, would carry a four storey structure designed to resemble a traditional , late nineteenth century mansion block. The principal façade to West Cliff Road would be animated by a five storey turreted belvedere tower; a central gabled projection and another corner gabled projection with a four storey bay window. Above would be elaborate pitched and barge boarded roofs with prominent dormers. All fenestration would be regularly spaced in the form of sash windows with upper divisions.
Although the general design could be reasonably well accommodated within the surrounding townscape, we feel that the more traditionalist, later nineteenth flamboyance here shown does not properly compliment the somewhat more restrained, earlier classical restraint of adjacent properties. We also think the structure is rather too massive in relation to the greater proportion of buildings in the vicinity. Therefore the Society suggests that one story should be removed and the principal facades should be given a more sedate visual character.
Consequently, we have decided that since this application fails to fully comply with the conservation policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further discussion and improvement.
41-43 Oxford Road, Lansdowne Ref. No. 7-2021-1`453-C
This is an application to demolish the late nineteenth century, semi detached properties on the corner of Holdenhurst Road and Oxford Road in order to construct a 5 storey modernist block of 9 flats. The Society accept that it is inevitable that in respect to the very extensive new development centered on the academic, residential and business demands of Bournemouth centered on the St. Pauls and Holdenhurst areas, the last remaining original terraced properties eventually would be replaced.
The new block which is very near the projected, very large Waverley House development would be five storeys high and shaped in the form of one rectangular block joined at right angles by a recessed linking section to another block with a semi circular corner at the apex between Holdenhurst and Oxford Roads. All the facades, especially above the ground floor which would include service facilities would have continuous communal concrete balconies fronting the French windows of the flats behind. Fenestration would be in by a series single and double windows apart from the larger panorama windows in the semi circular wall on the corner.
In this very distinctive part of Bournemouth, almost completely dominated by modernist buildings, the Society feel it is the proportional ratio of the mass and form of buildings taken together that constitutes the main element in the composition of the new townscape. For this reason since there is no traditional visual context in order to judge the aesthetic compatibility of the appearance of the new structure, we can only suggest that what will eventually be built will become a further reasonable element in the eventual make up a very new townscape for the Twenty First Century.
506 Charminster Road and Sonning Way Ref. No. 7-2021-19125-A
This is an application for the demolition of an inter war, suburban detached house for the building of a new block of 5 flats. The proposed structure would have a considerably enlarged built foot print; it would be built in an adapted interwar, family house style and as far as the Society can ascertain it would take up the entire width of the plot with no space to spare. The principal façade which would be asymmetrically designed, would contain the main entrance, two, two storey bay windows, with a prominent hipped roof. The rear elevation would contain two French windows.
Even if we consider the general style of the block is relatively acceptable, the Society considers the size of the structure is far too large for the restricted site: in addition there would be far too high a human density to permit civilized occupation. We have therefore decided that since this application does not comply with the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused.
70A-70B Norton and Mansfield Road, Winton Ref. No. 7-2021-8426-B#
This is an application to build a small one and a half storey house on the corner of Norton and Mansfield Roads in the rear corner of a plot that was fully developed with a family house during the inter-war period. The new structure would have a generally traditionalist form with a distinctive pitched roof, gable and dormer. Irrespective of another recently built small house in the corner of the neighbouring plot, the Society feel strongly that an increasing number of instances where extra residential accommodation constructed entirely for gain is put up on sites that were never designed to take additional buildings should be resisted by the Planning Department. Consequently the Society has concluded that since this application in no way upholds the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused.
15 Southbourne Overcliff Drive , Southbourne Ref. No. 7-2021-28187
This is an application to demolish an interwar detached dwelling house in order to create a new, three storey dwelling house in the modernist style. The building would consist of an elongated and semi circular cornered rectangle; on the principal seaward façade, the principal floors would be partially surrounded by concrete framing within which would be large glass panels ( including French windows ) backing on to glass balconies.
Although this site is bounded by a modern block of flats and other conventional mid twentieth century structures, the Society believes it deserves a better form than the exceptionally conventional and banal design now offered.
And indeed 21 local residents have offered their opinions about this matter. Many feel the new building would be far too large for the site and not in keeping with the appearance of the surviving original, adjacent properties. There was a fear that the block would lead to a loss of light and personal privacy and eventually the use of the premises just for holiday renting. Instead of setting precedents for over development, it was considered more appropriate for the Planning Authority to encourage family enterprises on the smaller sized sites around Southbourne.
The Society itself thinks that a new building on the site should ensure a more balanced proportional connection between wall and windows together with a slightly pitched roof. So having considered all the options, we think that because this application has most certainly not supported the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused.
2 Old Christchurch Road, Town Centre Ref. No. 7-2021-1029-N
This is an application to build two additional floors in the same style for office purposes on the existing two floors of a well known Art Deco building, formerly Dolcis, built of concrete and chrome for retail use, during the interwar period. This small building on a triangular site has always been viewed in conjunction with the neighbouring much, much larger, Art Deco Building: Plummer Roddis House which was also constructed during the 1930’s.ouse- whixch was also
The Society thinks that the general view of Old Christchurch Road from the Square with the assorted historic retail buildings centred on W.H. Smith to the left and the contrasting two and eight storey Art Deco structures to the right, constitutes one of the most famous and iconic views in all Bournemouth and is much photographed by many visitors. Therefore we think it would be an act of the most outrageous aesthetic vandalism if ever this view was seriously compromised.
Moreover we would also like to point out that the visual contrast in mature architectural shapes between the small and large Art Deco premises on this spot is so fine that we think it deserves official preservation.
Finally the Society must remind the Planning Department that this famous view is also threatened by an application to put two storeys on a modern structure situated within the orbit of the famous view mentioned above ( 7 Old Christchurch Road – Ref. No. 7-2021-330-B )
Therefore we most sincerely hope that good sense will prevail and one of the most famous vistas of central Bournemouth will be preserved. Consequently, having considered the application carefully, the Society has decided that since this scheme would in no way uphold the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be refused.