PLANNING APPLICATIONS SUBMITTED TO BOURNEMOUTH PLANNING DEPARTMENT DURING SEPTEMBER 2020 – A CRITIQUE BY JOHN SOANE, BUILT ENVIRONMENT CONSULTANT TO BOURNEMOUTH CIVIC SOCIETY
Hilton Hotel, Terrace Road Ref. No. 7-2020-16530-AF
This is an application to create a penthouse consisting of two flats on the 13th Floor of the Hilton Hotel. The structure would consist almost entirely of fairly large, rectangular, vertical glass panels on the east, south and west sides of the building. This residential area would be indented above the two stories below which in turn are slightly indented above the lower floors.
The Society is of the opinion that the creation of these two flats does not make an exceptional difference in the existing, distinctive silhouette of the Hilton building. We think that the larger windows here in conjunction with considerable exposure to sunlight by day and considerable artificial light by night, will give a distinctive presence to this structure. Under the circumstances we can see no particular reason why the proposed changes should not go ahead. Consequently the Society feels that since this application fulfils the townscape policy conditions of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be allowed.
24/26 Studland Road Ref. No. 7-2020-7545-F
This is an application to build two, three and a half storey high blocks for seven flats on the site of two much smaller, mid twentieth century properties of no architectural significance whatever. The design is in a modernised form of a late nineteenth century mansion block in fashionable Arts and Crafts style. The symmetrical front facades have end projections with gables that merge into prominent hipped roofs. Each projection is attached to distinctive, rectangular bay windows with quadruple vertical lights over three floors in one block and over two floors for the other. The rear elevation is somewhat more asymmetrically arranged with variations in the clustered groups of vertical window panels descending from four in the dormers to seven in the lower floors.
The Society echoes local opinion in that the construction of these proposals would be most considerable enhancement on the quality of the existing property and also encourage a great improvement on the somewhat degraded character of this part of Studland Road. In addition we also agree with general feelings in the area that such a well designed development is likely to increase the chances of good development on the two neighbouring vacant sites.
Under these circumstances, the Society has concluded that since this application fully respects the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be allowed.
22/24 Columbia Road Ref. No. 7-2020-8589-K
This is an application to construct two, two and a half story blocks of 16 flats on a double site on the corner of Columbia and Beswick Roads. This would involve the demolition of three properties: an early twentieth century, narrow family house and converted commercial premises on Columbia Road and a bungalow along Beswick Road. The new development would be in the form of two generally rectangular shaped blocks at either end of the site, formed by a synthesis of several rectangular projections and prominent, complex, hipped roofs – and with large gables on both principal facades. The general design would be a modern interpretation of the Arts and Crafts with generally regular fenestration in a mixture of older casement style windows and several French windows behind small, imitation wrought iron balconies.
The Society fully appreciates the main fear of local opinion that since only 12 parking spaces have been provided, the already overcrowded parking facilities in the area would become very overstretched. However we see the main problem as one of compatibility: how is it possible for the new blocks of flats which in form and mass are nearer in size to the other new blocks of flats that have been built on the other side of Beswick Road in recent years, also to be equally compatible with the considerably smaller townscape elements in the form of small suburban houses in Columbia Road? We think that the best solution is either to reduce the absolute scale of the new proposals or accept that because the latter are in general terms, stylistically compatible with the surrounding buildings, the particular difference in scale between old and new constructions in this area should be restricted entirely to the present boundaries of Columbia with Beswick Roads.
Under these circumstances, because this proposal does not fully satisfy the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, the Society thinks it should be deferred for further discussion.
8-10 Knyveton Road Ref. No. 7-2020-1707-D
This is an application to construct a very modernist four story block of 24 flats for elderly people by BCP Council on the site of a nineteenth century detached residence that was part of the original layout of the East Cliff Meyrick Estate. The present building has been a hotel and latterly a home for elderly residents; it is within the East Cliff Conservation Area.
Although the present architectural value of the building has been considerably compromised by numerous alterations and extensions made to it over the years and the Society fully accepts that old people deserve to be housed in the best conditions possible; nevertheless, in view of the existing architectural significance of Knyveton Road, we question the need for such a particular design and whether or not the existing building could not be radically renovated and extensively rebuilt for its continuing purpose.
What is proposed is a rectangular block in which a brick/concrete frame forming the lower three floors, embraces a generally symmetrical fenestration scheme consisting of large, vertical, rectangular, double and quadruple windows. Above is the recessed penthouse storey which displays an asymmetrical window pattern and an abstractly angled roof design above.
The Society does not deny that in absolute terms, the proposed design has merit. Our point is that because the general proportions of what is proposed are so relatively near to a more traditional design, what is the point of not following such a course – especially in the more established architectural context of Knyveton Road? We feel that balanced formulations that walk a tightrope between modern needs and good aesthetic principals, certainly are achievable.
Consequently, since this application does not fulfil the conservation policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, it should be deferred for further discussion.
609-615 Wimborne Road Ref. No. 7-2020-4083-C
This is an application to construct a three storey, modern block of seven flats on a spacious commercial/industrial site now disused, beside Winton Police Station – together with a small detached house in one corner of the rear of premises. The block would have a rectangular shape with a flat roof andthe principal and rear facades would be stepped back of two bays each.
Fenestration in the form of single or double vertical window would be regularly designed but asymmetrically positioned – more so on the east/west elevations than on those to the north and south.
In view of the presence of modern structures in the vicinity the Society does not dispute the use of modernist architectural forms mon this site. However we agree with local opinion that what is presented is rather austere barrack like even and somewhat large for the immediate area. Therefore we would suggest a somewhat small building possibly with a shallow pitched roof and with a less prominent display of window openings.
Consequently because we have concluded that this application fails to abide by all the townscape policies of the Bournemouth Local Plan, we think it should be deferred for further discussion.
966-968 Castle Lane East Ref. No. 7-2020-4317-G
This is an application to convert two existing shops which are enclosed by and are part of, an existing interwar block of flats, into two further flats.
The Society realise the resulting accommodation would be small and that in general terms, the conversion of former shops into flats is not generally an appropriate procedure. However in this case, because the site for the conversion is entirely surrounded by existing flats, we feel that the conversion should be allowed.
Therefore since this application has fulfilled the townscape policy conditions of the Bournemouth Local Plan, we think this proposal should be allowed.
40 Evelyn Road, Moordown Ref. No. 7-2020-13110-A
This is an application to build a new two and a half storey block six flats on the corner of Evelyn Road and Coronation Avenue; it would be constructed on the site of a small suburban house built in the early Twentieth Century.
The design of the principal street façade would be a double version of the adjacent existing facades along Evelyn Street with two, two storey bay projections with half timbered gables above. The long side elevations would have regular modern, vertical sash windows and the entire structure would be covered by a prominent, quite complex, hipped roof.
The Society is of the opinion that although the style of the new proposal is generally similar to many of the existing houses in the area and even if the site is somewhat larger than the average, we think that what is proposed is far too large to be built on the restricted, dangerous corner plot – where hardly any individual garden space would remain. Twenty nine local people expressed their opinion about the proposal – and their main fears were concerning how hugely out of character the new block would be and how it would degrade the existing village character of Moordown. As in many of these particular cases, there were warnings of loss of privacy, a reduction of sunlight and the threat of traffic increase on children going to the local schools.
Under these circumstances, although the proposed design is relatively complementary with the local built environment, the Society is of the opinion that in this case, the existing arrangements should remain. Consequently we have decided that because this proposal has not fulfilled the townscape policies of the Bourne mouth Local Plan, it should be refused.