BOURNEMOUTH CIVIC SOCIETY
NEWSLETTER NEW YEAR 2018
As 2017 comes to an end we have seen yet another busy year for the Society commenting on dozens of planning applications across the town, lobbying for the protection of heritage assets, welcoming good new development and supporting careful restoration schemes plus expressing opinions on all manner of things that could affect the charm, beauty, character and vitality of Bournemouth. We have met with Council Officers, Councillors, Developers and other campaign groups and engaged positively with everyone who like us wants Bournemouth to be the best. Thanks go to the Committee for all their work, for as I always remark at AGM, we are all volunteers. Especial thanks go to Beryl for organising the social activities this year despite some very major operations and to John and James who bring their professional expertise to their Built Environment and Heritage & Conservation roles.
Here is to a happy and healthy 2018 for us all.
Westover Road Cinemas.
The fate of the Odeon and the ABC in Westover Road is still uncertain. Both former cinemas have seen plans submitted to the Council featuring conversion and extension works to create new mixed residential and commercial uses and being hugely overblown and not respecting the historic character of either building have been rightly turned down by Bournemouth Council. James, our Heritage & Conservation Officer, working with architects Aedas and others, produced a development brief suggesting how the Odeon (originally called The Regent) could be renovated as an arts centre and this was shared widely to garner support for such a use. Currently despite various rumours and suggestions we are none the wiser about the developers’ intentions but continue to lobby the Council and others to see these safeguarded and brought back to life.
New plans for a very large residential and commercial development at the former Winter Gardens site were made public in recent months. The latest plans feature a series of buildings that sit within the wooded site and that in contrast to previous schemes here also create some decent new public realm and open spaces and do not create a building line harsh up and along Exeter Road. Whilst we accept the general principle of what is now proposed we have voiced our concerns that the buildings are generally several storeys too high especially the tower building at the corner of Priory Road and that too many flats are being proposed. Historic England have also objected to the plans and like us suggested that the height of new development should be scaled back so that key sightlines and views from one side of town to other ie the view from Priory Hill across to the Lower Gardens and to St Peter’s Spire and Westover Road is not marred.
The Echo Building
During October we attended a public open day at this well preserved Art Deco landmark listed building to learn more from THAT Group of their plans for its future. They are working up a scheme that involves new creative and flexible office and employment space within the building and also some residential use. We are very supportive of the concept of carefully detailed and well thought out renovation/re-use of the building and so look forward to commenting on the actual planning application when it is submitted to the Council sometime next year.
Having lobbied the Council for several years for progress on their review of the Old Christchurch Road Conservation Area we are pleased to learn that consultants have been engaged to undertake this much needed work here and also in the East Cliff Conservation Area and the West Cliff & Poole Hill Conservation Area. The reviews will give an opportunity to check that the boundaries are still correct and that policies for their management are fresh and relevant so that current planning applications in them, whether deemed good or bad, can be judged by up to date information. We still press for the former Westover Road Cinemas and the former Palace Court Hotel to be brought into the boundary of the Old Christchurch Road Conservation Area .
A338/Bournemouth Hospital Slip Road
Plans for a new slip road serving Bournemouth Hospital and the employment land adjacent are soon to be lodged with the Council. We have attended several of the local campaign group’s meetings that have explored the background to these proposals and share their general concerns about the long term impact of the entirety of what may be proposed – especially if a later phase seeing a slip road on the other side of the dual carriageway that could open up the green belt to threat from development and also harm the character and setting of Holdenhurst Village and its many historic listed buildings. We understand the need for a new road into Bournemouth Hospital and appreciate that land adjacent has a long standing zoning for office and employment use but question the need and desirability of the Holdenhurst side proposals. We will watch with interest the plans and comment as they become clearer.
Cliff End Hotel, Manor Road
In September plans to redevelop the fire and weather damaged Cliff End Hotel were shared with the public by the Gervis Meyrick Estate. The plans feature the complete demolition of the existing building and its replacement by a five storey block of 44 1-bed and 21 2-bed retirement apartments in what the architect called “a crescent of villas”. We have been in contact with the Estate and hope to meet them once they have worked up further designs and are closer to making a planning application to the Council. We have expressed the view that we have yet to see compelling evidence that the original Victorian core of the building (not the ugly later additions) cannot be restored and incorporated in a new scheme and that from first view the new proposal bears little resemblance in design or massing to the Victorian buildings that characterise the Conservation Area. This long standing blighted site needs a solution and we hope that the updated plans will rise to the challenge and opportunity here.
Keeping in Contact in Between Newsletters
Please remember that information on our social activities, our monthly committee meetings and our monthly comments on planning applications is available on our website so do take a look if you wish to keep up to date on news or indeed wish to contact us via email rather than phone.
With Very Greatful Thanks
Just as we were preparing this newsletter we were thrilled to be the beneficiary of a £5000 donation from the late Ken Pulham, who with his wife Valerie, have been members of the Society since 1999. Ken and Val attended many of our trips, social events and AGMs so we pay tribute to Ken for his support and generosity.
John Barker President & Newsletter Editor Tel: 01202 293237
Ken Mantock Chairman Tel: 07712 532839
Jean Bird Vice-Chairman Tel: 01202 757051
James Weir Heritage & Conservation Officer Tel: 07771 154 053
Beryl Parker Social Activities Tel: 01202 512717