BCP Council (Bournemouth area): Chris Miell is thrilled to announce that he has planning permission for the demolition of an existing office building and the erection of 40 flats at Tayfield House, Poole Road, Westbourne.

The approved plans, which were prepared by ARC Architecture, will provide 40 x flats with a communal roof garden to the rear. Due to the site’s location within the heart of Westbourne, which falls within BCP Parking Zone A, the development will be car free with ample amounts of cycle parking provided for future residents, include charging points for e-bikes. This will encourage a modal shift from residents of the new development to non-car alternatives, such as cycling, walking and public transport which reduces emissions and traffic on the highway network.

In addition, the omission of car parking allows for the previously developed land to be utilised in an efficient manner to provide an optimal number of dwellings. This ensured that the development was compliant with Policy CS21 of the Local Plan which identifies this area of Westbourne as a preferred location for urban intensification due to its proximity to local services and facilities, including high frequency public transport along Poole Road.

The new building will be six storeys in height with a recessed upper floor and stepped design at the rear to protect neighbouring amenity. The design and appearance of the proposal has been informed by the immediate context and the positive elements of other buildings within the local area. In particular, the proposed development has been informed by the existing building line along Poole Road and the height and flat roof design of the adjoining flatted building at West Mansions and the nearby brick built Victorian villas.

The final plans represent the culmination of nearly two years of discussions with the Local Planning Authority, which included several pre-application meetings with the Planning Officer. During these meetings we were encouraged to be bold and pursue a modern style of development, as opposed to a pastiche style because such schemes are often poorly executed due to a lack of detailing and do not represent the architecture of today.

In assessing the proposal, the Planning Officer concluded within his report that “In the format proposed the scale, form, height, layout and appearance proposed are considered acceptable in this location on balance and would satisfy the character and density aims of Policies CS21 and CS41 (Core Strategy) and saved policy 6.10 by securing a permutation of the best possible redevelopment of the site, whilst sufficiently respecting the character of the surrounding area.”

Despite the high-quality design approach put forward, the application was opposed by the Council’s Urban Design and Heritage Officer due to the proximity of the site to the Westbourne Conservation Area and two listed buildings. In addition, concerns were raised by a small group of local residents, with many opposed to the construction of a car free development.

Consequently, the application was taken to the Planning Committee for determination with a recommendation to approve. At the committee meeting, Chris spoke in favour of the proposal and explained to members that the proposal would be compliant with the local plan policies, including the provision of car free developments with Parking Zone A. This was backed up by a robust presentation from the Planning Officer, which assured the members that the scheme’s impact upon neighbouring amenity had been thoroughly considered throughout the design process.

The Members were impressed by the proposal and agreed with their Planning Officer’s recommendation to grant planning permission. The scheme was approved 9 votes to 2, which was an excellent outcome for all involved. During debate, many of the Members spoke favourably about the modern design of the proposal and welcomed the provision of car free development within the heart of Westbourne.

The approved development will make effective use of under-utilised land and provide housing in an area where land supply is constrained, whilst safeguarding the character and appearance of the area and neighbouring amenity, which is consistent with Government policy contained within the NPPF.

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