BCP Council (Bournemouth):  Full planning permission has been secured by Matt Annen, a director of Pure Town Planning for a new scheme of flats in Southbourne. The scheme was designed by local firm; LMA Architects for our developer client Caleb Development. The proposal is for the demolition of a former care home and the erection of a three storey contemporary building (albeit with a traditional form) comprising nine flats with associated car parking.

This fantastic consent is the culmination of almost a year and a half of work. Matt first visited the site in October 2018 and a pre-application query for an ultra contemporary scheme of 10 flats was submitted in December 2018. The pre-application response indicated that whilst not a listed building, nor in a conservation area nor on the Council’s ‘Local List’, the appointed officer deemed that the existing building was a ‘non-designated heritage asset’ and therefore would object to it’s loss.

To address this fairly fundamental objection a “Prior Approval” application for the demolition of the existing building was submitted in February 2019 and approved (as it was classed as permitted development) in March 2019. Whilst a somewhat ‘belts and braces’ manoeuvre, because the Council had now consented the demolition of the existing building, very little weight could be given to arguments in support of retaining the existing building on grounds of a non-designated heritage asset.

Subsequently an application was submitted in May 2019 and was finally approved earlier this month. So the application process which should have taken two months actually took 10 months to be determined. Matt was in regular contact with the planning officer and their consultees, but the delay was partly due to the scheme going through a number of revisions in response to comments received. Also the officer had multifaceted issues to consider on this proposal:

  1. Loss of Care Home: The NPPF requires the Local Planning Authority to assess the size, type and tenure of housing needed for different groups but whilst there is a need for specialist accommodation, there are no specific planning policies to prevent its loss. On this basis, that the previous care home had closed and given the need for extra housing, the officer considered that it would be difficult to substantiate an associated objection
  2. Character and Appearance of the area: This was where a lot of the negotiation time was spent. The officer felt that the development would represent a marked change to the area’s character, but following a series of amendments which were made working collaboratively with the officer, these helped ensure that the building would better integrate with the more traditional form of development in the locality.
  3. Residential Amenity: Great care was taken by the architects to ensure that all relationships with surrounding neighbours were carefully considered and the officer when making his detailed assessment of each inter-relationship concluded that no harmful overlooking or loss of privacy would be gained from any of the windows or balconies of the new flats.
  4. Highways: During the process, the Council’s highways officer requested a number of amendments to the access point, securing greater visibility splays and also to the cycle store arrangements. With these changes made the highways officer had no objection to the scheme.

Here at Pure Town Planning, we like nothing more than securing our clients planning approvals – and as can be seen above, we go the extra mile to achieve these with robust planning strategies, comprehensive submission packages, followed by pro-active negotiation with officers – working with the decision makers to achieve their positive recommendation. 

If you are thinking of pursuing a housing/flatted development and are looking for a local firm of Chartered Town Planners to fight your corner and secure planning permission for your scheme, then why not give us a call (using our mobiles for the time being – because of Coronavirus we are all working from home) or send us an email to info@puretownplanning.co.uk.

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