Sunday, January 28, 2007

Pier Head


Readers may find the following link more useful:
www.pierheadswanage.co.uk
(Although the site is still under construction). The link referred to by Mike in the previous posting is also there too.

58 comments:

nick storer said...

The planning application for the Pier Head redevelopment will be considered by Swanage Town Council on Friday 2nd February 9.30am, then at Purbeck on 22nd February.
Reading through the letters to Purbeck District Council, there is a theme of opposition to a modern building. Do we really want to turn Swanage into some gothic film set like the new town outside Dorchester?
Planning Officers startled the architect and me by suggesting the best path would be to have an appeal inspector comment on the proposals. How long can this drag on for? It’s a pity PDC can’t come up with comprehensive and consistent guidance of their own. The contrary advice over the years has been quite bizarre. Previous officers insisted the bulk of the building should be to east with little or no development in front of the Rookery. Now the west close to the East Bar is favoured for the highest frontage, with the building tapering away towards the Downs.(Rightly so in my view). Many years ago when the Rookery had been left to dilapidate to the point it was uninhabitable, there was clear agreement that once the restoration was complete then an application for the redevelopment on the frontage would be a formality. However, once again the Planning Officers will not support this application, despite months of negotiation and the clear instruction from the Chairman of the Planning Board to the officers in June “to sort this out”.

Anonymous said...

You are having a laugh aren't you? Its horrible.

Anonymous said...

so whats there now is NOT horrible ? the current site is a bloody disgrace to swanage and something should be done asap, typical PDC cant/wont make up thier mind.

Anonymous said...

PDC have made up their mind 9 times. Each time they decided the proposed building was too large. Last time they said quite unambiguously that they would only accept a design which kept broadly within the footprint of the existing building.

As for the cosmetic appearance of the existing building - well thats down to its owner not the council. Why should they be, in effect, blackmailed by it being allowed to decay?

Anonymous said...

Well the problem with the above comment is PDC have little inspiration and are often wrong , that's why they don't win even half of the planning appeals to central government. These are the guys who left us with no marina but a third of the housing development!

nick storer said...

If anyone would like a copy of the DVD showing a virtual fly-by of the proposed please contact me at:
DVD@pierheadswanage.co.uk

Anonymous said...

PDC have no vision. Thats official - its in an auditors report and its very true. However they can't be scapegoated for everything. We now have a comment that they cannot make a decision and another saying they make decisions but these are overturned on appeal. Make up your mind.

The fact is that the House of Lords threw out the Harbour Bill needed for the marina because of the volume of letters they had received from Swanage residents objecting to the scheme. Nothing to do with pdc.

Anonymous said...

I think I would have made them finish the marina before starting any houses.

Anonymous said...

That was up to the development company. If I had been a share owner I might have wondered why they did not get all the OKs they needed before starting building. Perhaps they thought they could make a quick pile on the houses and not have to worry too much about the marina? Who knows.

Anonymous said...

its only allowed to decay due to the fact PDC dont/wont make their minds up, I ahve had problems with them they are a nightmare to deal with. then you have councillors who change their minds more times than the wind.

Anonymous said...

I admire much of the new architecture in Sandbanks and Canford Cliffs. It seems much better than retaining the old non-descript houses that were replaced. I can’t see why Swanage should remain the poor architectural relation to it’s neighbours over the water. Perhaps the way forward is if District Councillors were able to pass the outline permission for the Pier Head asking for certain aspects to be modified by further negotiation with planning officers. For example if they wanted the roof toned down a bit, then these essential modifications could be incorporated without the delay of an outright refusal.

Anonymous said...

It occurs to most new things are at first difficult for people to accept. So many of the great classic music composers’ symphonies were derided on there first performance, only to become much loved pieces in today’s repertoire. I used to live in Bournemouth and some years back a lady knocked on my door to ask for my signature on a petition against the closure of the Winter Gardens. She reminded me of the lady who had knocked at my father’s door when I was a child asking for signatures for a petition against the building of the Winter Gardens!

Anonymous said...

Visitors to Sandbanks do not go there to enjoy a "timewarp" experience. They come here for it. Why reduce the value of the experience with a piece of 1980s supermarket architecture.

Anonymous said...

I visit modern iconic buildings in old towns such as St Ives and Padstow. They’re great! I remember as a kid the thrills of the Post Office Tower, the Eiffel Tower, Sydney Opera House, and the revolving restaurant featured in James Bond at Saas Fee. I think you are wrong about the visitor profile to Swanage. Take Regatta week when the Town is at its busiest -because Swanage transforms itself into something more dynamic for 10 days or so. Parts of Swanage are quaint. By all means keep Durlston Country Park and the Mill pond in your time warp. However I’m sure people come to Swanage not because it is old, but because it is peaceful, interesting, and set in wonderful coastal countryside. Modern buildings do not detract at all from that, and offer the possibility of encouraging more and different tourists.

Anonymous said...

Nothing wrong with good modern buildings in the right context. This proposal fails on both qualifiers. Did anyone see those amazing buildings that are going up in Bejing on Newsnight last week. They are designed by western companies and this really is old-fashioned by comparisn.

Carnival week visitors are rather a different crowd from the people who come here several times a year and keep the place going. I run a business in the town centre and I get to talk to visitors all the year round and I am just passing on what they say to me. Its all about niche marketing and we have a particularly good niche product here giving us an advantage over the resorts that have embraced "developer modern" as their dominant style.

Anonymous said...

So if that’s the case (anon 1.49) why isn’t Swanage full of comfortable “Coaching Inn” style pubs busy serving long lunches to these all year round visitors who are tired and hungry from traipsing around the dozens of antique shops, the rare book vendors, and admiring the vernacular? Where are the comfortable reasonably priced hotels all these people stay in? Why is the car park empty? The truth is Swanage is only busy when the kids are on holiday. Yeh you can have a niche market selling whatever you do, but you don’t attract a sufficient volume of your customer type to maintain the Town. The Grand Design projects in Beijing are going to attract more tourists and general economic activity, not suddenly stop people wanting to visit The Forbidden City.

Anonymous said...

if the PH aplicants had any sense they would have sold out to mccarthy and stone years ago and we would have another st aldhelms court on the site already and every one would be happy

Anonymous said...

I wonder what the planners really would like?

Anonymous said...

The planners have made it perfectly clear they are prepared to accept something within roughly the footprint of the original building. Its not a beauty contest and I don't know why it keeps getting represented as one. Size matters.

Anonymous said...

Great, so someone comes along and puts a single arty deco house on the site, foot print perfect, but what the good of that for Swanage? Another Johnathan Ross living in a huge house in a perfect location. loss for us = the best and last development site.

Anonymous said...

That is a very good point. There is no economic development plan for Swanage. These things have to come from the community now, and the recently published town plan is the start of this process. Would you be willing to work on the economic side of it?

Anonymous said...

Me? no. i vote regulary and expect those elected to take sensible foreward looking decisions for me. Lets get on with it. Less discussion . More action.

Anonymous said...

If you think this should be done by the council what do you think of the Swanage strategic plan produced by the Town Partnership, a community organisation.

Anonymous said...

lip service

Anonymous said...

RIP participant democracy then.

Anonymous said...

Application approved by Swanage Town Council on 2nd February....

Anonymous said...

Living as we do relatively close to the Pier Head obviously we are more that interested in the development of the site and whilst recognising the various concerns being raised, ergo; the important location of the site, Victoriana, tourism and potential over development etc.

Furthermore, whilst we prefer quality modern architecture we believe the Planners will be hard pressed to turn down this application as they have already compromised their arguments against the development, namely:-

The ingression into the Downs, for the Broad Road Car Park and sewage plant, which puts the Pier Head WITHIN the developed boundary.

The (under construction), Gannets Park/De Moulerham Road apartment building, which although a nice looking building has to be in the wrong location, it dominates the skyline and maximises the development of the site. It is even promoted as:- “a in a superior position above the beach directly overlooking Swanage Bay.” Also it is advertised as; “a contemporary design.” All of which defaults any arguments against the Pier Head Application.

My wife and I are in favour of the Application, not only because the sooner the Pier Head site is developed the better for the Town and all concerned.

ROBO

Chris Sansom said...

Progress at last & some positive thought .Spring at last! ! !

Anonymous said...

This is about individual profiteering. The council should compulsorily purchase the site due to dereliction by the owner and return the lot to parkland.

Anonymous said...

The pier was closed and derelict, should they have purchased that and turned it back into open sea?

Anonymous said...

Forgive me. I don't belive the pier is a for-profit enterprise.

Anonymous said...

i expect nick has spent £1000's sorting this out are you going to compensate him? or just let the tax payers foot the bill. 1025 a stupid comment.

Anonymous said...

Provocative maybe, stupid no.

Others have pointed out that the derelict state of the site puts pressure on the council to accept a development they find unacceptable.

We should not have to put up with a derelict site because the developer is trying to squeeze in a bigger building than the council will permit.

Councils elsewhere have forced owners to clean up derelict properties. The current stalemate benefits no-one. Are there no other options?

Anonymous said...

When the current owners of the Pier Head took over the site in the early 1980’s the whole site was derelict with rusting cars, uninhabitable flats and holes in the pier head building roof. The pier head building was a temporary structure thrown up during the war as a mess hall. To prevent the building becoming completely unusable a fresh felt roof was laid to prevent further water penetration. The listed part of the plot, the Rookery, was then carefully restored under the supervision of Mick Storer. I don’t think the council can really consider compulsory purchase when they themselves operate the car park which was so unsympathetically scoured out of the Downs above this site.

Anonymous said...

The Council have demonstrated their commercial aptitude at Swanage View. The Council Tax is high enough, and no doubt going higher so why let them throw more of our money into a venture which an individual, it would seem with principals owns and has invested a considerable amount of time and his cash into.

Next someone will be sorry for displaced rats who move in from the sewage/flood tank under the High Street when we get heavy rain.

R

Anonymous said...

Judging by some of the comments we have seen many people do not realise there are three councils, town district and county. As it is the district council that would have to exercise powers of compulsory purchase if this property is to become publicly owned the track record of the town council does not come into it unless you want to winge that they are all the same.

Anonymous said...

Hang on a mo.

Compulsory purchase can only be started by the Secretary of State.

Then it's based on the - Regional Spatial Strategy - do we have one?

Personally I think the last version was 'nicer'.

Anonymous said...

http://www.southwest-ra.gov.uk/nqcontent.cfm?a_id=836
tells you about the draft regional spatial strategy.

The Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 gives local authorities power of compulsory purchase "(a) if the authority think that the acquisition will facilitate the carrying out of development, re-development or improvement on or in relation to the land,"

(1A) But a local authority must not exercise the power under paragraph (a) of subsection (1) unless they think that the development, re-development or improvement is likely to contribute to the achievement of any one or more of the following objects-

(a) the promotion or improvement of the economic well-being of their area;

(b) the promotion or improvement of the social well-being of their area;

(c) the promotion or improvement of the environmental well-being of their area."

Anonymous said...

ps

The Act does not mention regional spacial strategies at all. Where did you get this from? Its so at odds with what I found I would like to check it out.

Anonymous said...

http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2004/40005--b.htm#1

Anonymous said...

Is this the right reference? there is nothing in http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2004/40005--b.htm#1
about compulsory purchase despite it eing in the name of the Act. All it does is tell regions to have a spacial strategy and who should do it. There is nothing at all about powers relating to the delivery of the content of the strategy.

Anonymous said...

whats all the chat about compulsary purchase is it not irrelevant, the site will be developed at some time, some will like it some wont, but thats life. some posters chat on about this how would you like it if we chatted about buying your property. not nice ehh.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, the link was correct, but sometimes i like to let other people find things out for themselves, he patronised.

Here's another.

www.opsi.gov.uk/ACTS/acts1991/Ukpga_19910034_en_4.htm

Anonymous said...

This latest offering is truly horrible - all those spiky roof endings and clunky frontage - sorry architect - this looks tacky now & will look worse in years to come. What a waste of a prime site. Is there no-one in the planning dept with vision and the oomph to go for something dramatic and iconic ? Please hold out for something better.

Anonymous said...

Like for example?

Anonymous said...

Why not write to the planning office and tell 'em 9.15 roughly what you would like. I can assure you there is "no-one in the planning dept with vision and the oomph". Would you like a Buckingham Palace, an RNLI building like in Poole, Swanage library style, thatched cottages, something to match The Haven perhaps, a Chrysler Building, something Staatliches Bauhaus, St Aldhems or Quayside Court copies, or is there anything in Sandbanks you like, maybe a gothic Victorian villa?

Anonymous said...

Its not the job of the planning department to have "vision and oomph". Thats for developers. Planning is now called spacial strategy which distinguishes it from plans in the sense of drawings of proposed buildings. The task of the planners is to decide whether proposals accord with these strategies. Things go wrong when members of planning boards decide to exercise an imaginitive interpretation of the strategies.

Anonymous said...

Things go wrong because the stategies themselves lack "vision and oomph". These wooly worded stragegies are there for officials to hide behind when they want to stop something happening or something goes wrong.

Anonymous said...

What sort of vision would you like to see?

Anonymous said...

Who said spring at last? Now is the winter of our discontent more like. The building is totally unsympathetic to its surroundings and looks as if a load of paper airoplanes have landed on the top of some cardboard boxes and got into a tangle.

Anonymous said...

That just about sums it up. Putting up a row of overlapping rectangles with the roofs on upside down is not very inspiring.

Anonymous said...

What is it with this development !!! The site is privately owned, the money is private yet everyone thinks they have a right to decide how it will look. Let the man get on with it,

Anonymous said...

It's not that everyone thinks they have a right to say what it should look like, rather that people are saying they don't like what has been proposed. Some may feel that for whatever reason they cannot put pen to paper and voice an opinion to the planning office - this forum being their next best bet.

Anonymous said...

When Nick started this thread he knew there would be unfavourable comments on the design so its no good grumbling about them.

One aspect of the planning system is that it gives the public the right to comment on proposals. It is completely right and proper for the merits of an application to be discussed. We will all have to look at whatever goes on this sight for decades to come. It is not exactly something hidden from public view.

The debate over the design is a smokescreen of course. The real issue is the size of the thing with Nick's aim being 12 appartments which simply wont go into the existing footprint which is all the planners will accept.

nick storer said...

The senior planning officer advised me recently that if the site lay within the settlement boundary (that’s Seymer Road at the moment) he would be insisting on a development of between 30 and 40 apartments on this sized plot in order to achieve government housing density targets. The proposed flats are about 164 sq m including the garage and terrace. That’s bigger than my maisonette and most new flats on the market.
The issue at the moment is the effect of global warming. All new building planning applications must carry a Flood Risk Assessment. The predicted peak sea level rise for Swanage is a close to a couple of meters in two hundred years. Consider the effect on the Lower High Street, the Parade, Shore Road and the flood plane all the way to Hereston.

Anonymous said...

A 2 metre rise in sea water over the next 200 years.

Am I bovered ?

RobO

Anonymous said...

21.02.2007 Planning Officer Recommends Refusal saying:

" In design terms, the scheme fails in that;
(a) The external appearance is too complex – it appears that there are several buildings stuck together.
(b) Massing and scale over dominant, both in the general street scene, and the effect upon the listed building at the rear of the site – there is little space at the front or side of the building, leading to a cramped appearance.
(c) Architectural articulation poor – the design incorporates a number of over fussy roof forms and junctions.
(d) Overly large areas of glazing.
(e) Surrounding and nearby buildings are simple and robust – the current proposal does not reflect this."

Full details on page 16 at:

http://www.purbeck.gov.uk/pdf/RECS%20FEB07.pdf

Anonymous said...

Rejected, only one vote for the project, 22.2.07. P.A. suggests an architectural competition, any thoughts?