Monday, December 22, 2008

To rebuild or not to...


From Anon
6/2008/0784
Application for :- Full Planning Permission Smallscale Major Development.Mr J PeiserDemolish existing vacant nursing home and erect a four storey block of 9 two bed flats and 1 three bed flat with basement parking together with associated access and parking.Rempstone Road (6-Westbury House), Swanage.Grid references E.402979 N.78971 Parish. SwanageCase officer: Sylvia Leonard See:

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

If Swanage remains stifled by trying to keep it as a Victorian theme park then it will only attract limited people at weekends and bank/school holidays. We can have modern architecture and a vibrant all year Town without loosing the special identity. It’s just slightly harder then being Tyneham. Westbury has no need to be preserved but the folk around the mill pond should be made to take out their plastic windows, if that is a fair analogy.

Anonymous said...

What nonsense.

Why on earth should the sort of modern architecture you can see anywhere persuade people to come to Swanage? Whether you like it or not it is the time warp aspect visitors tell me they like here. Nothing stops us being a vibrant all year round time warp. "Vibrancy" has nothing to do with the age of the buildings. Plenty of people go to Havana for its Spanish colonial heritage but I have yet to meet anyone who has gone to Miami because it has modern buildings.

"Lets go to Borington on Sea, they have some lovely concrete and glass on the seafront" Pull the other leg.

Anonymous said...

I’m not saying the architecture would attract more old dears on coaches, but the state of mind that would support this sort of application may encourage bright, enthusiastic, forward looking folk to want to live in Swanage.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry but much as I would like "bright, enthusiastic, forward looking folk to want to live in Swanage" I do not see how rectangular blocks of second homes are going to achieve anything. I have nothing against this particular design. The firm that proposes it has done other developments in the town in a mixture of styles. I run a business in the town centre and we have lots of visitors to Swanage who comment favourably on its quaint charm which they find a refreching contrast to what they see in other places. Many of them express a wish to live here. None of them add "if only it had more modern architecture" - none of them - it does not happen. What puts them off moving here are the practical questions of making a living and affording a home. I also nowa few bright enthusiastic people from Poole and Bournemouth who are planning to move over here. I will ask them for their views on this question next time I see them.

Anonymous said...

Swanage would be really “quaint” if the people in the 1880’s had had a referendum and turned down the railway.

Anonymous said...

I´m the original poster, and thanks to Nick for adding the link back to PDC.

I wondered if anyone might wonder about the timing of the App?

PDCś new standards should be in soon. I wonder if any of these are affordable?

(s´alright - I know they´re not)

Anonymous said...

It would be nice to have some post-modern buildings rather than these warmed over notions from the modern movement. There is nothing particularly radical about this proposed design, it could have been built at any time over the last 80 or even 90 years. Developers love rectangles and flat roofs simply because you get more saleable space on the plot this way. On the other hand planners are irrationaly opposed to allowing taller buildings which would be the least painful way of increasing the housing stock. Ask yourself why this building is not a couple of floors higher.

Anonymous said...

In Swanage you have to apply for planning for 3, then go back and get further floors at a later date. Like Quayside Court. It's a longstanding tradition upheld by generations of planning officers.

Anonymous said...

Oh no - not another purbeck stone-clad clunker for Swanage

Anonymous said...

On the other hand, it hasnt got a 'victorian' pointy roof line , and hopefully no traditional red brick bits. Lets just hope soemething more interesting gets proposed for such a high profile site

Anonymous said...

This is a dull rendition of a thirties style of modernism. Why can't a developer have the guts to hire a architect with some real vision for a change. boring boring!

Anonymous said...

The other post war buildings in Rempstone Road and nearby are no advert for either "modern" architecture or the "Vicwardian" approach. The latter is the brick and mortar equivalent of those pretend 1930s roadsters that enthusiasts used to build from a kit of plastic parts and a deceased Austin Marina. Mowlem Court, a sort of 30s office block reborn as 60s flats, Deco with its incongrous bits of greenish rot proofed builders merchant timber bolted on as an afterthought. An imaginitave building would have been something of a breathrough but hardly in keeping with its mediocre surroundings.

Getting back to the original posting, this is all academic, the developer is either trying to get in before the rules change or simply wants to increase the value of the plot prior to a sale. Demolition would prevent PDC taking the building over for housing, something which they have the power to do, or squatters taking it over, as well as reducing the cost of insurance. The one thing we should not expect is for anything to be built there for a number of years. Raising finance in present conditions, even for a company with a good track record, would be an interesting exercise and sales slow in a falling market where the flats are worth less each month. Think back to the early 90s when there were a number of sites that stood for years.

Anonymous said...

All very well building yet more flats - visitors, residents and
2nd home owners need more reason to come to Swanage !!! So many local businesses for sale, no local jobs !! I have no objection to moving with the times I am just very concerned for the town that I love..........

Anonymous said...

Whatever gets built on this site, I wouldnt want to be looking out of a ground floor window !!

Anonymous said...

"All very well building yet more flats - visitors, residents and
2nd home owners need more reason to come to Swanage !!! "

We have pursued this topic through another thread with not much success.

Having some up tp the minute buildings is na interesting idea but I can't imagine many people coming here in 30 years time to look at them whereas making the best of what we already have will go on drawing people here. I was struck by the remark in the report of the review of the conservation area to the effect that much of what Swanage has to offer is under appreciated by its inhabitants.

Anonymous said...

While everyone is sticking their architectural oars in, spare a thought for this developer. Accommodation prices are falling as we all know. But he has seen his planning application fees rise dramatically, even though he now has to pay for non existent pre application advice. Full rates are payable on unoccupied property, (was half until a few months ago). He will have to pay an infrastructure and heathland charge when plans are submitted, I guess about £100000 extra tax. Then if a further application is necessary because this one is turned down, PDC would like to oblige him to give away five of the nine flats to a housing association. I think developers will be very reluctant to use land for years to come.

Anonymous said...

They weren´t in London.

Red Ken made brilliant use of Section 106 and still the Developers developed.

Granted the climate is different now, but don´t you feel it needs to be?

Anonymous said...

Yes I think a bit of tit for tat is great but it needs to be on a site by site basis.

Anonymous said...

Expecting the private sector to come to the rescue of the public sectors failure to provide housing for the millions who for one reason or another cannot buy is absurd. The UK experiment in near universal private ownership has failed. Large property companies got out of residential decades ago and are showing little sign of returning. Now jealousy and resentment of the profits achieved because of the failure of the public sector to offer an alternative has also made development impossibly expensive

More publicly owned housing please. There is no alternative as someone once said.

Anonymous said...

I meant got out of residential rented of course, and property companies not development companies lest that be in doubt.

Anonymous said...

Totally disagree. We need to stimulate the involvement of more private landlords to solve this problem. Now would be a great time with all the rich people moaning about how little interest they are getting at the bank. They can buy a flat for £200K and let it out for £150 a week. Result 4% on their money and needy family housed. The rest of us don't have to chip in. A sweetener for the landlord in the form of a tax break in return for assured tenancy would work perfectly.

Anonymous said...

This is sheer fantasy. The point is they are not doing this for the very obvious reasons that the value of property is heading south at a rate of knots. At the moment if you have a couple of hundred thousand keeping it as cash will put you in a better position in a years time than buying property with it. A £200,000 house it likely to be worth £180,000 in a years time and could be a lot less. Anyone with that amount in the bank is going to sit on it until the market bottoms. They are also going to wait until they can gear up and get the benefit of the capital growth on the property when it goes up again.

Anonymous said...

Let me know when the market bottoms will you?

Anonymous said...

Peak to trough is usually 35-45%. Houses in Swanage that were 160 or 170k in the late 80s were fetching 100k in the early 90s. I have a particular road in mind and two houses there sold for over 500k this year. If you feel like indulging remember that the serious money revolves around gearing so long as the rents coverthe interest payments. As late entrants have now discovered you can come unstuck big time though.

I do take exception to the idea that assured shorthold tenancies are any sort of answer. Keeping a family together these days is hard enough but doing it in the knowledge that your families home can be lost every six months is downright sick. Its one thing when you are young and fancy free but I think families should be entitled to security of tenure and obviously this is anathema to private landlordism. Tenants security was whittled away by John Major's government in the hope that in return there would be a magic increase in the supply of rented property. Whilst there has been a small increase it has been at an unacceptable cost in terms of the tenants right to a secure family home. Putting it in very simple terms, a house with vacant possession available within months has a normal sale value, one with a tenant who can stay put for as long as they like is worth peanuts.

The fact is that the only way to provide secure affordable housing for millions of people is through public ownership. The policy of getting the state out of renting housing has failed.

Anonymous said...

Well said.

I´ve struggled with this bit for some time. Well adjusted people mainly come from stable homes, have good health and a good education.

The Gov provide - I know! - a Health Service and an Education Service, but they seem to expect that everyone can afford a stable home.

Just remind me here - isn´t a home the most expensive thing in most peoples lives?

Anonymous said...

I think it’s very unfair that PDC wish to lay the responsibility to pay for our new roads and social housing at the feet of people who simply want to build on a piece of land. It's just another massive tax on new houses. Now no new sites are being started this would seem to have been completely ill timed. Roads should be paid for by a mileage tax on all road users. The best way to get enough social housing would be to sell the prime assets of the present stock which are in such valuable places eg lower High Street, Langton M, Park Road. I guess with the proceeds you could build twice as many more utilitarian residencies (ie no sea view and very green) on brown/edge-of-town sites thus doubling the amount of affordable homes within a year or two. Good time to do it too with so many building workers being laid off. We need to stop flogging this willing horse, and allow building firms to solve this. They can build a home and make a profit for under £100000, they just need the land to do it.

Anonymous said...

I am struggling with the last comment. What properties in lower High Street and Park Road do they have in mind? Turning out pensioners in sheltered housing association flats seems a trifle Dickensian. Neither are exactly prime residential locations in any case. Park Road is mainly second homes converted from old guest houses and the lower High Street? Goabsby are advertising an offer on a reposs in the Vic flats for £135,000 so property there is already about the cheapest in town.

Uggers said...

Have read this thread with some interest and amusement.

As a regular visitor to Swanage I can safely say that the architecture of the town is not even in the top 10 of what attracts me. If architecture was an important factor in attracting and retaining visitors then Swanage's most iconic (lol) building the Mowlem would surely be raised to the ground as a pile of rubble would be more attractive.

Whilst this is my own personal opinion, I do know quite a few people who visit the area and it is the beach, the walks, the natural scenery coupled with the relative tranquility of a seaside resort compared to the hustle and bustle of it's east and west neighbors in the form of Bournemouth and Weymouth.

It seems to be small-minded locals who are aghast at outsiders moving to their town that are kicking up the stink here. Swanage as lovely as it is, is not a special enough case to be mothballed architecturally (e.g. compared to Port Merion). The town needs to move on in this respect and accept that new design replacing old is not the spawn of the devil as a matter of course.