The Mouth – Bournemouth – Poole – Christchurch

David Lloyd development is refused by Planning Board

Bournemouth Borough Council’s Planning Board has refused an application for a major development of flats on the former leisure site at Knole Road.

The application was refused by nine to one votes on the basis that the proposals were of too high a density and overdevelopment of the site. Members agreed that these combined factors would not only have a significant impact on local amenities and car parking but would also have serious implications on the quality of life for local residents.

The plans submitted by Kings Oak Homes proposed the demolition of the David Lloyd Centre in order to build a total of 68 flats in three separate blocks. The application included the provision of car parking and 20 affordable flats and also indicated that in the event of planning permission being granted, a voluntary contribution be made towards the provision of replacement badminton courts at Porchester School.

However, despite these proposals and in light of the last minute change to recommend refusal from planning officers, Chair of the Planning Board, Councillor John Beesley made a move to refuse the application based on too high a density, overdevelopment and the inability of the applicant to make adequate provision for the loss of accessible sports facilities for the local community.

Members of the Planning Board debated a number of issues over the application and agreed that the proposals did not have support from local residents and furthermore they could have made a better effort at engaging with the local community before submitting the plans. Members also agreed that any future proposals put forward for the site would need to carefully address the issues that had been raised in the application and that lessons could be learned by developers for the future.

Speaking after the meeting Councillor John Beesley commented; “This was not an easy decision to make given the issues around the development however I am confident that the right decision has been made. The proposals for the flats were ill thought-out and given that the proposed density was so high raised other issues, for example amenity space which would suffer. The footprint and the bulk of this development are completely inappropriate for this site and I was disappointed with the applicant’s inability to address outstanding issues beforehand, such as the loss of squash courts to the borough.

“We need to move away from the greed that some developers seem to have in terms of over development of certain sites. Quality of life is important to Bournemouth and we will not tolerate developments which infringe our long term plans.”

Over 1200 letters of objection were previously received when the application was initially submitted and recently 644 letters of objection were received by the council expressing concerns over the loss of public amenity, over development, high traffic problems and the fact that the scale of the proposals was unacceptable for the area.

Until this week the planning officers’ recommendation was to approve the application however additional information about the application was recently received, including further comments made by Sport England. In light of the latest review the recommendation was changed to refusal based on the application failing to make appropriate mitigation for the loss of the 5 squash courts at the existing David Lloyd Centre.

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