Friday 30 April 2010

Dot get all Cranky....

With the dust of an arduous first quarter finally starting to settle, we can reflect back at some of the exciting projects we have been fortunate enough to have work on so far.

Below is the multiple use scheme for Hermitage properties on Hinton Road, Bournemouth. With a part demolition, part conversion of former night club Crank, we have managed to create four moderate sized bespoke retail units along the newly formed Westover lane - a lane that will be linking the much sought after Westover Road with the potential of newly formed shop frontage on Hinton Road.

On the ground floor we have been able to afford a 4500Sq. Ft. bar with similar above for a restaurant.

The upper floors utilised for residential units comprising of fourteen two bedded apartments with the seven units on the upper floor having double height spaces more consistent with that of loft style living.

The striking primary elevation draws references from the retained side and rear elevations and aims to link the warehouse feel with a re-modelled front elevation, thus bringing more cohesion to a disjointed street scene along with unlocking the future potential of shop frontage to Hinton Road. Here at dot. its been really refreshing to work with Hermitage Properties, who have been very open to our bold design concepts, and excited at the prospect of what could be (we hope) a real landmark for Bournemouth Town and the Hermitage portfolio.

Working alongside the professionals at Ken Parke planning we are eagerly awaiting a positive decision - touch wood!

Thursday 29 April 2010

Bournemouth's affordable housing tax is finally here....

With the majority of developers and planning professionals in Bournemouth currently going through the five stages of denial, we here at Dot find ourselves at "acceptance". So it comes to be that as of the 4th May 2010, the affordable housing threshold in Bournemouth will be reduced from up to fourteen units per site down to a miserly ONE prior to any imposed on-site or off-site contributions.

Clearly this change in policy was conceived in the heady heights of 2007 when the world was a different place, but with a huge shortage of affordable housing being offer in Bournemouth, it's clear that something had to be done With a change as dramatic as this, only time will tell as to its success. Here at Dot we are of the opinion that a more reasonable six dwelling threshold, like the policy adopted by Poole would suffice.

Essentially, the Three Dragons tools kit - Bournemouth's preferred site viability calculator (other tool kits are available) is there to provide information about the economics of residential development, show the impacts of affordable housing and section 106 requirements, which in turn aims to assist the local authority in its planning decisions. The process, we are assured, will be a lot more consistent and transparent, however, the "suck it and see" attitude permeating from BBC may leave some thinking that may not be the case from the onset.

Under the new system, anyone seeking to build one or more additional housing units will have to provide the council with a breakdown of their costs and predicted profit and could have to make an affordable housing contribution of up to 40 per cent. After discussions with planning, we have been assured that we will be able to submit financial site appraisals for informal comment prior to the councils preferred pre-application.

Whether or not you are of the opinion that Bournemouth is now closed for business and it's time to turn your attention to pastures new, Dot will continue with our hands on approach to gain favourable decisions for all of our clients, regardless of how much red tape there may be in the way......

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