Local Distinctiveness North of the High Street

Local Distinctiveness North of the High Street


Draft narrative as a background to local distinctiveness prepared by Clive Sutton in respect of the area to the east of Southampton Road and the north of the High Street.


Southampton road from St Thomas’s Park going north.


We are very lucky to have the attractive Georgian houses on the west side of Southampton Road Road.  It is true that they are mirrored on the right-hand side by 1930s detached houses but because of the width of the road the two styles are distinctive and complement each other.


There have so far been two intrusions into the east side of Southampton Road between St Thomas’s Park and the traffic lights but these have not irreparably changed the character, as although both created flats and to a certain extent set precedents, they have not significantly changed the character of the Southampton Road at that point.


Any further developments of flats as opposed to houses will start to tip the balance and instead of the cottages on the west side being reflected by the present variety of housing on the west side they will be overwhelmed by any further multiple ownership housing.


Accordingly any changes of housing on his side should only be to a similar style and density. The 1960s row of chalet bungalows could be replaced on that basis with single ownership two-storey housing.


Southampton Road Avenue Road junction.


This is a curious configuration of a one-way street coming in to a major crossroads and adds interest to the junction.


That is going to be substantially prejudiced by the planning permission which has been given for the McCarthy warden assisted accommodation, due to the substantial scale of the building and its uninterrupted mass around the corner which cannot be hidden by the varying types of roofs which are being employed.


The junction is going to be a clash between the older buildings in the conservation area and the more modern buildings for which permission has been given on the northern corners of the crossing and unfortunately those buildings will subtly alter the tone of both Southampton Road and Avenue Road, and must not be allowed in future to set a precedent for any further changes.


The remainder of Southampton Road to the north of the traffic lights has a pleasing and relaxed feel of detached houses and gardens set back with the notable exception of St Andrews Lodge.  That building must not be allowed to be reflective of the distinctiveness of that part of Southampton Road.


There has been the replacement of a bungalow on the other side of the road with a detached house which when it is occupied will sit very well with in the street scene the developers of that property are to be congratulated.  It should set the tone for any replacement houses that maybe needed because of any unsuitability of any existing houses which are not capable of being modernised.


Development has already taken place on the west side near Alexandra Road.  Tyler’s Close could in due course, if commercially necessary, be redeveloped into individual houses within an estate.


At Alexandra Road, Southampton road becomes more interesting following the original curved route dating back to the 15th century as shown on the original 16 century Buckland map.


The Grosvenor Mews development is set back behind high foliage.  Any redevelopment of the Grosvenor Mews buildings, if that was ever commercially necessary, would need to be to an attractive standard at no greater density.


An example of such development has already taken place on the hospital site where new houses do not impinge on the character of Southampton Road although they are artificially divorced from that in the same way as Grosvenor Mews and Tylers close.


This has, to a certain extent set a pattern for the road, with some houses fronting the road and some areas where the houses look away from the road.  This variety is a feature of Southampton Road.


At Hollywood Lane the road becomes almost rural leading on to the Tollhouse Pub and the open fields behind it and then on to the open fields to the left approaching the Marsh Lane roundabout.


The Marsh Lane roundabout will form an area of distinctiveness and is heavily used by traffic.  The western side will never be built upon due to the Hampshire County Council ownership.  The North-East corner has the new Ambrose Corner development by Coltens, yet to be completed, but on the basis of what is there already and what has been built further on it will not be unattractive housing so long as there is a reasonable amount of foliage fronting the road.  Again the houses will be facing away from the road into their own cul-de-sacs.  No doubt when the development is finished the roundabout could be made more attractive and some of the street furniture and telegraph poles improved.


The problematical area is the two semi-detached houses and large bungalow on the southeast side which could be considered a possible development prospect.


Any developer would wish to bring new development closer to the road, although there is a big separation by the layby which presumably cannot be built on.  Any redevelopment of that area would be unfortunate and unnecessary because it would expand and diminish the effectiveness of the sensitive redevelopment which has already taken place on the east side of Southampton Road from Marsh Lane to the railway bridge.


That area has achieved its own local distinctiveness by a development which could at first have seemed an unnecessary replacement for individual houses in their own gardens, but having been nearly completed has achieved an attractive frontage to the west side of the road with the possible exception of the unnecessary square “Tesco” Tower building halfway along.  Otherwise the frontage housing is attractive and the rear housing is as attractive as one would expect from a development of that necessary density.


Reaching the railway bridge the two new flat blocks of affordable housing have sat well in their surroundings since they were built, contained as they are by both the bank of the road and the railway line.


South of them is an area still to be developed subject to planning permission were there has been an argument over the density and the perhaps in the current climate the developers could look to a lesser density.


The relatively new development of the Ampress Park industrial side with its garage and reclad units of the Wellworthy factory with extensive areas for building and of course the hospital, has overall been a success.


The area has been reserved for commercial use but if that must be changed it would not be entirely inappropriate for there to be housing mixed with commercial use.


With the garage shop providing such a wide range of supplies there is almost a community feel growing up with the new developments on Southampton Road using that shop as its local store and also the use of the shop by people working in the Ampress site and the hospital.


There is the old Wellworthy car parks site underdeveloped where a hotel is being thought to be the right answer and probably still is, but if necessary similar housing to that on the south side of the railway bridge would not be out of place there.


The extent of the redevelopment so far in the town can be appreciated by observing the Marsh Laneroundabout which is the main artery into the town from the North and the amount of continuous traffic coming in to continue both along Southampton Road or Marsh Lane.


Marsh Lane is a new connecting road built 30 years ago to access the eastern part of the town and serve the new estates on either side. Those estates are now matured and the road has a wide and pleasant aspect.


It leads into the southern Marsh Lane area of functional industrial development of factories of the original Marsh Lane together with local authority depots and an unmade residential road on the west side.  The allotments are undeveloped and during an area of demand for allotments are unlikely to be developed, but if necessary, presumably with low density housing preferably fronting the road to create a street scene rather than another enclosed development would be appropriate.  However retention of the open allotment space would be preferable to create a distinct break between the industrial area to the south and the estates to the north.


There is a general area of openness because of the grass verges on the other side of Marsh Lanebetween the road and the railway line and of course the undeveloped marshes beyond.


East Hill roundabout with development all round it now completed seems more attractive than theMarsh Lane roundabout having less signs and street clutter.  It is complemented by the new housing fronting the street and reflecting the remainder of Gosport Street.  The developers seem to have achieved the benefit of the houses fronting the road whilst being serviced for vehicles at the rear.  This has led to small gardens and a rather utilitarian parking and garage forecourt area at the rear but it is functional and has allowed the frontage is to be closer to the road and attractive.


There is housing on the north east corner of the Gosport Street and Bridge Road roundaboutwhich is possibly part private and part local authority and may be subject to development pressures in the future.  It is at the moment all uniform 1930s housing, and any redevelopment of an individual house into what would be likely to be more intensive development would break up the uniform rooflines.


The whole area of the roundabout, whilst nothing special in architectural terms, is established and appropriate in its surroundings quite close to the town.  One bungalow to the use of the roundabout could usefully be redeveloped into a house to reflect the adjoining houses in the same way as the redevelopment of the bungalow in Southampton Road has done.


Gosport Street is an attractive mixture of Edwardian and Victorian houses of which there has been a partial redevelopment in Canterbury house which, whilst fussy, is successful.


The unknown question in this area is the potential redevelopment of the factory units on the southeast corner of the roundabout which will no doubt occur when there is a new upsurge in housing prices.


Any redevelopment must reflect the existing houses to the south of the site and opposite side ofGosport Street and again it may be unfortunate if houses face inwards and away from the street.  They should face the road in some form or other probably with rear vehicle access in order to reflect the distinctiveness created by the other houses facing the road in a similar way in this area.


Any redevelopment of the Jewson building or site if that were to take place would need to be on a similar basis and of course in replacing the Jewson building that could reasonably be dense development because of the existing mass of the building.


Planning has already being granted for a high building on the corner of Gosport Street and North Close and it is hoped that that will be in keeping but that will be a marker to any further development in Gosport Street as to whether it is successful or not.


Canon Street has of course the Jewson Yard as a potential for development and of course it is unnecessary to have a builder’s yard like that so close to the shopping area because it would normally be accessed by vehicles rather than pedestrians.


On the north side of Canon Street there is an area no doubt to be susceptible to redevelopment consisting of a row of garages with gardens behind.  Any such development would no doubt reflect the old school (Mosbach Place) development which when looking up from Canon Street is still excessively high at its west end, although the east end frontage is attractive and redolent of a 1930s style development.  That design could be reflected in any development on the corner of Canon Street and North Close.


The Tesco’s car park area relates to the High Street and should only be redeveloped for car park purposes in some format but such redevelopment will be dependent on the overall parking issues within the town.


Turning into North Close, a most attractive development is the library set, as it is, back into higher ground.


The Edwardian houses in the part of North Close running down to Gosport Street are very attractive and their distinctiveness in the environment must be protected, and this to a certain extent has been achieved by the new single storey units on the North East end of the street which could have been slightly more imaginative.


Moving down Bridge Street, the same comment as to the redevelopment of the industrial side apply as applied in Gosport Street, although development could be much more setback given the area of openness to reflect the existing housing on the other side.


Moving beyond the level crossing is the stand alone planning issue of the Webb Site which hopefully will now achieve its distinctiveness in the low density housing and riverside frontage now anticipated for that site and will not be completely separated from Lymington so that residents can access Lymington by way of a pedestrian accessway.  It is also important that the frontage to the river is attractive as it is viewed so much from the road on the Walhampton side, and the design of the new development on the Webb Site needs to take this into account and it will no doubt be attractive for the occupiers of the new houses to have a frontage view over the River.


Waterloo Road has its special distinctiveness in being mixed attractive housing close to or exactly fronting the road in parts.  The Green Marine factory is an unknown quantity and it will be a political decision as to whether that will be replaced by housing or industrial units if redeveloped.


The feature of the road is the redevelopment of the old garage site with houses, albeit high but reflecting a river frontage feel of wharfs, which have succeeded without over dominating the remainder of the street and in particular Station Road.


Station Road development is now complete with those houses and is again attractive with its uniform terraced housing down both sides.  A similar situation applies in Mill Lane where the redevelopment is complete with the new Britannia Place.


The Quayside Marine being a riverside industry presumably will be a permanent fixture.


Going up East Hill there are attractive cottages at the lower end on the south side with local authority housing fairly close on the north side which will no doubt not be changed.


Back from East Hill is also the, presumably local authority, housing on the south side East of North Street.


There is a bungalow, Maycross, on East Hill which with the adjoining bungalow on the corner ofBroomfield Lane could lead to redevelopment.  Apart from the Old Masters House of the infirmary there would be no houses overlooking and there is no sense of a street identity here, which would be in fact created by new development which can be left to the creativity of an architect.


The Infirmary is an interesting redevelopment in the new Union Place.  The Infirmary of necessity was made into flats to preserve it and this has been achieved.  The new houses surrounding it are functional if unimaginative and reflect affordable accommodation.  The retention of the Masters House has been a master stroke in its aspect from the West and the East although the replacement of the brickwork of the western extension will blend in hopefully over time. The retention of the Masters House has avoided the isolation of the Infirmary building and put it in context.


The retention of the Infirmary wall and the Masters house wall in the East hill is attractive.




New Street now features the Hillcroft Close redevelopment which reflects the original Hillcroftbuilding and provides its own community and distinctiveness.  This will presumably be reflected by redevelopment of the Local Authority home on the other side of New Street.  However that development should not be as high as Hillcroft because of the fact that the ground is higher there and all it would overshadow everything else.


The remainder of New Street to has achieved its own distinctiveness of large houses either used as office or residential which sit well.


Madrissa Court and New Court House stand out as unfortunate additions and if they became time expired their redevelopment would be beneficial.  In fact Madrissa Court is probably the only example of conventional 60s flatted developments in the town and possibly through that horrific example the town has been saved for from similar development, until the recent permissions for dense development made to look like houses.


The McCarthy development of Rapunzel’s Tower is a grotesque confection of cones and peaks — and troughs — overshadowing the vernacular of the Borough Arms and small buildings adjoining.  The worst aspect of it is the Lower Buckland Road aspect where it creates a “Wall Street” effect against the other side of the road including, even the Archgate development.  It has made a mockery of the Borough Arms and the adjoining house which appears to be unsaleable.  Whether this will be significantly improved by the reduction in the height, now going through, remains to be seen.


The complete inappropriateness of the McCarthy development is clear from Union Place where the peaked roofs look like dragons teeth towering over the smaller houses of Lower Buckland Road.


There are bungalows opposite the McCarthy development on the south side of Avenue Road which will obviously lend themselves to re-development.  Lessons must be learnt and any redevelopment there should be two-storey houses preferably having a street frontage to give the street and an identity to reflect the frontages of the larger houses on the other side for the remainder of the central part of Avenue Road.


Those houses give the street a pleasing and open aspect but still retain an integrity and uniformity.  If necessary the two bungalows opposite the town hall exit could be redeveloped to two-storey houses.


Plantation Court may well be redeveloped in time but should be redeveloped to reflect the two-storey houses and not reflecting Cavendish Place which is just too overbearing.  When viewed from all sidesCavendish House resembles a beached ocean liner.  Using the example of the recent new houses at the northern end of Southampton Road, a similar density could have probably been achieved on this site without the need for such a huge block.


Looking across to the other side of the street is the building one might expect to see on Ocean Boulevard Miami, completely unconnected with any other building in the town and indeed unconnected with Cavendish Place.


The new houses adjoining Cavendish House are acceptable but look fairly blank and austere from the rear.


We have now reached the position of the new permitted development on the corner of the traffic lights setting a local distinctiveness now to be achieved as overwhelmingly of flatted dense developments in this area.  All that can be suggested is that the distinctiveness of this area is limited to its current boundaries and whilst it is a distinctive area of flatted developments it should not be extended any further and it can be treated during this generation of least as a lesson to those planners and planning inspectors who passed those buildings, particularly the McCarthy development at Lower Buckland Road


There is therefore a comparison of the local distinctiveness of this area of the North West end of Avenue Road to be set against any other area of Lymington to show that no other area of Lymington should have its existing local distinctiveness converted into this formula.


Some areas had been missed, notably Lower Buckland Road and Hollywood Lane — I only took one tape — and also other areas off the main roads


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