NEW plans for Bournemouth’s Winter Gardens site would be substantially different from those rejected last year, a developer has claimed.

Inland Homes says its new scheme for a hotel, leisure attractions and homes have been scaled down from the previous proposal in a bid to address neighbours’ concerns.

It is still pursuing an appeal against Bournemouth council’s refusal of the previous scheme, which was originally submitted by different applicants, but said it would withdraw that appeal if the new plans received permission.

Gregory Greay, of planning agency Gregory Gray Associates, said the proposed hotel would be two storeys smaller than originally planned.

In a presentation to the council’s planning board in advance of an application, he said the developer had sought the views of residents on nearby Cranborne Road.

He said: “Generally there’s contentment with the proposed mix of development and general support for the principle of a hotel but residents are deeply concerned about a building above six storeys in height.”

He said the new plans were not a “recycling” of the previous scheme but included “qualitative and quantitative changes”.

“Two storeys of the hotel element have been removed altogether. It’s reduced the scheme by 20,000ft.

“We’ve got a reduced impact of development and a reduced scale,” he said.

He said the scheme would mean also improving the public space around the site, with traffic and pedestrians sharing the “public realm”.

Councillors were told an application could go before them in June.

But the meeting heard concerns from council leader and ward councillor Cllr John Beesley.

“I don’t believe the local planning authority should in any way be pushed into making a decision on a fresh outline application on the basis that the appeal may be withdrawn,” he said.

“It’s a very significant site. It would be a very major development and we all know that the degree of detail in an outline application is hugely important in order that we don’t fetter ourselves to planning principles for the site that we realise later are not quite as good as we might have hoped for.”

He stressed that the “overwhelming majority of the site” belonged to the council and cautioned against “cutting corners to meet a timetable largely imposed by the developer”.