POOLE must not give the impression it is “openly hostile” to business, and chase off investment opportunities.

These fears were raised by Cllr Xena Dion, cabinet portfolio holder for the local economy, pictured inset, responding to Borough of Poole proposals to discuss the furore over the Crown Estate and rival marina bids for the quay, at a meeting of the economy overview and scrutiny committee on January 23.

“To chase off like bulldogs any hint of investment before any plans or investment has a chance to move forward will soon get us a reputation for being not only closed to business but openly hostile,” she said.

“Of course there has to be a sympathetic approach and effective planning controls, but let’s not chase investors away from the outset.”

Cllr Brian Clements, chairman of the economy overview and scrutiny committee, said they should make sure: “That we have all of the relevant policies in place to ensure that any future development is appropriate to Poole’s needs.

“Among other things, I would like to seek assurance that there is adequate protection for the strategic view from Poole Quay and that the various local interests are safeguarded. Its status as a conservation area is also significant,” he said.

A meeting is due to be held between the council and the Crown Estate, whose announcement that it had chosen MDL’s proposed marina over Poole Harbour Commissioners caused uproar when it emerged it included a bridge and road into the harbour for a car park.

MDL has said it will be consulting over its proposals, while Poole Harbour Commissioners has spent two years seeking views on its plans.

Poole Heritage Group is the latest to express concern at what is known of MDL’s proposal. Chairman Michael Stanley-Brown said they were prepared to go to the EU courts if necessary.

“Poole harbour is sacrosanct, not for sale whatever the price so, be forewarned you have a serious fight ahead,” he said.