A PRIVATE town centre car park in the heart of Christchurch could be turned into nine new homes and two shops.

Plans have been submitted to Christchurch council for the scheme, which would see the private car park off Sopers Lane and Fountain roundabout turned into nine maisonettes and two commercial units.

But concerns have been raised about the possible proximity to an ancient Saxon burgh.

As well as building the new two-and-a-half storey building, which will include four two-bedroom homes and five one-bedroom properties, the development would also see a new area of public open space installed at the front.

This would include new paving and ‘low-level planting’.

The 44-space private car park would be reduced to 18 spaces.

A statement included with the planning application from planning agents Ellis and Partners said: “Overall the scheme is in keeping with the area and the adjacent properties and respects views onto the site.

“The scheme takes an opportunity to improve the site through the provision of public space, planting, active frontage and improved visibility.”

There would be no parking for residents. The remaining 18 spaces would be for the existing and proposed commercial units.

Peter Fenning, secretary of Christchurch Conservation Trust, requested an archaeological condition be applied to any permission.

He said the CCT’s request to the council was based on information that the site was next to the location of the ancient Saxon burgh and said ‘the entire extent of the conservation area has the potential for nationally significant archaeology’.

The application is currently under consideration by planners at Christchurch council.

It is likely to be decided by delegated powers but that is yet to be confirmed.