HISTORIC England has objected to plans for a six-storey flat complex and restaurant in Poole's historic Old Town.

Developers want to build 38 apartments at the former Dibben & Sons' site, Lower High Street, which is listed and dates back to the mid to late 19th century.

The applicant, Hignell Baker Investments Ltd, from Ringwood, has applied to demolish the central warehouse and the two buildings that form 13 High Street, while retaining the facades.

However, the plans have been opposed by a handful of residents, Historic England and Borough of Poole's (BOP) Poole Town ward councillor Mark Howell.

Historic England, the public body that looks after the country's historic buildings and places, objects to the plans on 'heritage grounds'.

Simon Hickman, Historic England's principal inspector of historic buildings and areas, contacted BOP as part of the planning process.

Mr Hickman said: "Under these proposals the facades of the High Street buildings would remain but tacked onto a bland three storey building with all the character of a suburban shopping precinct.

"The pleasing irregularity in building height within this part of Lower High Street would wither under the monotony of the proposed roofscape, with the severed facades applied to its front."

He continued: "An unfortunate facet of the Lower High Street is its lack of engagement and interaction with the quay. The failure to provide public routes through the proposed development is another missed opportunity in this respect, neglecting the chance to link the High Street with Strand Street and the multiple historic alleyways that run from here onto the quay."

Meanwhile, Cllr Howell, in a letter to Poole planning chiefs setting out his position, said his primary reason for objecting was because developers propose a one-way traffic flow exiting the site on to Lower High Street.

"This would prevent the council from closing the street for special events or longer closures in the future and goes against policies to enliven the High Street," said the councillor. "It would also present an obstacle and potential danger to pedestrians - especially those with young children - walking down what is already a narrow street with insufficient pavement."

A design and access statement, supporting the application, concludes that the development has been "designed to sympathetically sit within the historic Old Town of Poole.

"The significance of maritime and Georgian influences has been carefully considered in the design and elevations and the use of materials, as well as in the landscaping and street scene," it continued.

The application has yet to be determined.