A DEVELOPMENT dismissed as "copycat speculation" by Bournemouth Civic Society has been rejected.

Haysport Properties Ltd sought to build a three storey block of five studio and one bed flats in Old Christchurch Road, on a courtyard accessed via an arch between Sharkey's and Brix & Co bars.

The town's civic society said the plan "might be reasonably considered" as speculative following recent developments of student accommodation in the Lansdowne area.

The society slammed the scheme saying: "We feel that this new building would not only be an overdevelopment in an already, densely built up, older urban area, also in form and appearance it would be visually extremely incompatible with the adjacent townscape."

Council officers, rejecting the scheme under delegated powers, said the proposed flats would be dark with limited amenity space, a one metre deep patio overlooked by adjacent flats.

The officers' report said: "The site is surrounded by a heavily developed environment of a multitude of conflicting uses and whilst the addition of a modest in-fill development is not deemed out of character ‘per se’, in its current form/number of units it is deemed overdevelopment of the site."