CONTROVERSIAL plans to replace a disused church with student housing have been rejected by Bournemouth council’s planning board.

More than 40 residents from Victoria Park in Bournemouth submitted objections about the proposed accommodation block for 46 students taking over the site of a former Apostolic Church.

Concerns were raised over the increased noise and anti-social behaviour as well as the lack of parking spaces.

The application was turned down by eight votes to two with one abstention at the planning board meeting on December 16.

Chairman of the planning board David Kelsey said: “There were a lot of vociferous deputations and a group of residents who really made their voices heard.

“Although the university does bring huge benefits, there are cases where you have to put the local residents first.

“I think it came as quite a surprise to them, a nice early Christmas present.”

Ward councillor Nicola Greene argued the residents’ case at the planning board meeting.

She said: “It was really about the scale and impact of the proposed block. The plans were revised but the changes didn’t address the residents’ concerns.”

Professor Keith Phalp, of Victoria Park Road, said: “I understand that there is a need for accommodation, particularly given the growth in student numbers.

“However, this should not be allowed to ruin the lives of existing residents, particularly where the prime motivation seems to be one of private profit.”

The plans were put forward by planning agent Ken Parke Planning Consultants on behalf of Barton Estates UK Limited.

Their application claimed building new purpose-built accommodation will reduce pressure on family homes and the Art Deco-style design would enhance the area.