A WESTBOURNE furniture seller has been given permission to turn his shop into a Mediterranean restaurant, despite residents' concerns over noise and nuisance.

The bid to convert the existing Someretto furniture shop in the listed Westbourne Arcade into a restaurant divided opinion and prompted large numbers of objectors and supporters to lobby Bournemouth council.

But at the last meeting of the council's planning committee, councillors voted by nine votes to two to approve the change of use.

Cllr Philip Stanley-Watts, who is on the planning committee, moved the motion to approve. He said: "There were quite a few objections and quite a few in support, it does seem to have been one of those issues that divides people.

"I thought it would improve the mix of the Westbourne area as a destination for good food and restaurants, it will be good for the area.

"I'm pleased it will be a healthy food restaurant and I think it will add to the economic wellbeing of the area. I don't think it will cause a nuisance, especially with the conditions attached."

Ray Hamilton, who lives next door to the restaurant, spoke on behalf of arcade residents and said the additional disturbance would be "considerable."

"We are having problems already with one property that is open later in the evening, I can only see that if this application is granted, things will get much, much worse," he said.

"Every resident I have spoken to is against this. Make no mistake, the residents of Westbourne Arcade are against this proposal.

"Traders are quick to promote the village feel of Westbourne's village. Surely the most important concerns of any village are those of the people who live there."

Councillors also heard a deputation on behalf of the applicant, which said the proposal was well supported by those who thought it would increase the vibrancy of the arcade and the wider shopping area.