EXPERTS have concluded that a seafront development comprising 10 flats will not affect cliff stability – despite fears of possible landslips.

A decision on the proposal – recommended for approval by council officers – to demolish two bungalows in Bournemouth’s Southbourne Overcliff Drive and replace them with a three-storey apartment block was deferred last month to allow for further investigation.

This came after the 100ft landslip at nearby East Cliff in April, which crushed a toilet block, saw public footpaths fall away and the historic Edwardian funicular railway badly damaged.

Writing in objection to the Harlequin Homes development, neighbour Paul Leadbitter said the incident “demonstrates that the stability of the cliffs in the area cannot be taken for granted”.

“[The landslip] further highlights the risks of allowing the extensive excavation so close to the clifftop,” he said.

And planning officer Simon Gould acknowledged the original report concerning cliff stability provided by the applicant “lacked sufficient detail” to satisfy the council’s geo-engineer.

He said, however, that a more detailed assessment has now been provided.

“The council’s geo-engineer is now satisfied with the report and agrees with the applicant’s conclusions that the proposed development will not affect adversely land/cliff stability,” added Mr Gould in his report on the issue.

The plans will face the scrutiny of the borough’s planning board on Monday – chaired by Cllr David Kelsey – due to the level of opposition from neighbouring residents

As well as fears about cliff stability, the 21 objectors also claim the scheme’s provision for 11 on-site car parking spaces is insufficient, that it would result in lost privacy, constitute overdevelopment, be out of character with the area and harm the area’s protected wildlife.

But Mr Gould said the development “would not materially harm the character or appearance of the area”.

He added that a survey had found no protected wildlife, the parking provision meets the criteria set out by the council’s own policy and the issue of overlooking is “not a material planning consideration”.

A design and access statement produced by planning agents Pure Town Planning said: “As the proposal complies with the Development Plan and there are no material considerations which indicate that it should be determined otherwise, the proposal ought to be approved.”

The application will be heard in full during a town hall meeting starting at 2.30pm on Monday, July 18.