PLANS have been submitted to convert the Grade II-listed Parkstone Water Tower into a modern apartment complex.

The tower could be developed into three apartments, with a four-storey block comprising 14 additional flats attached via a glazed link.

Architects say the external appearance of the Poole tower, which dates back to the late 19th century, would be preserved alongside the water tank as a key feature of the scheme.

Currently, the structure sits in the middle of the 52-space Mansfield Road car park, which local traders have fought to safeguard the future of in the past.

In October 2013, when Wessex Water wanted to convert the tower into flats, a petition signed by 1,136 people opposing the move was handed in to the Borough of Poole. Back then Ashley Road traders argued the car park was essential for local businesses.

These latest plans, submitted by Nest Homes, provide only onsite parking for residents and visitors.

Pure Town Planning director Matt Annen explained: "Nest Homes plan to preserve the external appearance of the tower and retain the water tank as a key feature.

"For that reason, the new-build apartments being set to the west of the site would not interfere with the views of the tower from the street.

"The water tower is redundant and will never be used again for its original purpose. While repairs and maintenance of the building are ongoing, it is now unfit for purpose as a working environment and the brickwork is in a poor state."

The actual tower was decommissioned in 2010.

Part of the proposed scheme includes repairing the external brickwork and corbelling of the tower. The majority of the cast iron tank panels would also be replaced.

Mr Annen said: "The most effective means of securing the long-term conservation of the water tower is to put it to use as homes, and this sensitive development will both preserve the building's external appearance and enhance the area.

"A number of other listed water towers have been successfully converted to residential use while retaining their significance, such as the Grade II listed Wivenhoe Water Tower in Colchester, and the Grade II listed Settle Station Water Tower in Yorkshire."