WORK has started to redevelop the historic Corkers Restaurant site at Poole Quay.

The former quayside cafe, which opened in 1944, will be transformed into a 'landmark' building which could include a restaurant or shop as well as flats, developers say.

The restaurant, which has been empty for a number of years, has already been demolished.

While some regular Poole Quay visitors told the Echo they were looking forward to the "eyesore site" being redeveloped, others remained uncertain about building residential flats at such a prominent quayside location.

Acorn South's initial application for the development was refused by Borough of Poole (BOP) planners, but a revised application was agreed in April last year.

The latest proposals are for a five-storey tower facing Poole Quay and a two-storey building on the High Street.

Poole resident Richard Downing said: "There were concerns about the size of the building, which is considerably larger - in height - than before.

"But this site has been derelict for some time now, it is about time it was redeveloped."

The plans were originally refused due to the loss of tourist accommodation as Corkers, which is thought to be one of the longest established restaurants in Poole, provided bed and breakfast accommodation.

It was claimed that the developers had not proved that the B&B aspect of the business was unviable.

However planning officers looking at last year's revised application said it would be "difficult to determine the viability" of the B&B accommodation.

The prominent site on the corner of the High Street is in the Town Centre Heritage conservation area.

It remains unclear whether the ground floor of the building will be retained as a restaurant or used as a retail unit for a shop.

After BOP's planning committee ruled in favour of the scheme, last year, the committee's chairman Peter Pawlowski said: "This is a key site in an historic area and it was heartening to see the applicants had responded to the challenge of providing a building that will enhance the quay area."