RESIDENTS objecting to a 'dangerous' town centre car park operating without planning permission say it is "an absolute eyesore".

A retrospective planning application has been submitted for the site of the former Punshon Memorial Church in Exeter Road, Bournemouth.

It has been operating as a car park run by Britannia Parking for several weeks already.

The site has been empty since the church was demolished in April 2015, but earlier this year the site was occupied by homelessness protesters.

In February last year developer the Mast (Bournemouth) Ltd was granted outline planning permission for a 96-bed block of flats on the site.

But in a statement to the council, agent Ken Parke Planning Consultants said there are "continued issues of viability" and the owners have looked for temporary uses for the site "until markets improve".

The proposals say there should be space for around 30 cars, and the car park will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

It includes the installation of camera posts and pay-and-display units.

The statement adds: "With the recent closure (of Christchurch Road and St. Swithun’s Road South) and other near-by temporary car parks at 37-39 Oxford Road and Madeira Road there is an increased pressure for alternative parking in the town centre.

"The use of the subject site as a temporary car park is acceptable and will relieve pressure on on-street parking."

Residents have also raised concerns about noise at the site, but the applicant says the proposed use "is no more intrusive than previous or extant use."

"It must be noted that this is a town centre location where there is a general expectation of a certain level of activity."

The statement makes a point of saying the use would only be temporary.

There have been two official objections to the proposal so far.

One says: "The land is very dangerous and unstable, it's very easy to slip over and I'm sure there will be burst tyres as there are stray nails lying over the ground.

"People using the car park have been exiting and driving the wrong way around the one-way system in Exeter Park Road, which is struggling to cope with the additional traffic alongside hotel traffic, deliveries, coaches etc."

The second objection says residents have suffered "great distress" at drivers exiting the car park the wrong way "which is a very dangerous situation."

"At night the site is being used as a public toilet and sales of tickets and drugs because it has a fence completely surrounding it and the site is also used as a short cut to Exeter Park Road and vice versa to the BIC."

They say it leads to parking in Exeter Park Road, which caused "complete chaos" on Bank Holiday weekend.

"This is a top tourist town and we live centrally and pay high council rates to do so and we don't expect to see this mess on our doorstep."