A FORMER NatWest bank branch in Poole is set to be converted into a dental surgery.

The building in Haven Road, Canford Cliffs has been lying vacant since October 2017.

In approving the plans for the dental surgery, Poole council officer Helen Harris said it was important to fill the vacant unit.

“An active frontage is important to contribute to the vitality of the local centre which, historically, has been recognised as one of the most thriving in the borough,” she said.

Richard Mears, of Pure Town Planning, said in a planning statement that the new practice “could act as a draw for people” to visit other shops before and after their appointment.

There are several other vacant units currently waiting to be filled in Haven Road, including the former HSBC building and four units which are due to be converted into a Tesco Express store.

Speaking on behalf of the applicant for the dental surgery, Mr Taherir, Mr Mears said: “Given there are five long-term vacant units within this local centre it is reasonable to suggest that there is no commercial interest in these units being occupied by retailers operating under an A Class Use.”

He added there were no other dental surgeries in the area.

When open, the surgery will provide six full-time jobs including two dentists, two dentist nurses, and two receptionists. It will be open six days a week between 9am to 7pm.

Mr Mears said this was a “clear economic benefit and thus positive of the proposal”.

Addressing parking for the new dental surgery, he added that there were two off-street parking spaces provided to the rear of the site, which will be used for parking by the staff. Nearby Ravine Road car park provides 66 car parking spaces where other members of staff and customers would park, he said.

Ms Harris said: “It would be a positive step to see the unit occupied again.

“The proposed use would be in an accessible and convenient location and provide an important service to the community.

“It would contribute to the vitality and viability of the local centre,” she added.