COUNCILLORS have approved controversial plans to build an extension to a block of flats in Bournemouth despite opposition from dozens of residents.

Plans for the building in Alyth Road, which has been the subject of six planning applications in the last 11 years, were approved by Bournemouth council’s planning board on Monday after a recommendation from officers that the scheme be supported.

Concerns about the block being out of keeping with the area and the impact on the Meyrick Park and Talbot Woods conservation area were raised in 35 objections to the application and by board member Cllr Lynda Price who warned that it could set a precedent for future development.

Permission to formally convert the building to a block of flats was given by the council in 2007 with it being used as such for more than 10 years before that date.

Since then, two applications to add more flats in a two-storey extension have been refused and three proposals for single-storey extensions were also dismissed by the council but all three decisions were overturned following appeals.

Councillors were recommended to approve the latest submission, made earlier this year, in light of the determination of the appeals and despite residents’ opposition.

Speaking at Monday’s meeting, Sheila Warner of Talbot and Branksome Woods Residents’ Association said that the development was “out of character” with the rest of Alyth Road.

“The previous appeals were all for extensions,” she said. “This application harms the conservation area and the proposed changes will cause this property to lose its positive contribution.”

Cllr Price said: “If we did approve this it would set a dangerous precedent for this type of work in this area.

“It will cause a long, long slippery slope to having no conservation area at all.”

Despite echoing some of Cllr Price's concerns, Cllr Chris Wakefield proposed that the application be approved and was backed by the majority of planning board members.

“As much as it pains me as this is in a conservation area, looking at it in planning terms we must grant permission," he said.