NEW plans have been approved for an historic fire station in Bournemouth.

Winton Fire Station, which lies about halfway up Wimborne Road, was built in the 1920s and retained its original usage until 1960, since when it has chiefly been used for storage.

In November the council planning board approved plans to convert the building into six flats and a restaurant, however this scheme was withdrawn soon after permission was granted.

A new bid for the site, to convert it into eight flats and a retail unit, has now been approved.

Bournemouth Civic Society praises the building's "flamboyant Arts and Crafts/Neo-Baroque principal façade" and opines that "although the dimensions of some of the flats are relatively small, under the circumstances, the society thinks that the conversion of this historic monument into flats is probably the only way to save it".

A report by planning officer Charles Raven states that the building is a "local landmark" and of "significant historical merit", although it is not formally recognised as a heritage asset.

Mr Raven says: "The proposed re-use and refurbishment of this historic building, together with the sympathetic alterations, are welcomed and would be a significant benefit to the character and appearance of the area."

The police, council and Bournemouth University were all one time owners of the site, and it has been used for its public toilet facilities.

The previous application was by Brownseabuild Ltd, while the latest is by Graham Golder.

During the board hearing in November, councillors were told that “significant parts” of the rear of the building would need to be reconstructed, adding to the cost of restoration and making a viable ground floor business key to the project’s success.

The Civic Society also notes that the structure is in a "very decayed state".

Board chairman Cllr David Kelsey had praised the building as a local icon.

"This is one of my favourite buildings in the town,” he said. "I have always found it a quite attractive building and it is good to see it is going to be returned to some decent usage. It has been empty for a long time."