PLANS to demolish a dilapidated hotel in East Cliff which has been described as a “hulking monstrosity” by neighbours have been approved.

Despite being recommended to refuse permission, members of Bournemouth council’s planning board backed the scheme to knock down the Cliff End Hotel and replace it with a new assisted-living complex.

The disused building, owned by Meyrick Estate, has attracted squatters and vandals over the years with residents calling for the “eyesore” to be demolished.

Cliff End Hotel has been unused since 2002 and in 2012 was severely damaged in a fire.

At the beginning of the year, Meyrick Estate submitted a planning application to demolish the building and replace it with a seven-storey 65-bed assisted-living facility.

Despite being overwhelmingly supported by residents and ward councillors, the application was recommended for refusal by council officers who raised concerns about the scale of the building.

The potential for harm to be caused to trees in Boscombe Gardens and the lack of space on the site for cars to manoeuvre were also given by planners as reasons for the recommendation.

However, residents living closest to the hotel urged the council’s planning committee to go against the recommendation and approve the scheme.

Peter Gordon, the vice-chairman of the Keverstone Court Residents’ Society, said that the building brought “a degree of shame” on the area.

“Our block of flats is in close proximity to this hulking monstrosity,” he said. “Those affected by this building include tourists and, of course, residents.

“There are very few people who pass this site who don’t make time to point and stare at this building.

“It’s hard not to feel some degree of shame.”

Almost all residents (98 per cent) who took part in a consultation on the scheme backed the proposals.

Speaking on behalf of Meyrick Estate, planning agent Ken Parke said that the assisted-living scheme was the only option for the redevelopment of the site.

He said: “The amount of investment in this scheme already is significant and this is the only viable viable alternative for the site.”

Despite officers reiterating their concerns about the development, members of the planning board agreed to grant permission for the scheme saying that the new building would be an “improvement” over the disused hotel building.

Cllr Stephen Bartlett said: “I think the building is extremely elegant and will enhance the conservation area.

“It’s what the residents want and I think it would be a great benefit to the area.”

Although planning permission is now in place for the demolition of the hotel, Mr Parke warned that it could be two or three years before the building is knocked down and work starts on the new facility.