UNANIMOUS approval has been given for a scheme to redevelop a disused coal yard in Boscombe.

Members of Bournemouth council’s planning board backed an application to build 60 homes on the Ashley Road site at a meeting on Monday.

Described as “the backside of the moon” by Cllr Phil Stanley-Watts, the site has been mostly derelict since the coal yard closed 20 years ago.

Bournemouth council had allocated the site for employment use in its local plan but, in a report to the committee, planning officers said that there was a lack of interest from businesses and that alternatives should be considered.

Part of the three-acre site has been used as a car wash but the majority has been empty with the report describing it as “an eyesore”.

At the beginning of the year it was taken over by Occupy Homeless Sanctuary before they were removed in March.

An outline application was submitted by Brightmark Limited for residential development of the site last year and backed by council planning officers who recommended that it be approved.

Speaking on behalf of the developer, planning consultant Tom Whild said that the development would be a “significant enhancement to the area”.

Planning board members unanimously agreed to grant permission for the redevelopment of the site at Monday’s meeting.

Cllr Phil Stanley-Watts, who proposed the move to support the application, said that the development would improve the site.

“It should have been designated for residential use 20 years ago,” he said.

“It’s been a terrible health and safety risk and redeveloping this site is important for this part of Boscombe as now it looks like the backside of the moon.”

Although permission has been granted for a 60-home development on the site, the only detail of the scheme which has been finalised is its access onto North Road rather than the busier Ashley Road.

Councillors were also told that the developer had agreed to fund traffic calming measures in North Road and other improvements to Ashley Road.

A further application covering the details of the lay out of the site will have to be submitted and approved before any work starts.