AN APPLICATION to demolish a former bank in Poole to make way for a block of 60 flats is set to be refused following concerns that it would cause “irreparable harm”.

Chessland Estates has put forward outline plans to demolish the former Lloyds building and neighbouring car showroom and workshop to make way for the apartments and two new retail units.

However, the proposal has drawn criticism with a Poole council planning officer saying it shows “little regard” for the character of the area and recommending that councillors refuse permission.

The developer has had two previous applications – one for 50 and one for 80 flats – to redevelop the site approved with both schemes including the retention of the façade of the bank building.

However, its latest six-storey scheme would see the complete demolition of the building which it says allows it to create a more modern “landmark” design.

Objections to the application have been made by the Society for Poole; Historic England; the Twentieth Century Society; and from council transport and waste officers.

Simon Hickman, Historic England principal inspector, said that the design “pays little reference” to the site being within the Poole Park conservation area.

“We previously considered that the retention of the bank façade would sustain the character and appearance of the conservation area,” he said.

“In proposing to demolish it and replace it with a building that pays little reference to the surrounding content, the conservation area will be irreparably harmed”.

Members of the borough council’s planning committee will consider the proposal on Thursday (February 14) but have been recommended to refuse permission.

In her report for the meeting, planning officer Sarah Scannell says: “The proposed design would have little regard to the character and appearance of the conservation area and would not be of a sufficiently high or exceptional quality to justify the loss of the former bank building.”

She also raises concerns about the potential congestion problems it could create and the lack of any affordable housing.