THE developer which paid more than £6.15million for Bournemouth’s two former cinemas in Westover Road is intending to submit new plans for them.

It has been more than two years since the last films played at the Odeon and ABC, before they closed to make way for the new Odeon multiplex at nearby BH2.

Libra Homes, which bought both cinemas, submitted two applications for homes and shops at the Odeon and one for the ABC. But all were rejected by Bournemouth planners and the developer lost the two appeals it lodged.

A Libra spokesman said: “In the light of the appeal decision and the inspector’s comments, and a recent meeting with Bournemouth council, we will be resubmitting a scheme on that basis.”

He said the initial application would be for the Odeon site.

James Weir, heritage and conservation officer with Bournemouth Civic Society, said: “In the light of the comprehensive dismissal of their schemes by the Planning Inspectorate, we would hope that the owners are reassessing their options to come up with proposals that not only retain the historically important building fabric, but also reinstate the buildings as places of culture and entertainment.”

Libra Homes paid a total of £6.15million for the cinema sites. Its applications to develop them were submitted in 2016 and 2017.

Town centre councillor David Smith said: “The site is a classic case where in my opinion the developer paid too much for the site and consequently they’re trying to squeeze too much on the site to make the scheme stack up financially. It’s important that a sensitive scheme is brought forward for this location due to the sensitivity and importance of the site in the centre of Bournemouth,” he added.

As well as leaving the town with two large boarded-up empty properties, the closure of the cinemas has hit trade on Westover Road. One retailer reported last year that footfall had dropped by 50 per cent, while others said that visitors were calling the once-grand 1930s picture houses an “eyesore”.

The Civic Society is among those who have argued that at least one of the cinemas should be used for cultural purposes.

Independent chain Curzon Cinemas said it could be interested in one of the sites, although Odeon sold them with a restrictive covenant attached which was intended to prevent them being used to show films.