A DIY chain’s Bournemouth store will be split in two to make it more marketable should it close.

Plans for the division of Homebase’s Mallard Road Retail Park shop were submitted in response to the risk of it shutting.

Now retail park owner Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council has had its application – part of a £1 million investment in the site – approved.

The move was first revealed in February when Bournemouth council’s cabinet backed work to make three of the units more attractive to businesses.

A report published at the time warned that Homebase was “trading poorly” and would likely be unable to afford the £920,000-a-year rent.

The firm currently pays £92,000 to the council for use of the former bus station building under a company voluntary arrangement.

Submitted at the end of last year, the planning application sought permission to convert it into two retail units which it said would be easier to find tenants for.

“Morgan Williams has advised that in the event of closure the prospects of reletting the unit as a whole are slim to non-existent,” a planning statement said.

“The general trend for retail warehouses is for them to become smaller and based on direct approaches to all the active retailers in the market has revealed no interest in a unit of this size.

“There is, however, potentially interest in smaller units as proposed in this application.”

It warned that it was possible Homebase could close “in the short term”.

Mallard Road Retail Park was bought by Bournemouth council in September 2017 and, speaking in February, its cabinet member for economic growth, Cllr Philip Broadhead, said it had been “tremendously successful”.

Rent earned through the retail park is forecast to fall this year but Cllr Broadhead said it would still make a profit.

The application to divide the Homebase store into two retail units was approved by Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council on Thursday (April 18).