RESIDENTS in Canford Cliffs have voted overwhelmingly to retain a prominent site, under threat of redevelopment, as a public car park.

Around 100 members of the Branksome Park & Canford Cliffs Residents' Association convened at Canford Cliffs Village Hall on Saturday morning.

On the agenda was the future of Beach Road Car Park, which was selected by the former Borough of Poole (BOP) as a potential housing site as part of the Poole Local Plan.

However, some legal wrangling has taken place with regard to a covenant that limits development on land between Beach Road, Pinecliff Road and Western Road, which dates back to 1926.

Roy Pointer, association member, explained: "Poole council, having spent more than £4,000 on counsel advocacy, finally withdrew its application to the Upper Tribunal Lands Chamber for the setting aside of the covenants protecting the car park.

"This had been the subject of objections from several neighbouring residents and they have claimed for their cost.

"It is understood the council has made an offer in respect of those claims – this is being assessed by the Upper Tribunal in correspondence with claimants."

Last year, BOP agreed any potential sale of the land would be ringfenced for the new Heart of Poole regeneration scheme.

Outgoing residents association chairman Bob Reid, speaking at Saturday's meeting, told those gathered that the land could not be built on until the covenant is released.

He added: "While it (Beach Road Car Park) is not used throughout the year, it is a very important overflow car park in the summer when visitors are here for the beaches."

Asking for a show of hands on three possible outcomes for the site, members voted overwhelmingly to maintain the site as a car park.

Two people voted in favour of redeveloping the plot, while around ten hands were raised to support the third option – redeveloping the site but restricting that development to community use only.

Cllr May Haines, recently re-elected to the new BCP Council, confirmed any money made from land sales would be ploughed back into the Heart of Poole scheme, which is an ambitious plan to completely redevelop the area of Poole town centre surrounding the bus station.

One resident suggested: "How about making Beach Road Car Park free to use other then in the summer months? That way it could free up parking spaces outside of residents ' homes."