PLANS to convert an office block into more than two dozen flats have been approved, despite a warning that it would exacerbate the “dire” congestion situation.

The application to change the use of the two-storey building at Meteor Shopping Park in Somerford was backed by Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council on Monday.

It allows the offices near to the roundabout to be converted into 25 flats with a requirement that at least 30 parking spaces are provided alongside a cycle store.

As a prior approval application, only flooding and traffic issues could be considered by planning officers at the council.

One objection to the proposed scheme was lodged with Daniel Curtis, who lives in Wick Lane, saying the development would add to existing traffic problems in the area.

However, a response to the application by the council’s highways department said residential use of the building was likely to result in fewer vehicles than the original office.

It backed the application subject to a condition being included that at least 30 parking spaces were provided for the flats.

“The existing offices generate traffic flows on the highway network that could be similar, if not more, than the proposed flats and therefore it is not considered that the proposal will have a significant impact on traffic flows,” it says.

“It is clear that there is an existing car park which can provide parking levels for the proposed flats at an amount that would accord with parking guidelines.”

The council was also told that only “a small part” of the site was at risk of flooding.

Approving the application, planning officer Sophie Mawdsley said: “There would not appear to be any conditions, limitations or restrictions to prevent the submitted application being approved.”

As part of the permission, at least 30 parking spaces are required to be provided, a cycle store should be built and work has to be completed within three years.