PLANS to build flats on the site of the vacant Poole Pottery store on Poole Quay have been given approval, despite concerns over the size and design of the new development.

Fortitudo, the company headed up by well-known property developer Richard Carr, has received planning permission from BCP Council to demolish the former visitor centre and studio and build a block of 64 flats.

Two commercial units will be built at ground floor level and could be filled with restaurants, shops, or even a museum/gallery.

A previous scheme for the site featured 95 flats and also included the historic Swan Inn pub next door, which was proposed to be turned into a new educational facility.

However, Fortitudo dropped the pub from its revised plans to the dismay of some residents and Poole councillor Mark Howell. He said the developer had originally used the Swan Inn as a “carrot to local residents” with a promise it would be “handed over to the borough for community use”.

Planning officer Sarah Scannell, who recommended the latest scheme for approval, said the existing Poole Pottery building was “dated” and “unsightly”.

She said Fortitudo’s proposals would “enhance the character and appearance of the conservation area and not result in material harm to the locally listed Swan Inn”.

The new development will be up to five storeys high, with its tallest features fronting Old Orchard.

The council has suggested including an interpretation board detailing Poole Pottery’s historic use of the site in the new development.

The owners of a pottery studio and shop in the adjacent Dolphin Quays building have expressed an interest in occupying the new development, according to Ms Scannell.

Poole Quays Forum, which created a neighbourhood plan to guide planning decisions in Poole, objected to Fortitudo’s plans for a number of reasons including the development’s “dominant” visual impact and its “pastiche design”.

The group found the ommission of the Swan Inn pub from the revised plans “disappointing”.

They also think the new development will have an “excessive density” and lead to a lack of open space in the area.

As previously reported, Mr Carr said the scheme would “revitalise” Poole Quay by bringing new businesses and residents to the area.

The design of the building is inspired by the historic warehouse buildings along the quay, he said.

He described the current Poole Pottery site as “an eyesore”.

Poole Pottery closed its visitor centre and studio in October 2017 and was unable to find a suitable alternative site in the area.

The Poole Quay site was identified in Poole’s Local Plan as being suitable for redevelopment to provide around 50 homes and a ground floor unit that reflects the historic use of the site by Poole Pottery.