A HOTEL can be converted into a block of dozens of flats after council planners approved the West Hill scheme.

Developer Aram Developments said St Michael’s Hotel was no longer a viable business venture following a “steady decline” in trade.

The position was backed by a tourism panel last year and now BCP Council has approved the application to alter the building into 31 one-, two- and three-bedroom flats.

Last used as a hotel in 2014 when it closed due to profitability concerns, the troubled building has been described as “holding the community to ransom” due to ongoing problems of dumped rubbish.

In September last year, Bournemouth council’s tourism review panel met to consider the viability of the business in light of plans to apply for the conversion of the building into flats.

The following month the application for the conversion to flats was submitted.

A statement submitted with the developer’s plans said: “The hotel use ceased following a long-standing and steady decline in trade.

“As a large hotel building that cannot be readily adapted to provide more modern accommodation to meet current tastes and with restricted on-site parking, any future hotel use would be limited to the budget end of the market.

“However, the hotel was not viable on that basis as a going concern and there is ample other budget accommodation available in this part of the town centre.

“Therefore it is concluded that the prospects of a tourist accommodation use being re-established in this building are remote.”

Three letters opposing the scheme were sent to the council, raising concerns about the proposed provision of only 11 parking spaces and increased noise.

Despite these concerns, council planning officer Charles Raven granted permission for the conversion.

“It is considered that, subject to compliance with conditions, the development would be in accordance with the development plan,” his report said.

“It would not materially harm the character or appearance of the conservation area or the amenities of neighbouring and proposed occupiers and would be acceptable in terms of traffic safety and convenience.”

Due to concerns about the cost of altering the building, no affordable units will be included in the scheme, although the developer has said it will give a £17,000 contribution towards developments off-site.