DOZENS of new business units can be created in Christchurch after plans for the conversion of two vacant warehouses were approved.

The former Curtiss-Wright buildings in Airfield Way have been vacant since the firm moved into a new purpose-built base at Bournemouth Airport.

But now permission has been granted for BizSpace’s application to convert them into 85 smaller business units.

The two buildings, next to the GodFirst church centre, have been unused ever since Curtiss-Wright moved to its new base at Bournemouth Airport and are owned by Jersey-based Helix Property.

In June BizSpace applied to BCP Council for their internal conversion due to a lack of interest from businesses looking to take them on in their current form.

Economic development officers at the council gave their backing to the scheme saying there was an “identified need” for units for smaller businesses.

“It is evident that there is a demand for smaller units within Christchurch which is currently unmet,” planning officer Kim Bowditch says in a report approving the scheme.

“The various planning permissions given for development within Bournemouth International Airport and elsewhere in the district have primarily related to large units or to the consolidation of premises leaving large units vacant.

“It is reasonable to conclude that larger commercial floor areas are available for rent or purchase and it is the smaller units for which demand exceeds supply.”

The approved application would not involve any external works to the buildings with the only changes allowed being the subdivision into 85 spaces ranging from 10sqm to 90sqm.

The report adds that the change could increase “general activity” on the site which would have an impact on people living nearby.

However, it says that the buildings could be used unchanged in a way which creates a site which is busier than when it was used by Curtiss-Wright.

A condition of the granting of planning permission is that the units can only be used by office-based or light industrial businesses.