PLANS put forward by football manager Harry Redknapp for the conversion of a Bournemouth hotel used to house the homeless into flats have been given the go-ahead.

BCP Council has approved the planning application, submitted through his company Pierfront Properties, for the redevelopment of Belgravia Hotel into flats and five houses.

Planning officer Tom Hubbard acknowledged concerns about the loss of the HMO but said improvements to the building mitigated any issues.

“Sympathy is extended to occupants in this respect but it is understood that the sublease for the existing HMO has already been revoked and this does not have significant bearing on planning considerations,” his report said.

“The loss of HMO accommodation is not resisted in the local plan, however the council’s housing team is aware of the situation.”

The hotel building had been used to house homeless people since 1988 by Gerry and Wendy Hunt under a lease.

And in January the planning application for its conversion was lodged following two failed attempts to secure permission for its demolition.

The plans included the provision of 14 flats in the main block alongside the replacement with the coach house with five houses.

“Although the site is referred to as Belgravia Hotel, it has been some years since it was last used as a hotel,” a statement submitted with the application said.

“It has been converted to provide self-contained bedsit accommodation and the former coach house is occupied as a dwelling.

“The proposals would formalise the existing residential use and ensure a high standard of residential accommodation can be provided.”

However, it attracted opposition from the family which had run the building as accommodation for the homeless.

Karen Hunt who oversaw the business said they had been “transforming” the lives of the people living there and urged the withdrawal of the plans.

But the application has now been approved by the council.

“There are some concerns about the loss of the coach house at the rear of the site but the other benefits in terms of the improvements to the existing building, landscaping and provision of housing would mitigate these concerns,” Mr Hubbard’s report said.

“Subject to acceptable materials and architectural details, the houses at the rear will be of sufficient quality to preserve the character and appearance of the area and will not form an overdevelopment of the site.”