TWO years after it closed, plans to convert an iconic disused cinema in Westbourne into a gym and offices have been put forward.

Currentasset Ltd has applied to BCP Council for permission to create a mezzanine in the auditorium of the grade two listed Grand which it said would "revitalise" the area.

“The separate, but complementary, uses proposed within the building will bring life, activity and economic benefit to the area,” a statement by consultancy Metropolis on its behalf says.

“Sensitive restoration ensures the architectural integrity of the building is preserved and the future of the listed building is safeguarded to the benefit of the centre."

Built as a cinema in 1922, the Poole Road building was converted for use as a bingo hall in 1977, continuing as such until January 2018 when it was sold by Simon Bartlam.

He said the number of attendees had fallen to about a quarter of what it was at its peak, meaning the business was no longer viable.

Discussions had been held about the possibility converting the building into a JD Wetherspoon pub before it was sold to Currentasset.

The developer is now applying for permission to create a gym and cafe on the ground floor of the auditorium.

A mezzanine would also be constructed to create a second floor which would be used for offices.

Other than the middle of entrance steps becoming a terrace for the café, the only change to the outside of the building would be reinstalling glass windows in the ticket booth.

“The building’s vacancy has had a negative effect on the shops and businesses that are integrated within the cinema and wider Westbourne centre," the statement adds.

“The proposals will contribute positively to the range of services on offer and would enhance the character and environmental quality of the centre.”

It said the conversion of the building into viable space for businesses would "ensure the building is protected and preserved into the long term".

BCP Council planning officers will consider the application in the coming weeks.