CONTENTIOUS plans to demolish a pub in Poole and replace it with dozens of flats have been withdrawn.

At the end of September AJ Developments was warned by that it was likely its scheme to demolish The Sloop would be refused.

BCP Council planning officer Sarah Scannell said the proposed replacement block of 74 flats was “not of sufficiently high quality”.

Despite amending its plans to reduce the number of flats from 77, the developer decided to withdraw its planning application.

The Commercial Road pub had been owned by Hall and Woodhouse but the chain sold the building saying it had been unprofitable for “many years”.

Speaking earlier this year, the chain’s property director, Mark James, said the money had been reinvested in its other pubs.

“A number of measures had been put in place over the past six years to help support The Sloop, including a significant investment to update the pub and create a new garden area,” he said.

“Despite these, and other steps, the pub had proven to be unviable for many years due to a variety of factors.”

In April, AJ Developments submitted its plans, describing them as “entirely acceptable” in the context of other residential schemes nearby.

However, they were criticised by objectors who described the planned block of flats as “ludicrous” and a “gross overdevelopment” of the site.

Changes were made to the plans over the summer with a reduction from 77 to 74 flats and an increase in the number of parking spaces.

But, in an email to the firm’s architect at the end of September, Ms Scannell warned the application was still likely to be refused.

“[It] is not of sufficiently high quality,” she said. “Conversely it would be harmful to the street scene and setting of the conservation area.

“The scheme has a deficit in excess of £4 million and is therefore unviable. The evidence, if taken at face value, suggests it couldn’t be delivered and it wouldn’t provide any affordable housing.

“Clearly there is some benefit in the provision of 74 flats in a sustainable location, however these would not outweigh the harm identified, including the loss of the heritage asset.”