THE latest attempt to secure planning permission to demolish a clifftop hotel in Bournemouth and replace it with flats has been refused.

AJ Developments said Hotel Riviera in West Cliff Gardens was no longer a viable business and that its closure would not “have any detrimental impact on the tourist economy”.

But BCP Council planning officer Tom Hubbard said the benefits of the proposed 14 flats would not outweigh the damage caused by the loss of the facility.

Submitted three months after the first application was refused, the plans sought permission to demolish the hotel building.

They proposed one more flat than included in the first scheme and an increase from 13 to 17 parking spaces following concerns the first development would have caused “chaos” on surrounding roads.

A statement submitted on behalf of the developer by consultancy Pure Town Planning said it had not made a positive contribution to the character of the area “for some time”.

“Despite the substantial experience of the owners in the hospitality sector and intensive marketing and promotion strategies across multiple platforms, the hotel business continues to have poor occupancy levels and remains unviable,” it said.

“There is evidently no reasonable prospect of the site’s continued and viable tourism use.”

The application attracted letters of objection from dozens of people raising concerns about the “excessive” scale of the proposed development.

Susan Godfrey said: “An overbearing, high, built-up block bulk overshadowing the area – it is an excessive proposal.”

And planning officer Tom Hubbard questioned the developer’s claims about the viability of the hotel as a business.

In his report refusing permission for the redevelopment of the site, he pointed to dozens of reviews left online by its customers over the past year

“Although the town centre is considered an acceptable location for additional residential intensification, and the proposal would provide 14 generous size units,” it said.

“The harm identified in terms of the loss of the tourism accommodation and the impact on the character of the conservation area, in particular, would not outweigh the provision of housing.”