A SECOND attempt has been made to win planning permission to convert an iconic Westbourne cinema building into a gym and offices.

BCP Council rejected Currentasset’s first application for the Grand in November saying there had been “no convincing argument” for it.

The firm has now tweaked its designs in a bid to overcome the concerns of planning officers and has warned the building could deteriorate unless it is brought back into use.

“The cinema use died away more than 40 years ago and it has been sustained by bingo for almost as long as it was a cinema,” a statement submitted with the latest application says. “A new use is now very important for the building and the parade of shops that are adjoined to it.

“Reuse is necessary to sustain the building and there will be wider public economic and social benefit in reusing it as soon as possible, before prolonged vacancy leads to deterioration through lack of use.”

Built as a cinema in 1922, the Poole Road building was converted for use as a bingo hall in 1977 before it was sold in January 2018.

Visitor numbers had dropped to about a quarter of what they had been at their peak.

Currentasset is hoping to secure permission to bring the building back into use with a ground floor gym and a mezzanine housing office space.

Its first scheme was refused due to concerns about the loss of a community facility and “unsympathetic alterations”.

In response, the latest application moves the mezzanine away from existing walls “allowing a continuing appreciation of the auditorium”.

“The proposals are a well-considered ‘light touch’ design solution for the beneficial refurbishment and reuse of a heritage building,” its statement adds. “This will ensure the building is protected and preserved into the long term.”

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