BEALES’ flagship Bournemouth store is on the market for at least £11million – apparently dashing any hope of keeping it open.

The boss of the department store has accused BCP Council of making it “impossible” to save the shop in the town where it was founded in 1881.

Agents marketing the store say a new owner “could create a new landmark development” in the town centre.

As revealed last week, the building’s owner, AEW UK Core Property Fund, had proposed to turn the top floors of the building into flats in an effort to make the shop viable. But the idea appears to have been dropped after talks with council planners.

Beales went into administration last month and the Bournemouth store is one of 12 which are earmarked for closure over the coming seven weeks.

Tony Brown, owner and chief executive of Beales, said: “I fully understand why the landlord has put the building on the market.

“Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be joined-up thinking between the council and its planning department. The hurdles put in the way of the landlord will speed up the closure of the store and make it impossible to maintain Beales in Bournemouth.”

He said he had held “constructive talks” with the council’s chief executive but that the planning department had “placed too many hurdles in the way”.

A sales document reveals that Beales has a lease on the site until January 2023 at a rent of £911,000.

In recent times, Beales has been negotiating to reduce rates and keep its shops open – but business rates add another £440,000 a year to its overheads.

Real estate agency TT&G says: “The tenant has recently gone into administration, which may provide an opportunity to negotiate an early surrender of the lease.”

It adds: “The administration of the tenant may provide a purchaser with a chance to reposition the existing property to create a new landmark development in the heart of Bournemouth town centre, subject to gaining the necessary consents.

“The scheme could accommodate a number of different uses including residential, serviced apartment, student accommodation, hotel, apart-hotel, retail, leisure and office uses, subject to planning.”

A BCP council statement said: “Members of the council planning department met with the landlord to proactively look for solutions to support the proposals set out. Normal planning considerations were discussed and we were keen to continue working collaboratively with the applicant to find a positive outcome. However, it is disappointing to hear that this view is not shared with the applicant.”