A COSMETIC skin clinic could move from Canford Cliffs to a struggling Bournemouth town centre street as part of its expansion plans.

The owners of River Aesthetics, which has branches in Lymington and London, have put forward plans to set up a new clinic in Albert Road.

Doctors Charlotte Woodward and Victoria Manning have applied to BCP Council for permission to use the large new unit at The Old Sorting Office as a clinic and shop.

Through their company Black Cat Estates, they are seeking permission for the building to be allowed to be used for a new “clinic; and cosmetic medicine and skin care retailer”.

“The clinic element will offer a range of cosmetics and wellness treatments in up to five treatment rooms,” a statement submitted on its half by planning agent Pure Town Planning says.

“[This] use effectively enables an element of retailing to carry on in this location which is otherwise unlikely to be as desirable as a pure retail location – particularly at a time when even primary retail frontage has a significant vacancy.”

Most of the shop units in Albert Road are now empty and last month the remaining business owners called on the council to give them more support.

Keith McNicol, the managing director of Richmond Classics, criticised the 2016 decision to pedestrianise the street.

But Pure Town Planning said the new clinic could help revitalise it.

“It is clear that Albert Road, as a minor side road with limited pedestrian traffic, is suffering as a shopping destination with a very high vacancy rate,” its statement adds.

“It is considered that the proposed use would help draw footfall along the road, attracting pedestrians to venture off Old Christchurch Road and thereby offering better prospects for the other retail units in Albert Road.”

The statement adds it is “highly likely” that the use as a clinic and shop would create more jobs than if the unit was used solely for retail purposes.

River Aesthetics operations manager Lisa McKinnon said the plans to relocate had been more than a year in the making.

“Bournemouth wasn’t our first choice but the building here – still in a discrete location for our clients – was what we were looking for.

“It’s taken a long time for us to get to this point but we needed to find the right place to allow us expand the business.”

Should the application be approved, the clinic could be open later this year.