A PLANNING application for the “ambitious” rebuild of a Mudeford sandbank café gutted by fire almost 18 months ago has been submitted.

The former Beach House café building had to be demolished following the November 2018 blaze with BCP Council having a legal obligation to replace it within two years.

And despite concerns from Mudeford Sandbank Beach Hut Association, it has now submitted plans outlining its intention to construct a larger, “more up-to-date” facility.

The project was considered by councillors in January when approval was given for funding of just over £1 million for it.

A report published at the time said the new building would “deliver improved visitor experience” and allow the council’s tenant – Macemade – to scale up its operations, subsequently increasing the rent charged.

But the plans drew concerns from the beach hut association which said the increased size would have a “negative environmental impact” on the sensitive site.

Its chairman, Stephen Barratt, said he did not oppose the rebuild of the café, however the proposals would put “significant additional pressure on the local community”.

Councillors agreed to pursue the project regardless but said representatives of the association would be involved in the design of the new building.

FinThe planning application has now been submitted with the council’s Lymington-based architect PAD studio saying it had drawn inspiration from neighbouring beach huts for the replacement café.

“The [former] building was generally unarticulated and appeared at odds with the more varied, numerous and distinctive forms of the beach huts surrounding the Café and dispersed along the waterfront – unfitting for a prominent site with great potential,” its statement says.

“This project seeks to seize the opportunity to develop a new improved offer; sensitive to social and economic conditions and a new highly sustainable, architectural proposal which truly reflects the context and spirit of this unique place.”

It adds that the new scheme would make better use of the site, removing the need for “cluttered” outbuildings.

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