A RECREATION ground in Poole is to be appropriated so that a café can be built on it.

BCP Council has said an income-generating business is needed to subsidise wider improvements to the pavilion at Whitecliff Recreation Ground but a covenant restricts commercial use of the land.

And following failed attempts to have it removed, its cabinet has now given the green light for the land to be appropriated instead.

In 2015, the “very poor” condition of the pavilion prompted Poole council to begin looking at ways to enhance it with a café helping fund new changing rooms and public toilets.

Planning permission was granted in October 2017 and BCP Council has already started a tendering process for a company to take on the running of the centre.

It has said a commercial venture was necessary to subsidise the estimated £13,000-a-year running costs of the pavilion.

But negotiations with Canford Estate, which handed the land over into local authority ownership in 1917, to remove a covenant restricting commercial ventures failed.

The estate had demanded compensation be provided for any value lost to nearby homes, a request the council said was “unusual”.

At its meeting on Wednesday, the council’s cabinet was asked to give the green light for the land to be appropriated, allowing it to build a café by reclassifying its use and avoid indemnity.

“Without appropriation this may limit or generate no interest from the market,” a report published ahead of the meeting said. “If we fail to find an operator for the facility, the council will retain financial liability for the changing rooms and public toilets which require significant investment.”

However, the use of this power does limit the scale of the café to a “service for park users” rather than a wider business, which councillor Sandra Moore described as “a pity”.

Despite this, cabinet members unanimously approved the approach of appropriating the land when they met on Wednesday.

They did, however, require that the cabinet member for environment, councillor Felicity Rice, as well as ward councillors, are consulted before a final contract to run the facility is awarded.