AFTER two failed attempts, plans to redevelop the former Odeon cinema building in Bournemouth into flats have been approved.

Developer Libra Homes has been given planning permission to convert and extend the building to house 64 flats as well as commercial space fronting Westover Road.

Despite some opposition, BCP Council said the latest outline scheme, put forward following two refused applications, was an “acceptable intervention”.

The site – and the nearby ABC cinema building – was bought by Libra Homes for more than £6 million in 2017, following construction of the BH2 complex.

In 2017 two planning applications were submitted for the Odeon plot, the first for 101 flats and the second for 84.

Both were refused by Bournemouth council due to concerns about their scale.

The decision on the latter scheme was appealed but the planning inspector sided with the council’s judgment.

Last year the scaled-down proposal for 64 flats was lodged.

Speaking at the time, a spokesman for the developer said the converted building would contribute towards regeneration of the surrounding area.

"We have produced a scheme which retains historic features of the building whilst enhancing the buildings presence on both Hinton road and Westover Road and removes the current unpleasant asbestos clad warehouse roof, replacing it with an elegant extension that compliments the existing design,” they said.

A £70,000 contribution was proposed towards improving cycling and pedestrian provision in the vicinity, however no affordable housing was included.

The application attracted six letters of objection, including from the Theatres’ Trust and Bournemouth Civic Society.

James Weir, the society’s heritage officer, said many aspects of the scheme were “welcome” but more needed to be done to justify the conversion of the building.

Despite this, the application has now been approved under delegated powers.

In his report approving the application, planning manager Simon Gould said the benefits of the proposals now outweighed “any perceived negatives or harm”.

“The proposals subject of the application now represents an acceptable intervention to this non-designated heritage asset proportionate to its significance,” he said.

“The proposals will safeguard the long-term retention of the principal facades whilst securing much needed residential accommodation in Bournemouth where there is an acknowledged need.”

As the application was only for outline permission, separate approval will be needed for the final details of the scheme before work can start.