CHANGES to the approved redevelopment of the Poole Pottery site on Poole Quay, aimed at making the scheme “attractive” to would-be buyers, have been approved.

Despite concerns from council planning officers about the proposal to fill in gaps between the roof gables on the new building to facilitate a residents’ gym, BCP Council’s planning committee approved the scheme on Thursday.

Councillors said the new flat roof of the 64-flat block would not have a negative impact on the character of the Poole Quay area.

The council approved the demolition of the Poole Pottery buildings and the replacement flats in July last year and building work has already started.

But following concerns about the viability of the scheme, developer Jacob Carr Homes proposed replacing three flats with the gym and the relocation of the flats into the roof of the building by filling in the gaps between the peaked gables originally proposed.

Speaking on behalf of the developer at Thursday’s meeting, Steve Tapscott, of Chapman Lily Planning, said the change was needed to make the flats attractive to buyers.

“Building work has already commenced but the market is competitive and fast-moving,” he said. “Whilst the new flats will prove very attractive to first time buyers and young professionals, purchasers know of multiple new-build schemes with residents’ gyms.

“Such features are becoming commonplace, indeed they have a direct correlation with sales rates.

“To ensure this development is competitive and attractive, the applicant wishes to provide new residents with a gym.”

Council planning manager Doug Evans said it was not unusual to see such provision withing larger blocks of flats.

But he said the change to the flat roof design made it “overstep the mark” and recommended the application be refused, although he said it was a “finely-balanced” judgment.

But councillors said that while the flat roof did not match many of the buildings on the quay, it did fit in with those directly neighbouring the site.

“I think we’re making a bit too much out of the gable end thing,” councillor Stephen Bartlett said. “It does in fact match some of the design aspects of the buildings in the immediate locality.

“It does, in a way, preserve some of the aspects of the conservation area and I’m pretty happy with the amendments.”

The committee then agreed to approve the changes to the scheme.