THE car park of a Christchurch pub could be redeveloped into houses and flats if new plans are approved.

Amirez Ltd has applied to BCP Council for permission to build four homes and three flats next to the Smugglers’ Run in Purewell.

A statement submitted with its application says the pub is “not reliant on the car park for its successful operation”.

Lodged at the end of last month, the proposals put forward would see a terrace of four houses and three flats and four parking spaces built on the car park.

The flats would all be one-bedroom while half the houses will be two-bedroom and the remainder will have three bedrooms.

The statement, submitted on behalf of the developer, says there is an “identified need” for smaller homes in the area and that the design is “sympathetic” to the character of the area.

Until last year, the pub was named Ye Olde Starre Inne.

“The development would see the loss of the unsympathetic signage and overgrown weeds that currently detract from the appearance of the conservation area and it would also result in a net gain in greenery through soft landscaping,” it says.

“The scheme has been carefully conceived to ensure a positive relationship with neighbouring buildings, including the adjacent listed pub by retaining separation and stepped heights.”

It adds that the car park is not necessary to make the pub financially viable as a business.

A letter written in support of the application has been submitted by two neighbours of the site who said it is “not desirable to preserve or protect the car park”.

“The changes are a massive improvement on that particular plot of land and transformative to the Purewell area as a whole,” they said. “The proposed development creates a good first impression of the Purewell area to visitors entering from the west.

“The current concrete car park serves no purpose in the preservation of architecture and history of Purewell. It has no character and is of a displeasing appearance.”

However, Jim White, who lives nearby said Christchurch “deserves a higher quality and less dense scheme”.

“This application tries to cram far too much onto a small plot and if approved would establish a low-quality precedent,” he said.

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