THE chief executive of development company Fortitudo has written to the new chairman of BCP Council planning committee to ‘open a dialogue’ about the future of the conurbation.

Richard Carr has suggested to Cllr David Kelsey the area needs “denser town centre living.”

In a letter he says: "This will be vital to help ensure vibrancy and sustainability, especially as our towns and cities adapt to survive because of long term trends and of course the devastating impact of coronavirus.

“If they are to thrive on all levels, town centres will need to be remodelled with more people able to live, work and socialise in them.”

But Mr Carr, who has built Fortitudo into a regional developer says the heritage of historic town centres like Christchurch and Poole must be protected.

He believes the construction industry needs a much closer relationship with Local Authorities to aid the Covid-19 recovery and "the planning system needs to engage local construction industry executives to ensure economic development is purposeful and will benefit all residents."

Affordable housing is the key to attracting and retaining large employers, as well as matching supply with demand.

Many affordable housing opportunities are lost by under development of sites particularly in the BCP area where land is in short supply, claims Mr Carr.

And he adds: "It would be refreshing if planning officers adopted a marginal gains approach to planning applications. Think how much extra social housing revenue would be added if the planners asked for an additional floor rather than always removing floors and in turn making developments economically borderline.

"The best use of land, coupled with planning officers identifying that more accommodation can be purposefully added, would see national and local targets being achieved in a more timely and efficient way.

"This would benefit the whole would be a watertight solution for all parties by way of affordable housing, greater disposable income for residents and job creation.

"Ultimately this would result in a more vibrant economy and a more successful BCP conurbation."

Conservative Cllr Kelsey was elected chairman of the planning committee last month, replacing the Green Party's Cllr Simon Bull.

Cllr Kelsey previously served as planning board chairman on Bournemouth Council.