PROPOSALS to redevelop a former Coastguard site in Christchurch have been described as "the most important location in a generation being considered for residential development."

Objecting Highcliffe and Walkford ward councillor Nigel Brooks said he is "immensely saddened" that BCP Council's planning committee have received a recommendation to approve the plans for the site at Steamer Point.

Plans to build a mix of 26 homes and flats on the site are set to be approved by the committee on Thursday, March 18.

Cllr Brooks said: "The sensitivity of this former historical scientific and research facility, and more recently the Coastguard Agency site, is underlined by previous development schemes being rejected by Christchurch Planners and then, in 2014, consent being granted on appeal for 26 individual houses.

"To now ask for a four-storey block of flats on the most prominent part of the site in this location is totally wrong and inappropriate both on policy grounds and aesthetics.

"Saved policy ENV9 makes this very clear and includes 'proposals should not detract from the visual dominance of the cliffs being subservient to them'. The flats will be visually dominant along the whole coastline as far as Hengistbury Head, which is another protected local nature reserve.

"The applicant should be content with the appeal decision for 26 individual houses rather than spoiling the amenity of this part of the coastline with a four-storey block of flats.

"I would ask you to reject this application. Should the applicant decide to appeal, this will allow a planning inspector to consider the application thoroughly, having to regard the planning history of the site including the departure from policies to correctly protect the coastline."

The scheme has attracted significant opposition with 152 people filing letters of objection.

A final decision will be made by the planning committee when it meets on Thursday.