PLANS to demolish a Bournemouth hotel and replace it with a block of flats have been rejected by BCP Council.

Domesticus Ltd has been refused permission to redevelop the West Cliff Inn site in West Cliff Road, despite revising its proposal to include holiday lets in a bid to overcome concerns.

Council planning officer Tom Hubbard said the town centre was an “acceptable” location for new housing but that the negatives of the scheme did not outweigh the extra provision.

Submitted in 2019, the application originally proposed demolishing the hotel to make way for a four-storey block of 27 flats with basement parking.

Since then, the developer revised its proposals to have 13 of the flats designated as self-catered holiday lets to try and overcome concerns about the loss of hotel accommodation.

In a statement submitted with the application, it said the hotel was no longer viable as a business, justifying its redevelopment.

“The hotel has experienced trends of reducing occupancy coupled with reduced income over a number of years and this would indicate that the existing hotel use is no longer sustainable,” it said.

But council planning officer Tom Hubbard said there was a lack of evidence to prove this and said there was “concern” the addition of holiday lets had not been supported by “realistic” business plans.

“A viability statement has been submitted but it does not go through in detail the relevant issues and tests required by [planning policy],” he said. “The Covid-19 pandemic has caused issues with closure for long periods but there are signs that there would be strong demand in [the] summer.”

In November, the council also refused plans to redevelop the neighbouring Chequers hotel site.

Concerns about the plans for the West Cliff Inn site were also raised by council arboricultural officers who said the impact on protected trees had been “underestimated”.

Two protected trees could also not be found on a site visit, with no permission given for their removal.

Refusing the application, Mr Hubbard also raised issues with both the size of the proposed replacement building and its design.

“Although the town centre is considered an acceptable location for additional residential intensification, the harm identified in terms of the loss of the tourism accommodation and the impact on the character of the conservation area in particular would not outweigh the contribution to local housing need,” his report rejecting the scheme said.