Thousands of objections to £250m flats plan at Sandbanks
THE residents of Sandbanks are steeling for a battle with developers over plans to replace a historic hotel with a "soulless" block of flats.
Almost 5,000 letters of objection have been lodged against the £250million development which would see the Haven Hotel at the entrance to Poole Harbour bulldozed.
The 141-year-old building is where engineer Guglielmo Marconi established the world's first wireless communications.
Under the plans, it would be replaced with a six-storey block of 119 luxury apartments.
It has been announced that BCP Council will decide on the planning application in the coming months.
This has prompted more than 1,700 fresh letters of objection in under a week.
The surge of opposition was prompted after a campaign group produced 10,000 leaflets which were distributed locally to highlight the issue.
Save Sandbanks, which boasts over 500 members, has also hired lawyers and set up a website and social media accounts to derail the plans.
The planning application was first submitted in 2017 and has since been revised, although campaigners say it is 'essentially the same'.
David Morley, chairman of Save Sandbanks, said: "The application was filed four years ago and things have been grinding away since then.
"It has been through changes but essentially the proposal remains the same - to knock down the Haven Hotel and replace it with a block of flats.
"It is part of a larger plan to demolish the Sandbanks Hotel and Harbour Heights Hotel and redevelop them as hotels.
"But it is Haven Hotel element of the proposal which is the most controversial.
"We have learnt that the proposal is likely to come before the planning committee in the coming months, although we don't know this for sure.
"As we are getting closer to a decision, we've gone out to the public again to draw people's attention to the development, as most people would have forgotten about it after four years.
"We had 10,000 leaflets delivered by the Post Office to households and since then 1,776 objections have been filed.
"There were already 3,000 letters of objection before that so I think this shows the strength of community feeling.
"Something really significant will be lost from Sandbanks if this goes through."
Of the plans to knock down the Haven Hotel, he has previously said: "Sydney Harbour has the iconic Opera House, Poole Harbour gets a block of flats.
"The first sight for millions of visitors would be this out of scale, soulless tower block on the beautiful face of Poole Harbour."
Objections have been lodged by the RSPB over the impact the new buildings will have on bird migration and the Environment Agency due to an inadequate flood risk assessment for the hotel site.
If approved, as well as the Haven Hotel becoming flats, the Sandbanks Hotel would be redeveloped as a new five star 185-bedroom hotel and the Harbour Heights would become a 38-apartment hotel and spa.
The plans have been submitted on behalf of the owner of the three hotels, FJB Hotels.
Sandbanks famous residents include former football manager Graeme Souness and computer magnate Sir Peter Ogden.