UNANIMOUS approval has been given for plans to build more than 200 flats around the edge of a Bournemouth car park.

BCP Council’s planning committee gave its backing to the latest scheme for the Richmond Gardens site on Thursday.

Councillors said the development was preferred to the previously-approved student housing scheme and welcomed taking “a chunk” out of the council’s housing shortfall.

Developers Summix RGB Developments Ltd and Sheet Anchor had plans to build more than 600 student flats approved in 2019 after its appeal over the decision of Bournemouth council to refuse them was successful.

The chairman of the now-abolished council’s planning committee, councillor David Kelsey, had described the proposals as “boring, square and dull”.

Despite winning approval, the developers put forward a new proposal in the same year, instead seeking permission to build 211 flats.

These would be spread across four buildings, ranging in height from 12 storeys up to 15 with ground floor commercial space.

“The proposed redevelopment would regenerate the underused, highly sustainable site in central Bournemouth and deliver 211 high-quality homes for private rent, helping to meet an identified need in the town,” a spokesman for the developers said.

BCP Council is thousands of homes short of meeting its government-set target, prompting warnings it may be forced to consider building on more green belt land.

The extra provision of housing was welcomed by the council’s planning committee which agreed unanimously on Tuesday to approve the latest scheme.

Councillor Kelsey, who is now the chairman of BCP Council’s planning committee, said the development was preferable to student housing.

“This does look a lot better and on balance I think I would rather have this amount of residential rather than 600 students,” he said. “That’s no disrespect to students. I think we probably have as much student accommodation as we need at this moment.

“I welcome the extra housing and the fact that it takes a chunk out of our needs and keeps us from nudging towards that green belt line.”

Summix Capital development director Stuart Black said he was "pleased" by the decision and said the scheme would "revitalise" the area.