AMBITIOUS plans have now been submitted for a new, £7million Bistro on the Beach project in Southbourne.

BCP Council has applied for planning permission for a new restaurant, kiosk and public facilities as well as 17 “premium” overnight lodges.

A design and access statement submitted as part of the proposals said: “The redevelopment of the site is part of the BCP seafront strategy including the ambition to regenerate Southbourne by adding a year-round visitor attraction and landmark building which will act as a visitor focal point which responds to the growth in domestic tourism.

“This also includes providing a larger and more modern dining experience within the building as well as superior beach facilities to better accommodate both those using the beach and the premium short-stay lodges on the award winning and best beach in the UK.

“The key aim of this project is to re-purpose the current building and provide luxury coastal accommodation whilst maintaining the types of facilities which are currently at the location.

“It also aims to improve the visual aspect of the site and make use of the views which can be seen towards Poole Bay and Hengistbury Head.”

The statement said the building would be three storeys tall making it lower than the clifftop.

It added: “Due to the site location and form, there are two directions of access into the building: Firstly there is access into the north facade via one of two small bridges that meet the pedestrian ramp that links Warren Edge Car Park and the promenade. Secondly there is access along the south facade from the promenade. Once within the building there is an internal lift that services all floors.”

The plans were put to the public at an online consultation in September where Andrew Emery, of the council’s destination development team, told a public meeting the existing building was “hanging by a thread” and said the project would be on exactly the same footprint.

He added that existing tenants could not be offered alternative sites in Southbourne but were offered sites elsewhere.

Ann Gerrard, chair of the Bournemouth Beach Huts Association, said tenants should wait to see where they are being offered a spot and said it was a “difficult situation”.