DEMOLITION has started at the Winter Gardens site in Bournemouth town centre, with a much-loved Italian restaurant as well as a nightclub flattened.

Valentino restaurant and the former office block at Keystone House which housed The Lost Paradise nightclub have now been bulldozed as demolition teams start work on knocking down the three main sites at Exeter Road.

Demolition works began earlier this month and are being carried out by VINCI Construction UK.

Bournemouth Echo: What's left of the remaining buildings in BournemouthWhat's left of the remaining buildings in Bournemouth

Bournemouth Development Company (BDC) has confirmed the demolition is ‘going to plan’ and that this stage of the project should be complete by the new year.

BDC, the joint venture partnership between BCP Council and Muse Developments, is demolishing the site to make way for the new Winter Gardens scheme.

Planning permission has already been granted for the £150 million Winter Gardens development which will see more than 350 flats, 600 parking spaces and new leisure and retail space.

It is proposed that the flats would be privately rented through its company Seascape and it is forecast these would bring in more than £1.7 million a year.

Bournemouth Echo: What's left at the site of Valentino's restaurant in BournemouthWhat's left at the site of Valentino's restaurant in Bournemouth

The Daily Echo previously reported that BDC were reviewing some elements of the scheme - which they secured planning for in 2019 - to ensure it meets the needs of the community.

BDC said they are not yet ready to release any updates on their plans at this time but will do so in due course.

Tweaks to the approved scheme are expected to be required though the plans state construction could start in the second half of 2022.

The Winter Gardens development is just one in a number of major schemes to redevelop Bournemouth town centre.

Earlier this year we reported projects worth hundreds of millions of pounds planned through the part BCP Council-owned Bournemouth Development Company were undergoing tweaks in response to property demands which have changed over the last year.