PLANS to convert part of a restaurant on Poole Quay into flats have been refused as developers hit out at criticisms to the scheme.

The proposals at Newfoundland House would see the first floor, which is currently a part of Da Vinci’s Italian Restaurant, converted into three flats.

The site currently has residential units on the second, third and fourth floors.

BCP Council planning officers refused to grant listed building consent for the former warehouses that are Grade II listed, with ‘special architectural and historic interest’.

In the refusal, council officers said: “The applicant failed to provide any information as to how the harm to the designated heritage assets would be offset by public benefit arising from the proposed scheme.”

The council’s conservation report said: “The development will impact the setting of several listed buildings in the immediate area in a detrimental way unless it can be substantially revised.”

It added: “In this case the development does not sustain and enhance the significance of the listed warehouse by proposing a use that is not consistent with its conservation nor make a positive contribution to local character and distinctiveness.”

However, in a response to this report, which set out many of the concerns the local authority had about the plans, developers hit out at the criticisms.

The response said all work that has been and will be done has treated the listed building sympathetically and it disagreed that the scheme was ‘overdevelopment’.

It said developers had ‘requested numerous site meetings’ with conservation and planning officers, ‘to no avail’.

The developer added that the plans would ‘significantly improve the look of the building’ and would be more in keeping with the Quay area.

Officers said the Heritage Statement submitted as part of the proposal ‘does not provide sufficient detail on the physical impacts’ of the plan.

However, the developer said: “I am not sure what else could be included, five architects and planning consultants have contributed to the statement.”

The response concluded: “It is fair to say this building has suffered from neglect over the years and has been somewhat of a problem child, however, the current owner has and is trying to improve the building.

“The commercial kitchen and seating areas on the 1st floor just do not work financially, and as per the Custom House, Harbour Commissioners building and numerous other buildings in the area, the only viable proposition is commercial ground floor with residential above.”

The building has been subject to a number of plans to convert the first floor.

In 2020, plans for four flats were refused, with further plans withdrawn in 2022.