FURIOUS residents have said they do not want a hotel which “acts as a community hub” to be knocked down. 

The Elstead Hotel in Knyverton Road, Bournemouth, is used by many East Cliff and Springbourne residents as a leisure centre. 

But plans lodged by Harry Redknapp’s company Pierfront Developments would see it being knocked down and replaced with an art deco block of 59 apartments with a residents’ gym and cinema. 

Residents fear this would have a detrimental effect on their health, with many using the hotel’s existing facility as a place to socialise and keep fit. 

Bournemouth Echo: Andrew RogersAndrew Rogers (Image: Daily Echo)

Andrew Rogers, who has autism, pays £29 per month for membership of the leisure facilities and says the hotel accepts his condition. 

The 46-year-old said: “A lot of people come here and use the leisure aspect of it for anxiety relief. I’m autistic and a number of people use the pool. 

“I feel lots of places are unaccepting of conditions such as autism, but we can all come here and we all know each other and accept each other.” 

Tina Thompson has been using the pool for around 10 years as relief for a knee injury, after the doctor told her she needs to use it regularly. 

The 67-year-old said: “It’s a health club for facility and it’s a nice little community that we do have here.

Bournemouth Echo: Residents protest against Elstead Hotel demolition

Bournemouth Echo: Elstead Hotel in Knyverton Road

“If this was to be demolished, we would have to go to Stokewood and it’s more busy over there. Plus, I can just walk to this one whereas I'd have to drive to another one. 

“The other pools in the hotels around here are not suitable sizes. 

Mark Elkins, of East Cliff and Springbourne Residents Group, said: “The council has been approving too many homes and it's becoming overcrowded now. 

“Demolishing and rebuilding this will contribute to a lot of CO2 and if it would cease to be a hotel, the implications would be massive."

Bournemouth Echo: Mark ElkinsMark Elkins (Image: Daily Echo)

John-Paul Hey, 37, added: “As a resident, this is used as a community hub, especially for people with conditions. 

“I came down here because I wanted to show my support – it would be a loss to the community, a safe place for people with autism and I would echo what Andrew said.” 

The plans will be put before BCP Council’s planing committee on Thursday, February 15 after it was brought in by ward councillor Sara Armstrong. 

She said it will be a "huge loss" and that the application hasn't considered the needs of the community or the legacy it will leave behind.

Cllr Armstrong added: "I am hearing from residents that they feel like this is a done deal, that they've had little say and they feel a real sense of injustice, unfairness and loss.

"As well as the job losses, the closure of the hotel will result in a massive loss of a much needed sport and leisure facility that is used by vulnerable people in particular families of children with disabilities because it is local, safe and reasonably priced. There are no other facilities quite like it in the ward."

She added: "You will have people literally in an 'ivory tower' looking down on the surrounding hotels and accommodation that currently provide vital emergency accommodation for people who are struggling and in need."

In their planning statement, planners Chapman Lily said the scheme has been “carefully conceived to maintain a good relationship with neighbouring properties”. 

They also described the current hotel building as “far from good quality” and that, despite some survival of elements of an earlier building, is not of architectural or historic significance.