INVESTMENT in a new Bournemouth town centre apartment block could be halted by the council – because the authority considers it would be “harmful to heathland”. 

Vivir Properties intends to fill empty council-owned land opposite the Hilton Hotel in Upper Terrace Road with a six storey block of 31 flats. 

Comprising nine one-bedroom flats and 22 two-bedroom flats, the flats would not come with any car parking spaces but enough to park 59 bicycles. 

However, BCP Council case officer Darren Henry said in a report councillors should reject the proposals because of the building’s “poor design mass, and scale”. 

He added the rooftop terrace would “dominate its position visually and introduces blank, poorly thought out frontages along both Upper Terrace Road and Terrace Road”. 

Bournemouth Echo:

Mr Henry added the proposed town centre building “would be harmful to designated Dorset Heathlands Special Protection Area”. 

The report acknowledges there is a shortfall in housing in Bournemouth and the apartments would benefit the short-term economy, such as the building trade, and contribute to increase in footfall to the town centre during the day and night. 

Fifteen objections were made against the application, with residents citing concerns over a lack of parking and the number of children who could move in with “no space risking the chance of anti-social behaviour”. 

Another added: "Whilst I appreciate that there is a mix of old and new in the road, the row of beautiful listed terraced townhouses on this side of the road are currently in absolute uniform and are iconic to the town reminiscent of London’s Portobello Road.” 

Bournemouth Echo:

Formerly the Terrace Gardens Hotel, it was demolished more than 20 years ago and in recent years has been used as a private car park. Right now, it’s vacant. 

The planning agent for the applicant, Darryl Howells Planning Consultancy, recently filed a complaint to the council over the planning department. 

In a letter to BCP Council’s chief executive signed by three other consultancies, they said there is an “intense negativity” towards applications by the council. 

They added officers “are doing everything they can to derail the application”, adding it is “easier [for officers] to say ‘no’ than ‘yes’”.