BCP Council was forced to hand over nearly £23,000 to a property developer following an appeal on a planning application it rejected. 

The authority gave £22,864.80 to Vivir Estates following the planning inspectorate’s decision to uphold an appeal for the application at Southbourne Crossroads.

Vivir Estates launched two appeals against the local authority for a scheme refused by the planning committee in March 2022 and another which was not determined. 

Both appeals were granted by the planning inspectorate, seeing the developer secure full planning permission for the council-owned site. 

Bournemouth Echo: Drone image of Southbourne Crossroads car parkDrone image of Southbourne Crossroads car park (Image: Liz Bates)

Now, Vivir Estates is expected to start building four apartment blocks comprising 27 flats on the clifftop car park.

The decision to approve the application came despite a number of objections to the scheme, a petition signed by more than 1,500 people and criticism from residents, councillors and Bournemouth East MP Tobias Ellwood. 

According to the planning inspectorate, Appeal A was the only appeal to award costs to the developer – but only “partly". 

A report by inspector Banjamin Webb said one of BCP Council’s reasons for refusal – a loss of car parking space – contradicted an earlier resolution by cabinet that decided it was surplus and suitable for sale. 

He said: “The council’s abrupt change in stance was also starkly at odds with its subsequent formal engagement with the applicant to produce a scheme of development for the site. 

“It furthermore lacked any clear basis in evidence relating to change in levels of use, or which demonstrated that unacceptable harm would arise.” 

It added the second reason for refusal on the grounds of the development’s impact on the surrounding area was “not clearly substantiated at appeal”. 

And finally the third reason to refuse the apartments on its impact on neighbour amenity, “as at least partly based on evidence”.  Mr Webb found “no unacceptable harm would arise to neighbour amenity”. 

It remains unclear how much the car park is to be sold for to the developer and the council won’t reveal that information yet for commercial reasons. 

An “exempt minute” from a cabinet meeting in June 2020 and published on BCP Council’s website said there was a revised price for the car park of £3.4m “plus uplift if a development of more than 27,200ft sq” is secured. 

This may not reflect the actual price the car park was sold for. 

There were no legal fees to be paid by the council from the two appeals.