BEALES’ old town centre building is set to be transformed into flats, as town hall planners give developers the go-ahead. 

The abandoned department store in Old Christchurch Road, Bournemouth town centre, has been unoccupied since 2020 when the company went bust. 

In November 2022, developer East Cliff Property and its agent Terence O'Rourke lodged plans to BCP Council to breathe new life into the building. 

Now approved by the council, work is expected to begin soon to convert the interior into 130 flats with a gym and pool across the basement to upper ground floor. 

CGI of how Beales will lookCGI of how Beales will look (Image: tor&co)

As well as this, there will be three hybrid-use shops across the basement and upper ground floor and 42 parking spaces on subterranean levels, accessed by two car lifts. 

Agent tor&co said the project will not only address Bournemouth’s “significant” housing need but will “revitalise” the historic department store. 

A spokesman said: “[We] provided a comprehensive range of services for the private client, including architecture, planning, heritage, landscape architecture, and viability expertise.  

“We worked collaboratively with BCP Council and consultees to navigate the complex constraints including the close proximity to multiple designated and non-designated heritage assets, including the Grade I listed St Peter’s Church. 

“The consented scheme retains the existing building’s core structure and introduces many design features which nod to the historic design. The development was praised by the case officer for its efforts to preserve the non-designated heritage asset. 

(Image: Daily Echo)

(Image: Daily Echo)

“This development will not only help to address Bournemouth's significant housing need but also revitalise the building through the re-instatement of commercial uses at ground floor, animating the building throughout the daytime and into the evening.  

“The substantial public benefits were considered by officers to outweigh the harm identified to heritage assets.” 

The 13-storey structure will be named Beale Place, continuing the memory of the previous landmark. 

BCP Council’s case officer Gareth Ball said: “The proposal would provide significant benefits to the locality and plan area, not least the substantial contribution of residential units in the context of the council being unable to demonstrate a five-year housing land supply.” 

Meanwhile, Beales is the second department store in Bournemouth that is getting some new life, with work continuing on House of Fraser to turn it into student accommodation and shops on the ground floor.