NOW you see it – soon you won’t? As the bid to rid Bournemouth of its hated IMAX building continues, potential developers are being issued with a strict set of instructions for the site.

And these include a condition that the building – either the current one or a replacement – must be reduced in height to restore some sea views.

The planning brief for the key seafront site, which will go before cabinet on Wednesday, specifies that the maximum height for the main part of the building must not exceed 18 metres above sea level.

This means that aspects of the building will need to be reduced by between 6.4m and 8.5m.

Developers are being advised they can create additional height at the front of the building but are warned they will need to “fully justify” this requirement. They are also being urged to make best use of the roof space and use landscaping to “soften” the general appearance of the building.

Bournemouth council is leaving it to bidders to decide whether they would prefer to demolish the controversial Waterfront building completely, or improve what’s there.

But it is insistent that the remodelled or replacement building must be something “the town can be proud of”.

Following a public consultation exercise in March, Bournemouth council claimed that a mix of various different uses – including a water park, tropical gardens, interactive arts, museum and entertainment and a performing arts space – would prove most popular.

The publication of the draft planning brief sparked a total of 118 responses, with many people calling for a total re-build rather than alterations.

One comment said: “The brief seems to allow for adaptation of the existing building – a massive adaptation would be required to disguise this much hated eyesore.” And another said that complete demolition was necessary because reducing the height would still leave an “ugly, low quality building”.