BITTER opposition is growing to the proposed demolition of one of the few decorative tiled pubs left in Poole.

Demolition of the Edwardian green-tiled former Swan Inn in Old Orchard is part of development plans by the Skelton Group to build 96 apartments and seven commercial units.

The faade, which has lettering advertising Marston's Poole Ales, and Poole Pottery tiles including a swan panel, is considered to be of national importance by the Tiles and Architectural Ceramics Society.

The Victorian Society is strongly opposed to the destruction of the locally listed building, rebuilt by Bournemouth architect CT Miles in 1906 on a site thought to have been an alehouse since 1789.

"The Swan Inn adds valuable historic colour and character to Poole," said Dr Kathryn Ferry, the society's Southern and Welsh architectural adviser.

"It is in good condition and would lend itself to an imaginative re-use.

"It would be a great loss if the one remaining building worthy of conservation in this part of the conservation area were allowed to be demolished."

Objectors include the Society of Poole Men, who have called on the council to preserve this piece of Poole's heritage.

Resident Brian Galpin says this unique building, which became the Flying Boat pub and later an art gallery, must not be "wantonly destroyed".

Cllr Phil Eades has "red carded" the application, to ensure it will go before the planning committee.

"The tiled frontage of the Swan Inn is one of only three left in Poole the others being the Poole Arms on the Quay and Bankes Bistro in Penn Hill," he said.

"Tiles are an important part of Poole's heritage and the contribution made by Carter's Tiles (later Poole Pottery) should not be allowed to be lost among wanton destruction of part of Poole's history by property developers," he added.

The developer's application includes a "statement of significance" by planning consultants CgMs Ltd which concludes: "It is our professional opinion that the Swan Inn is of little historic or architectural interest".

It is not acceptable in planning terms to say a building should be retained merely because it is "old" and it did not meet the criteria for statutory listing, it adds.