A BOSCOMBE pub which closed after noise complaints will be converted into 19 flats.

The Portman Hotel scheme attracted opposition from residents behind the Boscombe and Pokesdown Neighbourhood Plan, who argued the proposed flats would be “cheek-by-jowl”.

However council planning officers agreed with developer Richard Carr’s assessment that the proposed flats “all meet new Government standards”.

Mr Carr had previously warned vandals could set the pub on fire if it continued to be left derelict.

The Cherry Orchard Estates (Portman) Ltd scheme, revised down from an earlier plan for 23 flats, includes a detached two-bedroom house on the site in Ashley Road, and the demolition of some later extensions to the former hotel.

The new scheme includes 10 one-bed flats and nine two-bed flats.

Bournemouth Civic Society praised the retention of the pub saying the appearance of the site “could certainly be improved by the proposed alterations”, although it warned that “the already excessive number of rather small, poky flats in Boscombe” would “worsen the social pressures” in the area.

A report by council planning officer Sophie Edwards states that “if a new hotel was built on the land then its viability would be in doubt” and “there is no longer a demand for the pub use”.

It says: “Overall, the development as now proposed is considered acceptable, having regard to the impact it would have on the character and appearance of this area.

“Amendments have been agreed with the applicant to provide flats of an acceptable size and a more appropriate mix of units, to reflect the aims of the Bournemouth Local Plan: Core Strategy and the aspirations of the emerging Boscombe and Pokesdown Neighbourhood Plan.”

Mr Carr wrote to the council earlier this year after concerns were raised over the proximity of the ground floor flats to the road, pointing out that the same was true for the scheme granted permission at the nearby Royal British Legion.

Last week, he said: “We are pleased permission has been granted. This building will now be preserved for a lot longer than I’m going to be around, and I think there will be huge demand for these units, which are good sustainable homes that will benefit people in Boscombe.

“We are looking forward to seeing it finished. There is a still a lot of work to do.”

The pub has been mired in controversy in recent years with complaints about loud parties going on late into the night, and a job advert issued online for a ‘topless barmaid’.

In 2016 the pub was served with a Noise Abatement Notice by the council and was temporarily closed.

It came several months after the topless barmaid row, which saw the brewery claim it was a ‘tongue-in-cheek” job advert on Facebook, but the then-licensee said she was seeking to run a strip club.

Source: Daily Echo