Business to lose £20m contract and new jobs after expansion refused, claims owner

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Elcock Associates
Elcock Associates wanted to build a new two-storey office block at the back of its site in The Grove

THE director of a Christchurch surveying company has said his business will lose a multi-million-pound contract and six new jobs after its expansion proposal was rejected.

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BCP Council’s planning committee unanimously refuses permission for Elcock Associates’ plans to build a new two-storey office block at the back of its site in The Grove, writes Josh Wright of the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

The firm wanted to convert the rear of its parking area into extra office space last year after the firm was awarded a £20m contract to work on a major development in Bournemouth.

Director Adam Elcock said he could not specify which scheme the contract related to but described it as “one of the largest residential schemes in the town”.

“In order to service this new contract, we needed to hire more staff and to do that we needed more space,” he said after the meeting.

“Because the council has allowed the conversion of so many commercial buildings into residential there is nowhere else for us to go – I have been looking for years.

“We have worked very hard and spent £30,000-£40,000 on recruitment of six new surveyors all of whom were ready to join us and now they can’t.”

Its application for the new building had been recommended for approval by council planning officer Kevin Chilvers.

In his report he said the “positive economic benefits” of the development outweighed the potential resulting increase in on-street parking.

Despite this, the committee unanimously agreed to refuse permission.

Speaking at the meeting, Cllr Ann Stribley said: “There are two businesses in their building – if they need more space why have they let out part of their offices?

“The business has staff who will be coming and going and clients who will be visiting, the reduction to five parking spaces is totally inadequate.”

She also warned that allowing the development could set a “precedent” for more non-residential buildings in the area.

In an outburst immediately after the decision was approved, Mr Elcock asked whether councillors were “proud of themselves” for stopping his business’ expansion.

Speaking later he said he was “sure” the decision would be overturned at appeal saying the scheme had been backed by two separate planning consultants as well as Mr Chilvers.

“We will get the decision on appeal with all costs and that is something which will cost the taxpayer thousands.

“We let one room to chiropractors – even if we ended the lease it would not be enough space for what we need.

“I’m massively frustrated with the whole situation – no one wins from this decision. If we can’t get this through then we will have to look at moving somewhere else.”

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