CONTROVERSIAL plans to convert a Westbourne shop into a restaurant have split residents and traders down the middle.

A trader who currently runs a furniture shop in the listed Westbourne Arcade wants to fulfil his "long-held ambition" of running a Turkish restaurant.

He is seeking planning permission to change the use of the premises but his proposals have sparked large numbers of both objections and support.

Supporters claim a restaurant will bring the arcade to life while those concerned about the plans fear there will be increased noise and disturbance in the evenings.

The application will go before Bournemouth's planning board, which will be chaired by Cllr David Kelsey, on Monday, with a recommendation that permission is granted.

Planning officer Tom Hubbard said the proposal would retain an active shop front and would be in keeping with the retail area.

He said conditions requiring the restaurant to close at 10pm and prohibiting the use of outdoor seating would overcome fears over noise.

But the application has sparked 28 letters of objection from people who disagree.

Dave Charles, who has lived in the arcade since 1984, said a closure time of 6pm would be more appropriate. He said the arcade acted "like an echo chamber" and said: "We have had to put up with far more noise since the opening of Lavish the cinema come coffee shop at number 14 and would have objected to that if we had known that it was going to be open all hours."

And Dorothy Greenwood, who lives above the premises, said: "I can hear people talking and walking in there now as it is as a shop, imagine the noise of a full restaurant.

"Also we have lost enough shops in the arcade to cafes and restaurants, let's draw a line."

But Clive Bedward, the owner of Woodley's Shoes in Poole Road, is one of 21 people to write in support of the plans.

He said: "I am of the opinion that a restaurant in the arcade can only help to increase footfall in the area and will contribute to a good mix of shops and eateries in Westbourne.

"The fact that this is an independent restaurant also adds to what makes Westbourne so unique compared with most other surrounding areas.

"Independent shops and restaurants contribute to the village feel of Westbourne and add significant appeal in attracting visitors to the area."