AN eye-catching rotunda restaurant that has never opened to the public is the subject of a new planning application.

The distinctive glass-fronted extension to the Hermitage Hotel was built around 10 years ago but was the subject of a boundary dispute with Bournemouth council and has never been used.

The situation has since been resolved and the four-star hotel was recently sold to hotelier David Young for around £7.5m.

Now developer and investor Philip Oram, who owned the Hermitage for 21 years before selling to Mr Young, has submitted a planning application seeking permission to use the building as a self-contained restaurant and not solely in association with the hotel.

The application states: "It is considered that the use of the extension as a restaurant will be entirely complementary to the function of the hotel, providing greater choice to the hotel residents as well as bringing more visitors to the site and potential hotel custom.

"It is considered that an independent restaurant use here would contribute significantly to the function of the area as a tourism and evening economy hub - adding to the variety, vitality and viability of the area."

When the sale was announced in July, Mr Young said: "I have been a long time admirer of the Hermitage and am delighted to have secured such a fantastic opportunity that still offers potential for both development and growth.

"Retaining the excellent management structure and team is important to the continuity of what is already a well established and much loved hotel. We have ambitious plans for the Rotunda restaurant which will add another dimension and draw further business to the location."