IS this building in Bournemouth town centre even more ugly than the Imax?

The £50million West Central leisure complex– set to include 10 cinema screens and various internationally branded restaurants – is nearing completion.

Judge for yourself: the IMAX in pictures

But concerns have been raised that the Exeter Road-based development, the former home of the town’s bus station and previously an NCP car park, is overshadowing the Lower Gardens and blocking the once attractive views from Terrace Road.

Westbourne resident Sally Wilton’s letter to the Echo last week describing the structure as “making the Imax cinema look like a design by Sir Christopher Wren” prompted a swell of support.

The seafront-based Imax, which drew repeated complaints that it was unsightly and blocked the sea views across Poole Bay, was demolished in 2013 just 11 years after it opened.

It was once named the "worst building in England" on Channel Four show Demolition, and Ms Wilton's concerns that history is repeating itself at West Central are shared by others, with sympathy for them expressed by town centre ward councillor Bob Chapman.

Cllr Chapman told the Echo he was inclined to “sadly agree” with Ms Wilton’s assessment.

“We always knew it was going to be big, but it is somewhat overwhelming,” said Cllr Chapman.

“We’ve always been a bit sceptical about it and the council did of course try to negotiate the purchase of the site.

“And many years ago under different control it was offered to the council, so we are more or less obliged to accept it, and hope it is successful.

“But it’s a pity it couldn’t have been made in a more modest form.”

The Echo asked residents walking through the Lower Gardens last week for their opinions, and received only negative responses about the building’s appearance.

Malcolm Perkins, 73, has lived in the area for 25 years and said: “It’s a monstrosity. We have noticed it getting bigger and bigger over the last few months and now it resembles a concrete jungle.”

Daniel Hardy, 55, said: "It's like they've decided to dump Tower Park in the middle of Bournemouth. It's a blotch on the landscape and a real shame for anyone who remembers how beautiful this part of town used to be."

And 38-year-old Julie Turner added: "The sad thing about this is that it will probably succeed financially and draw lots of people in, so I would be surprised if it ended up being knocked down. But having a Nandos and a big cinema won't stop it from being an eyesore."

The leisure complex is being built for developer Licet and Legal & General, with tenants already lined up including Handmade Burger, Coast to Coast, Prezzo, Ask Italian and TGI Fridays.

Bournemouth council's last ditch attempt to stop the project going ahead failed, and construction work began on the site in January 2014.

Licet did not respond to the Daily Echo's invitation to defend their new building's design.