Kate Ryan, Strategic Director, Borough of Poole, (BoP) spoke about the ambitious plans the Council has for the regeneration of Poole Town Centre.

She was speaking at a meeting of the Ambassadors of Dorset Chamber of Commerce & Industry and said this is a key priority. A planning framework has been agreed and there is cross-party working to try and ensure the success of the project.

Legal & General and BoP reached agreement in 2017 to restructure the lease unlocking a £26 million programme of investment for the Dolphin Shopping Centre. This delivers an internal mall refresh, as well as improvements to the open-air Falkland Square and Kingland Crescent including work to the public realm and shop facades. BoP has also invested £7M upgrading town centre car parks. New retailers in 2018 including H&M and JD Sports and Empire cinema signed up for a 9 screen cinema with a new food offer.

Ambitious plans are also being proposed for Town Centre North. These include a leisure-based development including the option for the re-provisioning of the Dolphin swimming pool. A commercial development that would have the potential to accommodate the civic estate. Relocating and making improvements to the bus station. Over 400 new homes and a hotel. Kingland Road is to be remodelled to reduce traffic dominance & enhance the pedestrian environment. The plans also provide for a new public space connecting the Lighthouse Theatre to the new facilities and the shopping centre.

The Harbour-side in Poole is not without its challenges but Kate pointed out the Council has invested in the iconic Twin Sails Bridge and is delivering £23m town side access improvements and significant development has taken place. The former power station brownfield site, however, does face a significant viability challenge. The BoP, working with the Homes and Communities Agency and landowners secured £5m Growth Deal funding for infrastructure through the Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership. An outline planning application has now been received for up to 850 homes with the programme anticipating start on site by 2019/20.

Ian Cambrook of Pidela Consulting Limited and a Chamber Ambassador commented: “Development plans for the Borough of Poole are impressive. These ambitious plans include retail and housing development on the Old Power Station site, improving the Dolphin Shopping Centre offer, a new bus station, and enhancing public space areas for the benefit of the local community. Poole urgently needs these improvements, if it is to thrive and prosper in the future.”