Around £220 million of public and private sector funding is being injected into Bournemouth’s growing local economy to encourage inward investment and create a vibrant, dynamic setting for conferences, exhibitions and corporate events.
It will boost the town’s appeal to tourists looking for an up-market, relaxed destination for weekend breaks and holidays. And create more opportunities for employment and start-up businesses.
Bournemouth’s event venues, retail sector, accommodation, transport, entertainment and food and drink outlets are all getting a share.
Under construction. Bournemouth’s £220 million facelift
Six major construction projects involving a combined investment of over £170 million are about to give an extra stylish, vibrant feel to Bournemouth town centre and the academic centres of Bournemouth University and Arts University Bournemouth. The investment demonstrates confidence in the town as a major competitor in national and international markets for business and consumer tourism.
Well underway is the £85 million project to build two new Hilton hotels, more than 40 prestige apartments and 170 parking spaces, situated between the town square and Bournemouth International Centre and within minutes of all the town’s major attractions. The accommodation will be perfectly situated for event organisers and delegates attending conferences and exhibitions at the nearby Bournemouth International Centre.
A three star, 110-bedroom Hampton hotel, will open in May 2015, followed by a four star, 172-bedroom Hilton in Winter 2015, complete with swimming pool and spa/fitness club, business conference and meeting facilities, a ballroom and a cafe. Topping the whole thing off is a huge Sky Bar with spectacular panoramic views from the Isle of Wight to Swanage and all around the town. Work began on the high profile Terrace Mount site in September 2013, in a development spearheaded by London-based THAT group, which includes Ted Baker founder Ray Kelvin among its backers.
Ted Baker’s inimitable branded style is reflected throughout the hotel’s decor and furnishings. THAT and the international design practice, Scott Brownrigg, have given due recognition to Bournemouth’s innovative university talent with a competition to find the most fitting interior for this iconic meeting place. Master’s Degree student, Thomas Hardie, won the job to develop his design and more with the Scott Brownrigg design practice.
A £12.3 million project with council partner Bournemouth Development Company (BDC) is going ahead to build a brand new residential and commercial complex on the site of the old, council-owned, Leyton Mount car park.
The Citrus Building, comprising 64 affordable apartments and 604 square metres of A3 commercial space will be completed in 2015. Situated next to Horseshoe Common and fronting the Old Christchurch Road, the development will revitalise daytime income and activity in an area better known for its nightlife. An area of public highway stops at the front of the A3 commercial unit to accommodate a large raised terrace for alfresco refreshments.
Meanwhile, work to transform the eastern side of Bournemouth’s Pier Approach began in October 2014 as part of Bournemouth Council’s 20-year vision to develop a world-class seafront. Pier Approach, due to complete by Spring 2015, is among the first sites to benefit from its Seafront Strategy, after planning consent was granted in July 2014.
Councillor Lawrence Williams, Cabinet Member for Tourism, Leisure and Culture said: “The majority of our visitors form their first impressions of the seafront when they enter via the Gardens and Pier Approach, so the future presentation of this space is vital if we are to inspire a new generation to visit Bournemouth.”
Visitors to Pier Approach will enjoy water play features and impressive landscaping improvements in keeping with the history and geology of the area, with a landmark visitor information kiosk at the entrance. The area will be a vibrant and engaging space for visitors to enjoy day and night. New, low energy lighting will encourage visitors to stay after dark, and create an inviting atmosphere with colourful displays. It will also make an outstanding setting for the Bournemouth Air, Wheels and Arts by the Sea festivals, and other outdoor events.
The humble beach hut is also being transformed into a must-have holiday experience with 18 new ‘super huts’ already built and sold at Alum Chine. Work to build overnight stay beach huts at Southbourne will start this Autumn, subject to securing planning consent, where holidaymakers will be able to stay right next door to a Blue Flag beach. The huts come with a shower, toilet, fully equipped kitchen and wide patio doors and a deck. The huts will also have access to wifi and their own parking space, with one adapted for people with disabilities. Work to build the huts is planned to begin late Autumn 2014 and complete by Spring 2015.
Bournemouth Council is kick-starting the project with £4 million to fund the first phase, with further phases funded from external grants and private sector investment.
West Central Leisure Scheme Development.
A £50 million, all-weather leisure scheme incorporating cinemas, shops and restaurants, will create 300 jobs at the West Central cinema and entertainment venue close to the town’s Lower Gardens and seafront. It is due to include restaurants, shops and a 2,000-seat, 10-screen Odeon cinema, replacing the the two Odeon-owned cinemas in Bournemouth’s Westover Road. Andrew Ferguson, head of leisure at Legal & General Property, says: “Without doubt this is the most exciting cinema and restaurant-led leisure development that the UK has seen in the past 10 years and we are proud to act as its forward funding partner. Chris Dymond of scheme developer Licet Holdings adds: “With the continued growth in short breaks and staycations, this will be another major draw to attract visitors and we will look forward to receiving our first customers in late 2016.”
A new £22 million building due to complete in 2016 will transform an old car park in a four-storey, glass-fronted facility at Bournemouth University’s Talbot Campus on Wallisdown Road. It will house academic and support facilities, including seminar rooms and lecture theatres, which the university will open to residents and local businesses.
Arts University of Bournemouth.
In time for the start of the new 2014-15 academic year, 378 students have taken up residence in a £23 million town centre development purpose-built for Arts University Bournemouth (AUB). The three Madeira Road halls of residence comprise 61 separate flats for small groups of students plus four studio apartments. The project has been delivered by the Bournemouth Development Company (BDC), a public-private partnership between Bournemouth Borough Council and Morgan Sindall Investments.