July 18, 2018

Poole Council begin search to procure development partner


Poole Borough Council’s cabinet have given the green light to procure a development partner for its £170m town centre regeneration plans, a Built Environment Networking conference has heard.

Julian McLaughlin, Head of Growth & Infrastructure at the Borough of Poole Council, revealed that the decision on the Town Centre North project has been taken the night before our event. The council has been working with consultants Deloitte and architects BDP on the project, which incorporates 400 new homes, a hotel, swimming pool, commercial office space and a replacement bus station.

Under the council’s timetable for the project, public consultation is scheduled to take place this summer and the development partner is due to be procured next year with construction kicking off in 2020.

McLaughlin said the council has received ‘quite strong’ response to its soft market testing of the project, which involves the development of a number of its own sites and has benefited from £6m of support through the government’s housing infrastructure fund.

Work is also under way on a revamp of Poole’s Dolphin Shopping Centre, which is owned by Legal & General. The interior of the south coast town’s main mall is currently being refreshed with the arrival of new retailers, with improvements to the public realm also set to be completed by the summer of next year. A nine-screen cinema and a new food offer are also in the pipeline for the shopping centre.

Philip Broadhead, Cabinet Member for Economic Growth at Bournemouth Council, told the event that the authority is working with BT on plans to become one of the world’s first cities to roll out 5G coverage. The initiative to testbed the next generation of mobile phone networks could have ‘an even greater impact of Bournemouth’s profile than the promotion of the town’s football club to the Premier League’.

As part of its joint venture with Morgan Sindall the council confirmed that they have submitted plans to redevelop the former Winter Gardens Hotel for a mix of retail, leisure space and 350 homes. The scheme will not only generate income for the council but it’s a ‘vital’ element in regenerating an ‘unloved part of the town’.

Broadhead added that the council was ‘always on the look-out’ for opportunities to buy income generating assets, like its recent acquisition of the freehold on the town’s Mallard Road retail park, in order to make up for the ongoing loss of central government grants.

Bill Cotton, Executive Director of Economy and Environment at Bournemouth Council, said that other schemes in the Bournemouth Development Company’s joint venture pipeline included a residential scheme on a former city centre cinema site and plans for 44 market flats at Durley Road, which are due to be resubmitted later this year after the original designs were rejected by the authority’s planning committee.

He added that the council has also appointed Zaha Hadid Architects to draw up designs for a new cultural centre to replace car parking in the Pavilion Gardens, and they are also funding the construction of a new hotel to help maintain the Bournemouth International Centre’s place in the ‘top league’ of UK conference destinations.

In addition, Cotton outlined the council’s plans to bring forward a number of small development sites on the sea front including the former Happy Land amusement park, which it is looking to market for redevelopment as a hotel.

James Gibson Fleming, Chair of the Land and Property Committee at the Talbot Village Trust, said Bournemouth had ideal conditions for encouraging entrepreneurialism, including a skilled workforce, a temperate climate, good schools and easy access to London’s capital markets.

The 21st Century Talbot Project, which is a partnership between the trust and the two town’s local authorities and universities, is planning to create an enterprise hub including small business incubation units on its site midway between Bournemouth and Poole. The trust is also planning new university buildings, including a new drawing school.

Lastly Michael Bibrin, Director of Fresh Lime Developments, outlined his company’s plans to develop a new 131-bedroom Malmaison boutique hotel, including a sky bar and residential flats in Bournemouth.

For more details on events visit the Built Environment Networking website.

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