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Fears over future of 140-year-old shop due to £12m Horseshoe Common complex
BOSSES at one of Bournemouth’s oldest shops fear an uncertain future because of changes to the roads around the town’s Horseshoe Common.
GE Bridge, which supplies medical and mobility equipment, has been in the town since 1876.
But its owners believe business could be hit by an improvement scheme being carried out in conjunction with the development of the £12million Citrus Building nearby.
The development involves reclaiming a large part of the road for pedestrians.
The shop has lost its goods vehicle access, which is being replaced with a smaller loading bay on the opposite side of the road.
Nearby parking for people with disabilities is being replaced with two spaces in front of the shop.
Group manager James Rhodes said of the scheme: “It’s going to look lovely but the extent of it was a bit of a shock. It was going to limit the access to our shop.”
He was concerned that the loading bay and disabled parking would not be available for their intended users.
“We know it’s going to be used for parking by estate agents and whoever else is here,” he said.
He added: “We’ve been in the town for 140 years nearly. The last thing we want is to move out of the town centre but if access is that limited then we’d have no choice but to consider what to do.”
But Cllr Michael Filer, ward councillor and Bournemouth council’s cabinet member for transport, defended the scheme.
He said the project would keep most of the parking that runs along the top 100 yards of Old Christchurch Road.
“That’s still going to continue except at the very top immediately outside Bridge’s,” he said.
“As far as Bridge’s are concerned, for them to have disabled bays right outside their front door couldn’t be better.
“The one purpose of this current work at Horseshoe Common is to promote the area. The last thing we want for the shops at the top of Old Christchurch Road is to do anything that’s not going to improve it.
“If anything there are going to be more facilities for his particular shop.
“The business has been part of the town for over 100 years and we want to it to continue and be supported and helped.”
GE Bridge was founded as a pharmacy. Its original owner, George Edward Bridge, became the town’s mayor in 1907-09 and sponsored Bournemouth’s first air show in 1910.
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