THE £3million makeover of a Christchurch shopping centre has been completed.

The Saxon Square shopping centre has undergone major refurbishment work, which has included installing new paving, creating a seating area throughout the complex and transforming an empty building, previously unused for 20 years, into a new hotel.

President of Christchurch Chamber of Trade, Stephen Bowden, said the regeneration will be essential for attracting visitors to the area.

“The centre was starting to look dark and dated but it is now fresh and welcoming for shoppers,” he added.

“The centre is also operating at full capacity for the first time in some years which is great for the town as a diverse range of business is key to attracting shoppers.”

Bryan Taylor, the centre’s manager, said he thinks the paving will improve accessibility for shoppers and the new seating will encourage people to relax and enjoy their time there.

He added: “It has been a challenging project and we would like to thank shoppers and traders for their support throughout.

“Saxon Square is very much at the heart of the community of Christchurch and we hope people continue to support and enjoy the new-look centre for years to come.”

Leader of Christchurch council, Cllr Ray Nottage, said the redevelopment is good news for the town.

He said: “Following complex legal negotiations by our officers and the help of our MP, a building which had lain empty for more than 20 years is now being brought back into use as a hotel to the benefit of local traders.

“Saxon Square is now much more open and welcoming and is already attracting more businesses and shoppers.”

A celebration to mark the project’s completion, including live music and children’s activities, will take place at the centre between 10am and 4pm on Saturday, July 26.