WORK on a new £50 million “leisure hub” in Bournemouth town centre will finally get under way in February next year.

The Nautilus development will create around 300 new jobs and provide the town with a nine-screen cinema, 14 restaurants and 350 car parking spaces.

The scheme on the Bath Road North car park next to the Pavilion theatre has been on the cards for years. It was originally intended to house a casino because became cinema-led at the request of councillors and residents. Planning permission and an anchor tenant in Odeon Cinemas have been secured.

The announcement by the Trevor Osborne Property Group that plans for the major project are “surging ahead” comes after the refusal of planning consent for the Winter Gardens site.

It also follows in the wake of the council’s decision to make a Compulsory Purchase Order to acquire the West Central site, signalling an end to competition between developers to attract restaurant tenants.

Trevor Osborne told the Daily Echo: “The journey to deliver this visionary project has been a long one, with many obstacles set in its path. Close co-operative working with the council remains the key to making this project a success, to the benefit of Bournemouth.”

The long-awaited Nautilus scheme will adjoin the theatre and Pavilion South West Dance with car parking concealed below the building.

Pictures of the development on the Osborne Group website suggest it will be considerably higher than the Imax.

Developers say they have more applications to take up leases than restaurants planned for the site with agreements in hand to fill the majority of eateries.

Once the scheme is under way, the lease for the signature restaurant at the top of the spire will be the subject of a competition to select “a high-profile restaurateur.”