DEMOLISH the Pavilion, build a bus station on the Winter Gardens and turn the Town Hall into a hotel – those are among the suggestions made by one of Bournemouth’s most controversial characters as to how the town should be developed.
Dave Wells, who founded Dorset’s biggest private lettings company, said he felt free to speak out now he was taking a back seat at DWP Housing Partnership.
He said he believed Bournemouth Council leader John Beesley was generally taking the town in the right direction but there were areas where the council could be bolder.
He said there was no good reason for demolishing the Imax when it could have been turned into “the best casino on the south coast” and he said the council should drop plans to try and buy the NCP car park at Exeter Road.
“We’re going to spend millions CPOing that,” he said. “The idea of putting a bus station there is a horrible, horrible thought.”
Instead he said the Winter Gardens site was perfect for a bus station and car park, as it was bigger and already in council ownership.
He praised Cllr Beesley for pulling the plug on Trevor Osborne’s Pavilion Gardens plans and said the council should at some point consider demolishing the Pavilion.
Wells' views on the town's development
- On the decision to end the contract with Trevor Osborne. "Brilliant. I’ve been saying it for the last three years. What are we doing with Trevor Osborne? Who’s ever heard of Trevor Osborne developments? I’ve been doing this for 45 to 50 years and I’ve never heard of him.”
- On demolishing the Imax: “It would have been a lovely, lovely casino – the best casino on the south coast. You couldn’t have gone wrong with it. It would have brought more middle-aged and older people into Bournemouth with money in their pockets.
- On the Pavilion and adjacent car park: “For the minute I’d leave it. But at some time in the forseeable future we’ve got to take a view on the Pavilion. I see a case for demolishing the Pavilion. What can we build there? A nice purpose-built hotel, an all-weather attraction, something inside.”
- On the West Central leisure complex planned for Exeter Road. “Brilliant. It will have lovely views looking out over the Gardens. It’s not big enough for a bus station. Put something nice there.”
- On the Winter Gardens: “Put your bus station on the Winter Gardens, It’s a much, much bigger site and the council already owns it. You would have to lower the ground levels but that’s easy enough and you could then connect the site to the Triangle, regenerating Purbeck Road and the surrounding area.”
- On the town hall: “It would break my heart if you wanted to pull the town hall down. That would be total absolute sacrilege but the town hall can’t operate as a town hall. The front of the town hall is south facing, it gets sun all day. That’s a lovely place for hotel rooms.”