BOSCOMBE’S empty Argos store is due to be revamped as drop-in centre for Dorset Police and Youth Services, if plans are approved.
The store, in Christchurch Road opposite the Crescent, has been derelict since Argos moved out in January 2012 after 38 years of trading, and has been described as a local eye-sore.
The proposals will see the site host offices and interview rooms for Dorset Police Safer Neighbourhood Team officers, alongside the Boscombe Regeneration Office relocated from Roumelia Lane.
Also, young people will be able to visit a café style youth centre for help and advice, and to take advantage of new facilities – including a training room and activities developed by youth workers and teenagers at sites elsewhere in Bournemouth.
Councillor Jane Kelly, cabinet member for regeneration, said: “The former Argos site is in a prime location in Boscombe and if plans are approved it will provide a great central location for these key services who are all working towards improving Boscombe as a place to live, work and visit.
“The site has remained empty for some time now and so it will have a really positive impact to see this space being used.”
If permission is granted, services could move into the building during the winter.
At the time of the closure there were plans to demolish the building – which dates from 1890 – and build a new retail/residential unit with 37 flats above, however these were turned down by council planners due to the building’s architectural merits.
The planned re-development is part of the council’s efforts to regenerate the Crescent area, which include new landscaping on the green and road alterations as part of the Three Towns Travel initiative.
“We are proud that our relationships with the local authority and other agencies are both positive and focused on improving our local community,” said Inspector Chris Weeks of Dorset Police.
“Relocating our neighbourhood policing team into the former Argos building will place us in a high profile and accessible location rather than the ‘off the beaten track’ residential location of our current police station.”