A NEGLECTED square in Poole’s old town centre will be getting a much-needed overhaul to encourage more people to the area.

Maypole Square, close to the historic Guildhall in Market Street, will be re-designed as an attractive leisure space known as Maypole Steps.

Poole council has granted planning permission for the scheme, which features new artwork steps, landscaping, lighting and seating, as well as a new blossoming apple tree evocative of the adjacent New Orchard Street.

The current space is cut off by walls and roads and is largely overlooked, despite being close to the High Street. Residents have also complained of anti-social behaviour in the area.

Poole Quays Forum worked alongside the council to bring the scheme forward. Chair Bill Constance, who submitted the application, said he was “absolutely delighted” the plans had been approved.

“It’s been a long, long job, which started in May 2015 with the consultation.

“The next step is deciding how we’re going to bring it to fruition. At the moment, the area is far from appealing.

“The approved plans will make the area an attractive destination by opening up the vista of the Guildhall and leading people to explore Market Street and Church Street, which is a beautiful part of the town.”

Case officer Helen Harris said the design drew inspiration from the Guildhall, which has an “exceptional stone staircase at the front that provides a grand backdrop for photographs for memorable gatherings”.

“The key site lines to the Guildhall come from the High Street, marking the importance of opening up this space to invite more footfall through the area,” she added.

To complement the Grade II listed Guildhall, the artwork steps will be cast in concrete with the top tread finished in Purbeck Stone. There will also be timber seating and a lighting pole.

“The artwork landmark aspires to achieve the civic quality of the Guildhall and create a space that could host wedding activities as well as everyday activities for the local community,” Ms Harris said.

She added: “The ‘leftover’ nature of the space currently has probably contributed to its air of neglect and its association with anti-social behaviour during the hours of darkness. The general poor quality of the space does not encourage its use by the public and accessibility is limited due to changes in level and the physical barrier of a wall.”