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Boscombe misses out on government fund to create shops

Bournemouth Echo: Caroline Read of Scribe Tattoo Caroline Read of Scribe Tattoo

Boscombe has missed out on money from a Mary Portas-fronted government fund to create a modern “Golden Mile” of shops to Pokesdown station.

The cash was supposed to help reinvigorate the area by making it an arts and culture quarter. The team missed out on the £100,000 grant, but pledged to carry on with their ambitious plans.

Caroline Read, from Scribe Tattoo and the Pokesdown Collective, told the Echo: “We want the Camden or Notting Hill feeling, where people expect excitement and something going on all the time. I’m not that worried on missing out because we are steaming ahead with our plans for events anyway.”

The government announced 12 winning bids yesterday. Boscombe will be automatically go into a second round of bids.

The application envisages an area buzzing with independent shops, cafes, and a vibrant street life. Plans include rickshaw rides from the beach, an annual film festival and a permanent theatre and music space in the precinct.

If Boscombe had won, the council would have contributed another £100,000. The hope was to get a further £25,000 from landlords and £120,000 from the Coastal Business Improvement District to add to the pot.

Lucy Thomas of the Sovereign Centre said: “Whether we got the money or not the commitment is still there. What’s been so exciting is that through the process we have come together and we have been cracking on anyway.”

Other plans included a high street computer database and a partnership deal to stop landlords leaving shops empty.

The government created the scheme after retail expert Mary Portas carried out a nationwide high street review.

Channel 4 is filming a documentary about it and visited Boscombe before the announcement. The council and community groups are already working on public events and regeneration in the area.

Sally Turner, the council’s Boscombe regeneration officer, said: “We will continue to drive some of our initiatives forward regardless of this outcome.”

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