TALKS may continue over the damage of Brexit on businesses or the rise of chain restaurants locally, but a self-confessed perennial optimist can only see Bournemouth's future going in one direction.

As owner and founder of Urban Guild, and at the table with key sectors throughout the town, Mark Cribb is in a strong position to assess where Bournemouth is heading.

The Guild now features five businesses, ranging from a farm providing local produce for its restaurants to the hotel which first opened in 2007.

As an independent businessman in a town growing with national chains, Mark says there is still every reason to be backing business in Bournemouth.

"I'm a Bournemouth boy through and through and I really want the town to do well," he said.

"If people don't want to buy my products that's a shame, but we're controlled by the consumer so it is all about what they want.

"In an ideal situation I would like the town to continue this period of really exciting growth.

"If we can focus on the 5G, the fibre city and remove as many barriers as possible for business, with the strong digital sector it's very exciting.

"The university looks like it is going to continue to grow, invest and it seems to have a lot of funding opening up a load of cool buildings and that's great."

"As a tourist destination the council continue to show ambition, with projects like the investment at Pier Approach.

"It's really good they are happy to put money into these sorts of developments."

Millions of visitors continue to come to Bournemouth, primarily over the summer months, highlighting the tourism strength Mr Cribb alludes to.

He says the growing university draw of the town, which is highlighted by the flow of developments in the town centre and at the main Talbot campuses, has a positive knock-on for business.

"What's exciting for people like me in the university growth is the students are here year-round," he said.

"All the students provide business during the winter and all the tourists in the summer.

"That is a great combination for the town."

Mr Cribb opened the Urban Beach hotel 10 years ago with wife Fee, after he launched his Urban Guild vision in 2005 when he returned to his hometown.

As a member of Bournemouth Tourism and Marketing Group, Mr Cribb gets an insight into the other business sectors of the town.

"We are better than so many other towns in the country in the fact that all the necessary groups are sat around the table having a conversation," he adds.

"I'm in one meeting with the University, Coastal BIDs, BH Live who run all the big events, tourism, hotels and restaurants all at the table.

"The fact we have all these groups that talk about the vision for the town is so important."