BOSCOMBE residents discussed ideas for the regeneration of the area at the first meeting of the resurrected Boscombe Forum on Saturday morning.

Despite the chilly conditions in the Wellspring Centre in Haviland Road, where the boiler was broken, nearly 100 people showed up to listen to the speakers, who included Sue Bickler from Boscombe Regeneration Partnership, and to air their views.

Ideas suggested by residents included encouraging more design businesses into Boscombe, and increasing rates for absent shop owners. Others spoke in defence of the nearby Bournemouth Centre for Community Arts, which recently lost its bid to be designated a community asset.

Attendees also heard an update on crime statistics from local Inspector Chris Weeks, who attributed an 82 per cent increase in sexual offences over the past year to a recent crackdown on kerb crawlers, which has seen convictions climb rapidly.

Forum chairman John Browne said: “I’m pleased with how it went, although I would like to apologise for the temperature.

“Boscombe gets a bad name from a minority in our community, so it is good to see the majority coming together to do something about it, and get the good news about the area out there.”

He said future meetings may focus more on specific issues, such as housing and employment. The next takes place on March 9, at King’s Park Junior School.