MORE secondary school places and care homes are among Bournemouth's priorities for the next three years.

The council's capital strategy and action plan are due to go before members for approval later this month. In total, £245m is already "identified" for capital investment in the borough.

The plan lists "key activities for 2018-21" including "bringing forward more Town Centre Vision schemes" such as commercial and residential developments on the Winter Gardens site, and on the Bath Road, St Stephen's Road and Durley Road car parks.

Each of these schemes is being progressed by the Bournemouth Development Company, a council partnership with Morgan Sindall Investments. The council says all the lost public car parking provision will be replaced.

The action plan lists "working with partners to deliver more secondary school places" and building "new dementia care homes" among its goals.

Councillor Philip Broadhead, cabinet member for economic development, told members at the latest cabinet meeting that 2018 would be an "exciting" year for the borough.

"In the town centre almost £300 million has been invested in the last three or four years," he said.

Other priorities are investment in property around Bournemouth to develop a regular rental income, acquiring land to provide employment space such as at Wessex Fields, and improving the seafront.

"We are purchasing suitable property assets via the investment strategy as well," said Cllr Broadhead.

"This is something which has been very successful to date. Something we will look to continue in future.

"We are investing in the future and the next generation will have the benefits of those assets."

Such investment nationwide has drawn concern from the Government that councils may be undertaking risky purchases due to inexperience in the commercial market, however Bournemouth council says it has robust risk mitigation measures in place.

Cllr Broadhead also hailed the borough's preparation for '5G' internet through the prior installation of advanced cables, meaning the borough is likely to be "the first place in the world" to trial the high speed technology.

The strategy and the rest of the council's budget will go before the full council on Wednesday, February 21, for final approval.