A RANGE of improvements are underway in Christchurch's Priory Quarter as part of a new heritage project.

Benches in Covent Walk and Lower Priory Gardens have already been refurbished, with untidy foliage along the eastern side of Covent Walk cut back by Christchurch Borough Council, as part of the Christchurch Town Centre Strategy.

Further enhancements to take place in the coming weeks include the replacement of litter bins and refurbishment of lighting. Later this spring, works will begin to remove dying trees and prune others so that the viewpoints between the Castle, The Priory and Constable’s House will be revealed.

Other works taking place include the re-surfacing of the Priory Car Park and repairs to some of the crumbling walls in and around the Priory. Later in the year the existing directional signage will be replaced with a more traditional design.

Cllr Trish Jamieson, chairman of the Town Centre Strategy Steering Group, said: “The theme of the Town Centre Strategy is ‘Our Heritage Guides our Future’ and we thought the best place to start was the area around the Priory to ensure our cherished heritage assets have an appropriate setting and the area is more appealing to residents and visitors alike.”

Christchurch Borough Council is working closely with The Priory and other landowners, with a view to enhancing the bowling green with the possibility of marking the line of the Castle Moat and adding lighting.

There is also a project underway to refurbish the Blue Plaques in the town and re-launch the popular Millenium Trail, as well as projects in Druitt Gardens to improve the signage and interpretation of the site and its history.

Cllr Jamieson added: “We hope that over time people will begin to notice a positive difference and that all of these individual projects will add up to something which has a bigger impact.

"There are other elements of the strategy which we need to look at, so the work won’t stop here, and we will continue to involve local people and groups as we have been doing.”