A ‘VITAL’ public right of way through the Dolphin Shopping Centre in Poole is set to be re-opened in the evenings once refurbishment works have been completed.

The centre has been closed overnight for a number of months while the floors have been renovated. It has meant the route between the High Street and the bus station via the shopping centre has been inaccessible from 6pm each evening.

However, the works are due to be completed, and the doors of the centre re-opened in the evenings, by the end of October.

Poole resident James Mills is one of those who has been inconvenienced by the centre shutting its doors in the evenings.

In email correspondence to the shopping centre’s administrator, which he shared with the Daily Echo, he said the pedestrian route through the Dolphin Shopping Centre has been a “public right of way since Roman times” and is a “vital public thoroughfare”.

The centre has faced delays in completing the floor refurbishment work, which started earlier this year. It was originally due to re-open doors in the evenings around the end of July but pushed the date back to October 31.

John Grinnell, centre manager at the Dolphin Shopping Centre, said: “Due to the ongoing refurbishment works at the Dolphin Shopping Centre, it has been necessary to close the doors in the evening. During the refurbishment, the doors to the centre have been closed from 6pm and re-opened the following morning.

“Notices are clearly displayed on the centre’s doors, redirecting pedestrians to a different route in order to get to the bus station.

“We are currently renovating the floors and it is not safe to let the public through while the work takes place overnight. We anticipate that the doors will be open throughout the night again by the end of October.

“We apologise for any inconvenience caused but the safety of our customers is our priority at this time, and we will continue to leave the signage on display to redirect customers to an alternative route during the refurbishment process.”

An 18-month programme of investment is under way at the centre and includes a refresh of the mall’s interior, as well as improvements to Falkland Square and Kingland Crescent, and the redevelopment of the former Argos building into a nine-screen Empire cinema with four restaurants.