MAJOR plans to transform a central part of Christchurch with more than 130 homes and extensive development have been unveiled.

Developer Aster Homes has submitted its plans for the former Christchurch police station and magistrates court site in Bargates.

And it includes 131 homes, 39 sheltered accommodation units, “flexible” commercial and community space which could include a museum, a new link road between Barrack Road and Bargates, and public open space.

The plans would see the demolition of the magistrates court, police station, Goose and Timber pub and numbers 23 and 41 Barrack Road.

It would also lead to the loss of the council owned pit site car park.

The police station building has been boarded up over the past few months due to a rise in anti-social behaviour and vandalism.

The proposal comes months after a consultation with the public and key members of the community.

Significant changes were made to the scheme following the consultation, including the retention of 15 public car parking spaces, a reduction in road design, more courtyard parking and the focus of retail exclusively on the frontage to the Fountain roundabout.

Bournemouth Echo:

The plans suggest larger buildings will front the Fountain roundabout, Bargates and Barrack Road, with internal courtyard spaces created inside the development.

And changes will be made to Barrack Road, widening the hatched reserve on the A35 from 1.7m to 3m to allow for full width right-turn bays. There will also be three new pedestrian crossing facilities installed.

Two Puffin crossings will be installed on the A35 Barrack Road, near the entrance to the current Pit Site car park.

A pedestrian island is also proposed near the main residential access on the A35 Barrack Road.

The planning statement says: “These improvements will help not only to improve highway safety for pedestrians crossing these roads but are also a physical measure that will help to make walking a more attractive option for residents.”

Bournemouth Echo:

It is a key aim of the developer to avoid a “car-led development”.

“Movement priority will need to be focused on pedestrians who will be placed at the top of the hierarchy,” the statement says.

It also says 53 of the housing units would be ‘affordable’, with ‘a mix that is closely attuned to local needs’.

The full planning application, which people can comment on until later this month, is being handled by Savills, the agent for Aster.

Significant provision is also made for bespoke elderly accommodation, which could help larger family accommodation become available elsewhere, the application says.

They say the presence of a substantial number of new residents will add to the vibrancy of the town, with the development offering “substantial visual enhancement over the current, substantially underused and dilapidated site”.