BOURNEMOUTH has won £2.4million to set up a seafront visitor centre dedicated to reducing plastic waste along the coast.

BCP Council’s plans for the Environmental Innovation Hub could generate 120 jobs through extra spending by visitors, the authority says.

The centre will be on the site of a council waste transfer station at Durley Chine.

It will be funded by a grant announced today from the government’s Coastal Communities Fund.

Early plans are for a building created in part from plastic harvested from the ocean, along with recycled tropical hardwoods. The hub will feature interactive displays, with further interactive “touchpoints” along 10 miles of coastline.

Cllr Lewis Allison, the council’s cabinet member for tourism, said: “The hub is a chance for us to develop an imaginative experience for visitors which will highlight the fragility of our natural environment and will identify solutions and opportunities to inform the ways in which we tackle the climate emergency both locally and nationally.

“Following the council’s declaration of a climate emergency, this project will be a key milestone in helping us to achieve our target of carbon neutrality by 2030 and will help to instil our collective responsibility to protect our treasured coastline.”

More than 1,300 tonnes of waste is removed from the beaches of Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch each year. The council aims to encourage a change in behaviour among the seven million annual visitors to the area.

The hub will include a beach management facility, a waste transfer site, public toilets, a catering kiosk and lifeguard control point.

The council expects the project to generate £6m in extra spending by visitors. There will also be improvements to leisure facilities and improvements to energy use and environmental stewardship.

Jake Berry, the government’s minister for local growth, said: “We have already invested £13m from the Coastal Communities Fund to boost tourism and promote healthy lifestyles in Bournemouth and the town is one of the first to benefit from our £3.6billion Towns Fund.

“This further investment will create 120 local jobs and help ensure the environment is protected for future generations.

“Ensuring our coastal towns have the support they need to thrive is at the heart of this government’s plan to level up every part of the UK.

“Building on our £228m investment into coastal communities, the projects receiving funding today were designed by local people who know best what will bring the biggest benefit to their community.

“Their fantastic ideas demonstrate the raw potential of our coastal towns and will help create good jobs, boost economic growth and improve people’s lives as we leave the EU on October 31.”