COUNCIL leaders have pledged to “resurrect” a policy document that sets out the future hopes for Bournemouth town centre.

Deputy leader of BCP Council Cllr Mark Howell intends to head up the development of an updated version of the Bournemouth Town Centre Vision, which was reviewed by Bournemouth Borough Council in February last year.

The Conservative administration of the now abolished borough council signed off on a 55-page document that covered various areas, including what the future town centre should look like, its key values, its key areas, how it would be experienced and how it would be created.

The 2019 update of the vision took over from the initial local authority strategy, which was produced in 2008. Twelve months on, the Unity Alliance, which runs BCP Council, has now confirmed plans to look at the policies again.

Councillor Howell, portfolio holder for regeneration and culture, said the town centre vision had lost its way under the previous administration and council leaders would be “resurrecting” it.

He said it was the local authority’s role to “show leadership” and develop long-term strategies in a “turbulent time” for town centres.

“I will be leading the development of an updated vision,” said Cllr Howell. “With the support and contributions of stakeholders including the Bournemouth Town Centre BID, we intend to develop a strategy to strengthen the town’s identity and enable it to prosper in the future.

“It is a turbulent time for town centres and there are no easy solutions to the challenges they are facing. However, it is the council’s role to show leadership, develop long-term strategies and support the BIDs and other town centre organisations in maintaining the health of the town centre on a day-to-day basis.”

The update of the town centre vision would look at the “bigger picture”, according to Cllr Howell.

He said the work will ensure shorter term interventions marry up with the longer term aspirations.

Councillor Howell added: “We will be inviting key stakeholders to an initial meeting in the next couple of months and anticipate the creation of a project board which will meet on a quarterly basis.”

As reported, Bournemouth’s high street has faced a tough couple of weeks.

Beales recently announced it had gone into administration, nearby Jack Wills and Monsoon closed in January, while Hollywood Fancy Dress and Party Store in Commercial Road is set to close.

Martin Davies, managing director of Rawlins Davy Solicitors and chairman of the Bournemouth Town Centre BID, said he was pleased to be working closely with BCP Council and Cllr Howell on an “absolutely critical” strategy for the future of town centre.

“We all recognise Bournemouth is not alone is facing significant challenges,” said Mr Davies. “Towns and cities up and down the country are in the same situation. But the vision for Bournemouth must deliver real change over a specific period because the need for action is urgent. I think we all agree on that.

“By working together with all stakeholders we can begin to address some of the biggest issues, start to revitalise the town centre and draw up a vision of where we want Bournemouth to go in terms of its economic prosperity, sustainability and position as the country’s premier resort destination.

“From a BID perspective we will be looking to get some the key players around the table, including the retailers, the wider business community, landlords and agents.”