RESIDENTS have offered solutions for the council after it was announced that there was over 50 empty retail units in the town.

Businesses continue to struggle in the area, with many people putting the blame on high rents and business rates.

However, Nick Theodoris, 39, whose wife owns Moni Boutique in the Burlington Arcade, is hoping to meet with BCP Council to find a solution.

“We are in the arcade and are doing relatively well and want to go onto the high street.

“Not many people go into the arcade to shop so we are doing well with a limited footfall of shoppers.

“The state of the town centre is not getting any better. Some of the empty units are massive. They have a basement and a ground floor and an upper floor. You don’t need that much space and can’t afford it.

“Businesses could share that space. Say, we don’t want the basement of the first floor, we can share the unit and the rent.”

Mr Theodoris also suggested a way the council can help with rates.

“The council make so much from speeding fines and car parking charges and don’t offer businesses any support,” he said.

“I believe you (a business) should pay a percentage of what you take. If you make between £10,000 and £15,000, you pay ‘x’ amount and the council funds the balance.

“The more the council supports the more independent businesses will go onto the high street. Then, more rents will be paid, and more rates will be paid. More taxes will be collected and there will be a higher footfall. The council will make more money.”

Mr Theodoris said a meeting involving the council, business owners and Bournemouth BID has been proposed but not yet confirmed.

Echo readers commented suggestions on how to help the town on the Facebook article about the empty retail units.

Jemma Price said: “We need more of an indoor shopping centre, bowling complex and IKEA, update the gardens and crazy golf. Lower parking charges. The place needs to be updated. I choose to go to Southampton as its better shops and indoor shopping complex.”

Tina Endall commented: “Bring back permanent ice rink and things people can do as a family. Go back 30 or 40 years or so and make it retro.”

Ben Smith offered support for the town centre, saying: “Is Bournemouth really faceless? You have a beautiful beach and gardens, state of the art cinema complex with restaurants, luxury hotels, escape rooms, crazy golf, running festival, zip wires, oceanarium and a vast range of shops. The list goes on.”