THE manager of the organisation that represents businesses in Poole town centre has said she would not recommend new independent shops open in the high street.

Poole Business Improvement District (BID)’s Ailsa Wilson said it would be “dishonest” to do so when “significant” issues had still yet to be resolved.

Speaking at Monday’s meeting of BCP Council’s scrutiny board, she called on people to bring back “positivity” to the town.

“The issues that we see manifesting themselves on the high street are as a result of what’s going on in Poole in general,” she said. “As a community, it has suffered from systemic and prolonged underinvestment.

“To use the bricks and mortar on the high street is a prime example: it looks tired, tatty and unloved because it hasn’t had any substantial investment since 1983.”

She said Poole had issues with aggressive begging and rough sleeping but that the main problem was the bus station.

“The bus station is one of the key barriers to the negative perception of Poole,” she added. “It’s a reoccurring theme and has been for decades.

“We are at the point where week-on-week the risk of a serious incident of anti-social behaviour could lead to a fatality.

Bournemouth Echo:

“We are pushing very hard and working with BCP Council and the police to try and ease that situation but I can’t fix this – I can only lobby to make sure that the people that can fix this do take that responsibility seriously.”

She said issues of anti-social behaviour at the bus station businesses withdraw from the town and that while issues remained unresolved she would "not recommend that vulnerable independent businesses open in the high street".

Earlier this month, Yellow Buses announced it would no longer serve the facility.

Mark Howell said: “It’s correct to say that Poole has been left uninvested in for so long and so many people have a negative in-built view of it themselves they can’t believe it can get better.

“One of the things about the masterplan is the purpose is to build that belief and get stakeholders working together to deliver our plan.

“I don’t think Poole town centre is as bad as it’s being portrayed – anti-social behaviour at the bus station has come down in the last few years – but I want Poole to have a route plan for how it moves forward.”