THE chair of Poole’s business improvement district has slapped down the organisation’s own manager after she said she would not advise independent shops to set up in the high street.

He said the BID’s board “totally disagrees” with the negative views expressed to a council committee.

BID manager Ailsa Wilson had said she would not recommend new independent shops open in the high street.

She said it would be “dishonest” to do so when “significant” issues had still yet to be resolved.

BID chair John Grinnell has issued a response to the comments, which were made at the BCP council’s overview and scrutiny committee.

Mr Grinnell said: “The board of Poole BID truly regrets the events of last week’s meeting and totally disagrees with the negative sentiment expressed. Discussions are in hand to determine a way forward for the BID management at this time.”

He added: “It is acknowledged that Poole’s retail environment has its challenges, as do many high streets around Britain.

“However, there are many retailers who are positive and enjoy strong trading, with areas of the high street continuing to perform and others showing true potential.

“Footfall overall remains consistent and this gives reassurance that Poole still has its place for many as a retail destination.”

Ms Wilson had called on people to bring back “positivity” to the town.

She added: “The issues that we see manifesting themselves on the high street are as a result of what’s going on in Poole in general.

“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. We are pushing very hard and working with BCP Council and the police to try and ease that situation.