THE first retailers at Poole's new Kingland boutique shopping area are set to open next month.

Over the past weeks the units at Kingland Crescent, Poole town centre, have been stripped out and completely repainted.

This is part of a wider £26 million scheme from Dolphin Shopping Centre owner Legal & General – which originally included a nine-screen cinema complex –to breathe new life into central Poole.

While the cinema complex appears to have stalled, the Kingland concept will soon be up and running.

As part of the initiative ten retail units have been provided to start-up and independent businesses with no rates to be paid for two years.

Poole town centre set to welcome 'boutique' Kingland

Among those set to open at Kingland next month are Greenslade fishmonger, Hux Custom Surfboards and Cafe, and Grounded Coffee.

Then, in the New Year, the gin bar and shop Viper Gin is scheduled to open, alongside houseplants and interior specialist Wild Roots, PEN Gallery, Restored Retro – offering mid-century restored furniture – and the perfume store called 'and Fragrance'.

Kingland executive creative director Hollie Newton said: “I couldn't be prouder of everyone involved in the Kingland project.

"There's no reason why our high streets have to look so sad, Dorset has enough brilliant entrepreneurial companies to fill the town centre 10 times over, and Kingland is an opportunity to showcase a selection of the very best the county has to offer.

"Young people who have taken the pandemic as an opportunity to rethink, grow and even start new endeavours."

On the cinema proposals, which when first announced were set to take shape from late 2018 at Poole's former Argos store, a Legal and General spokesman said: "Legal & General continues to look at the Falkland square area for a multi-purpose development including leisure, office and retail space.

"We will share more details as soon as we can.”

Meanwhile, head of retail and futuring at Legal & General Investment Management Real Assets, Denz Ibrahim, said: "Our town centres have always played a huge role in how people live, work and play and tomorrow the focus will be on how we successfully blur the boundaries of these environments to curate spaces which reconnect people with place.

"Our ambitious plans for The Dolphin Centre and Kingland will deliver a market-leading curated series of environments jam-packed with hand-picked brands, programmed events and content all sourced from the locale all with amazing people, stories and products.

"Our chosen brands and retailers are ambitious, bold and creative, supporting our mission to create a future ready Poole town centre."