FIVE new retailers are set to open in Poole town centre once lockdown restrictions are eased – as part of ongoing plans to breath new life into the high street.

The independent businesses, which form part of the new Kingland shopping district, got the keys to their new units last week.

They include the perfume shop, ånd Fragrance, the Pen Gallery of contemporary art, the Paintshop Studio – a creative design studio – and a zero waste grocery shop called Ten Foot Naked. The five shops are completed by Viper Gin, a Dorset-based gin company.

Three retailers, HUX Custom Surfboards, Grounded Coffee and Greenslade Fishmonger moved into units at Kingland last year.

Kingland also includes Wild Roots and Restored Retro.

Legal & General, which owns the units, says the Kingland retailers will pay no rent or business rates for two years.

The asset management giant also says the redevelopment of Kingland is the first step in its long-term plans for the area, which will also see 'innovation' and 'investment' at the neighbouring Dolphin Shopping Centre.

Each of the new shopping units, located at Kingland Crescent which adjoins the Dolphin Shopping Centre, hopes to be able to open next month when Covid regulations are set to be rolled back to allow non-essential retail to open again.

John Grinnell, Dolphin Shopping Centre and Kingland manager, said: "We have been working closely with our owners at Legal & General to revive our high street and create a visionary shopping experience for our local communities to enjoy.

"Owing to changes in consumer trends, the UK retail sector has undergone a seismic shift in recent years and as a knock-on effect of the pandemic, people are choosing to shop locally more than ever — shopping habits have changed with consumers putting a larger focus on supporting small businesses at this time."

“Kingland has already become a strong community hub.

"Once lockdown restrictions are lifted and shoppers can return, it will come into its own, offering a lively and energetic shopping experience that our locals will actually want to visit and support.”

Simon Constantine, owner of ånd fragrance said: "Kingland already feels like a small community emerging.

"All the store owners are supporting one another despite not being able to actually meet at the moment.

"I expect it to be a very warm and inviting experience to shop at Kingland, with some truly inspiring stores and products. Kingland will showcase the best of what small independent businesses can offer a town.”

Meanwhile, Dan Pink, director of Ten Foot Naked, said: “We can’t wait to open as we just know that the whole crescent will be full of life and joy.

"We want to bring a fun and exciting shopping experience to Poole, whilst also offering eco shopping alternatives.”