Boscombe’s high street is set to be completely changed beyond recognition as plans for a multi million-pound renovation are to take place over the next couple of years.

But where has the money come from and what can residents expect to see from their transformed high street?

Here is a breakdown of the masterplan for Boscombe town centre.

What is the background?

Boscombe was once considered a highly desirable place to live on the south coast due to its proximity to the beach and Bournemouth, with a range of Victorian and Art Deco buildings.

However, in the 1970s the decline in the English holiday market led to the rapid decline of former spa town's fortunes.

Many of the small guest houses and large family houses became HMOs, leading to an increase in transience in the population and a rise in drug use and crime in the area.

Bournemouth Echo: Boscombe town centre

A few projects have been launched in order to rejuvenate the area, starting with the Boscombe Spa Development Plan in July 2006, which saw the creation of the now debunked Surf Reef,

Other schemes include the construction of the Sovereign Centre and the introduction of the town’s art trail.

However, none of these projects fully came to fruition, leaving Boscombe and its high street to deteriorate further.

Only recently, the town was placed number 33 in the top 50 of ‘worst places to live’ in the UK.

What is happening now?

In an attempt to once again revitalise the area, BCP Council, along with residents, business owners and councillors making up the Bournemouth Towns Fund Board, put forward proposals for a ‘Town Deal’ with the Government which would have seen the area secure up to £25million for major regeneration.

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In August 2020, residents were asked for their views on the multimillion-pound transformation plans as six public engagement events were held at the end of August and the beginning of September, as members of the team hosted a stall on Boscombe Market.

On Monday September 28, Bournemouth’s Town Deal bid received an accelerated £1million funding grant for plans to get underway to improve the facilities at Kings Park Bowling Club to create a combined activity and learning hub.

How much money did they get?

Boscombe, which is one of 45 towns to be awarded funding through the government's £1 billion Town Deal fund, has received £21.7 million.

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When was this announced?

The allocation of the funding was announced during Rishi Sunak’s presentation of his Budget to Parliament on Wednesday March 3.

What exactly is included in the plan?

The proposals include the removal of Centenary Way and existing bus station on Ashley Road, restoration of the east-west Haviland Road, as well as the retention of the Sovereign Centre car park.

This will make way for a new square for public events and outdoor cafes, with shops, cafes, restaurants at ground floor with apartments above either side of it and pedestrian lanes connecting to the town centre.

A focal mixed-use building will replace the Sovereign Centre with public glass lift up to rooftop restaurant and public viewing terrace.

A retained and enhanced multi-storey car park providing 620 spaces for residents, shoppers and visitors will sit the other side of Haviland Road West, along with retail space, pocket gardens, family housing and a community village hall.

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Extensive work will be done to the appearance of Haviland Road West with large pavements, cycle lanes, bus stops and tree planting.

On the other side of Christchurch Road - which will have enhanced public realm treatment, street trees and local servicing for markets - will be a large convenience store leading to more dwellings and isolated green spaces.

New traffic junctions will be put in place on either end of the pedestrianised area of Christchurch Road with public spaces overlooked by a new cycle café or other active use in small premises.

Where in Boscombe is included in the plan?

The project focuses on the town’s high street, namely the pedestrianised area of Christchurch Road.

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Haviland Road West will be significantly developed, and residential housing and apartments will be built along Gladstone Road and Hawkwood Road.

When will it start?

Although the recent announcement is a big step to the plans becoming a reality, the funding isn’t fully secured.

Detailed business plans for each project will now be drawn up by The Bournemouth Towns Fund Board and public consultations will be held to finalise the exact parameters of the plan.

Although funding has been secured and will be filtered down from government in instalments, work is not expected to begin on the project for another five years.