Bournemouth town centre is getting ready to welcome back visitors in the next stage of lockdown easing.

Non-essential shops, outdoor hospitality and services like hairdressers can reopen from today.

And major projects are well underway to help the town look its best for the big day. These are being spearheaded by the Bournemouth Town Centre BID in partnership with BCP Council in the as part of the BID’s 'Reconnect Initiative'.

Work includes:

• Cleaning and painting lampposts, benches and other street furniture in Commercial Road, Westover Road, Old Christchurch Road and Horseshoe Common.

The spruce up is being paid for by community infrastructure levy money and supplemented by Town Centre BID funding. Backed by ward councillors Mike Greene and Hazel Allen, it is being carried out by BCP's decorating teams.

• A deep clean across the town centre with as much of the area as possible covered by Monday again jointly funded by the Town Centre BID & BCP.

• Reapplication of 700 ‘Queue Here’ floor stickers throughout the town centre to aid social distancing and queueing.

• Window vinyls on a number of empty units, with welcome messages for visitors, funded by EU, the BID and BCP Council and working with the landlords.

• The first stage of hanging baskets throughout the town.

• Promotional videos from local businesses highlighting the 'Reconnect' theme.

Town Centre BID chairman, Martin Davies, said: "It has been a really difficult 12 months for everyone but we are all hugely optimistic about the town centre reopening for business again once and for all. There is a lot to feel positive about, thanks to some great partnership working in it’s truest sense It will be wonderful to see people reconnect with their family, friends and colleagues in the town centre."

Cllr Greene said: “It will be great to see the town centre spick and span, and working in partnership with the Business Improvement District is the ideal way to get it there.

"This year has been really tough for high street retailers and hospitality providers alike. I am really looking forward to seeing the place buzzing and people enjoying the experience of being out there again.

BCP Council's cabinet member for regeneration, Cllr Philip Broadhead said: "“Last year, following the first lockdown, Bournemouth was the number one in the whole country for the bounce back of our high streets.

"We not only expect the same this year, but want to build on this and make the whole BCP area the destination of choice for visitors.

"In addition, the extra funds, events and investment into enhanced offerings we’re ploughing into the area benefits our residents too, and we’re determined that 2021 will be a year to remember for all the right reasons – which is what we all need right now.

"We are doing this in a number of ways; by working hand in hand with our Business Improvement Districts, dramatically increasing our investment from the council in things like making our streets cleaner and safer, and also channelling the various government grants into supporting businesses to recover quickly.

"Over the next few weeks, we’ll be launching schemes such as our Bounce Back Challenge Fund, Welcome Back fund, Business Restart Grants and more."