IF investors are betting that the reopening of the high street this week will fire up a summer spending spree, they could do worse than take a look at the three towns across the conurbation.

The town centres in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole were buzzing again on Monday after a lockdown that began back in December.

With non-essential retail and services like hairdressers back in business, visitors flooded back to the main centres and district high streets.

And a surprising number of new retail and hospitality businesses have sprung up.

BCP Council has launched a campaign to reassure people that it is safe to shop and enjoy dining in the outside spaces of restaurants and cafes.

But it also issued a reminder of personal responsibilities including mask wearing, keeping distanced, washing hands and if meeting other people, choosing outdoors.

Jon Weaver, BCP Council Lead for the Rediscover Safely campaign said:

“We’re working with our partners at the Poole and Bournemouth BIDs, Christchurch Chamber of Trade and Commerce and local businesses to encourage people back.

“Our focus has been to invigorate the town centres of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole and encourage people to not forget local businesses and high street shops."

Visitors to Poole will see additional planters, vibrant floor vinyls and 70 welcome flags celebrating business and heritage, thanks to the Poole BID working in partnership with the Council as part of the Heritage Action Zone programme.

Jacqui Rock, Poole BID Manager said: "It has been a very challenging time for the business community and so in support of this we have put in place a number of street cleansing and street dressing initiatives for those venturing out, in order for them to rediscover the shops and all the attractions of historic Poole.”

In Bournemouth, empty shop units are being fitted with colourful ‘Rediscover Safely’ window vinyls, including at Beales, thanks to a contribution from Bournemouth Town Centre BID. Deep cleaning programmes and repainting of street furniture have also been completed.

Paul Kinvig, of Bournemouth Town Centre BID said:

“This project of encouraging residents and visitors to rediscover our town centre is a great example of partnership working in action. It’s great to see the local authority take the lead on this along with the town centre BIDs in supporting businesses in their reopening and re-emerging strategy."

Additional mini-sweepers are out and about, including in Christchurch.

New and increased bins have been installed, including in Boscombe, Highcliffe and the Quomps.

Andrew Barfield, President of Christchurch Chamber of Trade and Commerce said: “Christchurch businesses are ready and prepared to welcome back customers and work with them to provide a safe and enjoyable shopping or dining experience."

Already 27 new pavement licence applications have been granted across the three towns giving restaurants and cafés the opportunity to use outside space for seating and tables.

Businesses applying to extend their existing outdoor seating capacity have also been reviewed and checked against safety guidance.

New fascias are a cause for optimism

Bournemouth Echo:

In Bournemouth on Monday there were lengthy queues outside the major retailers.

The additional pavement seating outside coffee shops and cafes such as Esquires and Cremma in Old Christchurch quickly filled up.

Meanwhile some businesses have moved location and new faces - and fascias - have appeared.

Saltrock is reopening and returning to town in the old Samsung unit in The Avenue Centre

Roberta has changed hands and is staying open in Westover Road where Westover Beauty has opened.

Other launches include Healthy Choices in Old Christchurch Road, Kingston Market in The Triangle and RISE opened in the old Ponti Café on Commercial Road,.