STRUCTURAL surveys are set to be carried out at the Royal Arcade in Boscombe ahead of multi-million pound plans to “transform” it.

Despite not owning the shopping centre, BCP Council has applied for listed building consent to assess the condition of the building which it has earmarked for a mixed cultural and work base.

While the final details of how the £21.7 million Boscombe Towns Fund have yet to be agreed, councillor Phil Broadhead, the council’s deputy leader, said it was “committed” to the project.

Funding was confirmed by the government as part of its budget in March but the sum was less than the £25 million originally applied for.

As a result, the final details of what parts of the project will be funded has yet to be finalised. The towns fund board is putting together a business case which needs to be submitted next year.

It will include the replacement of the Sovereign shopping centre, hundreds of new homes and the creation of a new public events space.

Bournemouth Echo: The Royal Arcade in BoscombeThe Royal Arcade in Boscombe

But the overhaul of the listed Grade II-listed Royal Arcade, which is owned by NewRiver, had been a key element of the proposals put forward last year.

The council said it wanted to “preserve and enhance” the building, transforming it to host a combination of office areas, skills and learning and arts and culture.

And it has now applied for listed building consent to carry out initial assessments of its structure ahead of any work starting.

It is seeking permission for a series of investigations, including the condition of structural supports, walls and the foundations.

A statement submitted with the application says this would “provide guidance on the future requirements for plans for refurbishment and re-use” of the building.

Although final details of the council’s plans for the Royal Arcade have yet to be agreed, its deputy leader and cabinet member for regeneration, councillor Phil Broadhead said it would be a “prominent” part of the wider Towns Fund project.

Bournemouth Echo: Cllr Phil BroadheadCllr Phil Broadhead

“We are as excited about our major regeneration plans for Boscombe as ever,” he said. “We are fully committed to restoring and enhancing the Royal Arcade and it remains a prominent business case within our plans to bring it back into use as an attractive place to shop, work, eat, visit and learn.”

He said it would be “transformed into a hub for small businesses, training and work space”.

“Securing the £21.7million is just the start and we are optimistic that our ambitious plans and successful town deal funding will attract future investment to expand on our town centre regeneration,” he added.

Council planning officers will make a decision on whether structural assessments can be carried out in the next few weeks.

The business case for how the funding will be spent needs to be submitted to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government in 2022.