EARLIER this year, BCP Council were awarded £40,000 to further develop its beach checker app.

The Beach Check App, developed by the council, was launched in 2020, the month after civic leaders declared a major incident after huge crowds travelled to the resort’s beaches.

And now the app is being rolled out nationally, helping the council achieve its aim of become the UK’s leading ‘smart place’.

But how does the app work and how has it helped?

Bournemouth Echo:


Development of the app began in July last year in a bid to reduce crowding on parts of the area’s beaches.

It’s purpose was to provide information on how busy particular sections of the seafront are, as well as what facilities were there.

At the time, council chief executive, Graham Farrant said: “The app will split the beach into 26 different sections and identify which of those are crowded and which ones aren’t.”

The app had a live traffic light system, if a part of a beach was particularly busy, it would show as red, if it was moderately busy, it would be amber and if it was relatively quiet it would be green.

After its release, then council leader Cllr Vikki Slade said: “We want to make sure everyone who comes to our shores remains as safe as they can be.

“It is not hard to see why so many people flock to our beaches every year and we have witnessed first-hand just how popular our destinations can be.

“However, we want to ensure those that come here take their own safety and wellbeing seriously and that is the purpose of the development of this app.

“If you arrive you can simply click a few buttons and check to see which beaches have the capacity to accommodate more visitors.”

Bournemouth Echo:


A few days after its release, BCP Council received £34,000 to add extra functionality to the app.

The funding was from the Local Digital Collaboration Unit and Local Government through the Local Digital Covid-19 Challenge.

Cllr Slade said: “The funds awarded will be reinvested to further develop the functionality of the app: automating and increasing the frequency of the data collected from its current level of three times per day to enable real-time updates and additional accuracy.

“With the help of this app and the additional measures and plans we’ve put in place for this summer, we are hugely excited to welcome the return of all visitors who wish to respect, protect and enjoy our beautiful resort.”

The app was further developed in May this year, allowing users to see if any locations are temporarily closed and find out how many spaces are available at a number of BCP Council-operated car parks helping them to plan their journey.

They will also be able to discover where toilet facilities are located and where they can walk their dog.

Prior to this, the council was allocated an extra £40,000 to develop the app, which is set to go national.

The MHCLG Local Digital Fund awarded the money so the app could be expanded to other UK towns.

At the time, BCP Council’s portfolio holder for tourism, Cllr Mohan Iyengar, said: “We are preparing for a good many visitors this summer as lockdown is eased and people can travel. The app will be valuable, helping people to make good choices about where to be – avoiding the busiest spots, staying distanced and being safe.

“The future looks particularly good once we can use the app to potentially signpost people to different events and attractions in our Festival Coast Live based on inputs they have made.

“All in all, it’s an aid to staying safe, building confidence and really boosting our tourism business for everyone involved.”


Bournemouth Echo:

Providing an update on the app, deputy leader and portfolio holder for regeneration at BCP Council, Cllr Philip Broadhead said the app helped the town be at the “forefront of digital solutions”.

He said: “Our Beach App, chosen by the government to be rolled out nationally, is a great example of how we are using our Smart Place programme to make sure we’re on the forefront of how future digital solutions can be used to improve how we live, work, and connect.

“We want to go beyond those services traditionally provided by councils, and we can do this by putting the local place at the centre of our plans and providing a broader and richer set of new, innovative services for our residents.

“Whether making it easier for people to go about their daily lives, improving the prospects of our local businesses or enabling communities to function more effectively - information, data and digital technologies will play an ever-increasing and important role.

“Our ambition is to make Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole the UK’s leading Smart Place, helping to attract major private investment that enables us to create and retain more value in the local economy.”

Have you downloaded the app, how much of a success do you think it’s been?