THE redevelopment of Saxon Square in Christchurch is to be considered in the public consultation for the BCP Council’s conurbation-wide local plan.

As reported in yesterday's Echo, Cabinet will be asked to approve the Local Plan 'Issues and Options' Document at the end of the month for an eight-week consultation in the summer.

And two of the options now formally published by the council are the redevelopment of both Saxon Square and the Two Riversmeet car park.

Last month the Echo revealed that the Christchurch town centre complex was included in a confidential list of ‘development opportunities’ put forward to the council leader Cllr Drew Mellor and deputy Cllr Philip Broadhead by their lead member for high streets, Cllr Nigel Brooks.

The councillors said it was just an ‘idea’ at that stage.

Christchurch town councillors called an extraordinary meeting two weeks ago after saying they knew nothing about the ideas.

Now in the local plan draft document, an option for Saxon Square - ‘an existing strategic identified site’ is clearly laid out.

Officers have concluded residential development on the council-owned Saxon Square site is potentially 'suitable and achievable' with the land being available potentially for 150 new homes.

The report says there are no physical constraints and car parking is likely to be required to support the town centre, but there is "scope to incorporate replacement parking into redevelopment. "

There is also existing established access - the current entrance into the two level car park. There is ‘officer assumption’ of car park retention but ‘there could be scope to increase capacity depending on the scheme.’

Another strategic site identified in the report is Two Riversmeet car park where the removal of civic offices ‘gives potential to rationalise the car parking offer in this location.’

It says 100 homes could be developed here.

Sites in Stony Lane and Knapp Mill Avenue are also included as development options along with a number of others.

Councillor Philip Broadhead, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Economy and Strategic Planning, said the council had to make strategic choices on where to build new homes, locate key employment zones and other major issues.

He told the Echo: "Before we get to this development stage, we wants people’s views. This consultation will present all the major choices, issues and opportunities that we will need to consider so we can find out what people think. Key strategic sites presented to us by external developers are also being included in the consultation, alongside those which are owned by the council.

"In Christchurch we could see further improvements to the Two Riversmeet Leisure Complex, or enhancements to Fountain Roundabout and Saxon Square. But before we start considering these, we need to public’s feedback on what’s important to them.”

BCP says it wants Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole to be the UK's "newest city region brimming with prospects, positivity and pride."