DEVELOPERS are considering their options over a multi-million-pound scheme in the heart of Poole after planning permission for a cinema and restaurant complex expired.

Legal & General, owners of the Dolphin Shopping Centre, obtained an approval in 2018 to overhaul the former Argos site and adjoining units.

The proposals included investments in the area of Falkland Square and Kingland Crescent outside the retail complex, with new landscaping, seating areas and lighting.

However, it has been confirmed to the Daily Echo that the planning permission from the former Borough of Poole expired at the start of this month, with it understood that physical work had not started on the project.

Legal & General said it is working with the council’s new urban regeneration company to “investigate options for the site”.

In relation to the approved planning application, a BCP Council spokesperson said: “The planning permission was granted on September 3, 2018, and was granted for a period of three years.

“No conditions have been discharged and BCP Council have not received an application for the discharge of conditions. BCP Council has not been made aware of any commencement of development.”

Bournemouth Echo:

The scheme made up part of a £26million investment programme in and around the Dolphin Centre.

In November 2019, more than a year after the plans were approved, Legal & General said it was “still working through the details” having initially said work would begin in late 2018.

Providing an update to the Daily Echo, a spokesperson for Legal & General, which bought the Dolphin Centre in 2013, said: “Legal & General remains committed to the longer-term redevelopment of Falkland Square.

“We are working with BCP’s newly formed urban regeneration company to investigate options for the site which aligns with the council’s wider plans for the area. As part of this partnership, we continue to look at alternative, multi-purpose developments for Falkland Square that meet local needs and deliver the greatest socioeconomic value to the community.”

The urban regeneration company, which will focus on ‘place making’ rather than just development, was set up earlier this year and is wholly owned by BCP Council – unlike Bournemouth Development Company which is a joint venture with Morgan Sindall.

As reported, Empire Cinemas signed a 25-year lease for the proposed cinema complex, which featured a rooftop screen and bar. The Daily Echo has approached Empire Cinemas for comment.