A FORMER café in the Royal Arcade in Boscombe could be used as a community meeting place, for engagement events, a learning centre and as an office.

BCP Council’s Towns Fund has applied for permission to temporarily change the use of the former Café Nero into an engagement office until March 2026.

A statement submitted with the application said: “The proposal is to use this vacant premises, previously used by Café Nero as the Bournemouth Towns Fund Engagement Office.

“It will be used as a local community meeting place, learning centre and provide

advice to the general public and potential investors.

“The premises will also be used to host small engagement events for the public to attend and have around four desks which will provide a temporary workspace for the programme management team and community members when needed.

“The Bournemouth Towns Fund programme is a significant investment programme centred around Boscombe and will be implemented over a five-year period until March 2026.

“Therefore, change of use is only required for a maximum five-year period.”

The application highlighted two of the projects to be implemented by the Towns Fund.

It included the renovation and reuse of the Royal Arcade, where the office will be situated, to provide a “cultural, events and shopping hub on the ground floor for independent businesses and office and learning on the upper floors”.

It also detailed a “Boscombe skills and learning hub”, an area with a focus on providing training and jobs in the creative and tech business sectors.

The statement added: “The proposal will make a contribution to the vitality of this centre by the re-use of this vacant unit as an engagement hub and office.

“It will be occupied between three and five days of the week and during part of this time

it will be open to the public and host meetings with the community.

“Community engagement events, hosting more people will happen on a bi-monthly basis associated with the individual projects.

“A small area at the rear will be used as a small office for Towns Fund Programme management team who will share desks when they are needed to work in the area.

“The basement will be used for the temporary storage of equipment associated with other projects, such as the digital investment in the area.”