CIVIC leaders are taking one final look at the prospect of linking major redevelopment plans for the Winter Gardens and Bournemouth International Centre sites.

The two prominent town centre locations, which are separated by a strip of vacant land and a single road, have been the focus of attention for many years.

Bournemouth Development Company (BDC) already has planning permission for the Winter Gardens and demolition work started on site in October.

Bournemouth Echo: The BIC and Winter Gardens sites. Picture by Stephen Bath. The BIC and Winter Gardens sites. Picture by Stephen Bath.

Read more: Nightclub and Italian restaurant demolished at Winter Gardens site

However, BCP Council's recently created FuturePlaces urban regeneration company was given both sites on a list of 15 development opportunities.

Read more: From Beales site to M&S: How Bournemouth town centre's potential will be realised

FuturePlaces has been tasked with looking into the potential for the sites and bringing forward plans to redevelop them.

Philip Broadhead, BCP Council's portfolio holder for development, growth and regeneration, told the Daily Echo the prospect of a single linked scheme had to be examined before construction starts at Winter Gardens.

Bournemouth Echo: Philip BroadheadPhilip Broadhead

“Town and city regeneration doesn’t happen overnight and viability is always the bit that gets in the way," said Cllr Broadhead.

“We now have a planning permission for Winter Gardens. What we are doing at the moment is having a proper joined-up conversation.

“We have got it backed but we are also redeveloping the Bournemouth International Centre. Is there an opportunity for those two sites to be linked?

“Before we put a spade in the ground at Winter Gardens, are we absolutely sure that we can’t look at the opportunity?"

Bournemouth Echo: A CGI of the proposed Winter Gardens piazza. Picture: Bournemouth Development Company.A CGI of the proposed Winter Gardens piazza. Picture: Bournemouth Development Company.

BDC, the 50:50 public-private partnership between BCP Council and Muse Developments, a Morgan Sindall Group company, has planning permission for a £150million scheme on the Winter Gardens site.

If progressed, it would deliver more than 350 flats, 600 parking spaces and new leisure and retail space.

Bournemouth Echo:

Discussing the Bournemouth International Centre site, Cllr Broadhead, who is deputy leader of the council, said: “Where the Bournemouth International Centre is so successful is it gives us a year-round economy. It was built in 1984.

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“Bournemouth used to close in October, reopen in March. It gave an all-year-round economy, it has been tremendously successful.

“If you were building a large conference and events centre with no windows would you put it right on the seafront today?

“Whereas that site can and should be a tremendous part of our tourism and public regeneration. At the same time we have the Winter Gardens site next door.

“We are having a conversation at the moment about is there some connectivity between those sites rather than build them in isolation.

“We are going to do them at the same time so we might as well look at it.”