PLANS are on track to meet the government's deadline for detailed proposals to transform Boscombe.

The Bournemouth Towns Fund team has to submit business cases for its 10 projects by March to secure the £21.7million in central funding.

These include a significant investment in overhauling the Royal Arcade and a scheme to deliver a community centre, housing and doctors surgery.

Martha Covell, programme manager for the Towns Fund, told the Daily Echo five business cases had already been submitted, with implementation under way on two of them.

The King's Park Learning and Skills Hub involves purchasing the old bowling club and using the space "more effectively". Ms Covell said the purchase was nearly completed.

Ms Covell said the bowling club will remain but the site will also be home to gym clubs and health and wellbeing services, with education space to give people new skills.

The other project making swift progress is the digital connectivity, which Ms Covell describes as "the invisible miracle", providing "amazingly fast broadband.

She said: "You can do down there and download stuff faster than anywhere else in the world, literally. It is unbelievable. That is going to roll out and benefit businesses and free very fast WiFi on the precinct eventually."

Work is going on behind the scenes on the Royal Arcade and the masterplan but 2022 will not see building work taking place.

"The Royal Arcade is a three-pronged process," said Ms Covell.

"It is purchasing and renovating this amazing building because it is derelict and on the upper floors some of them are open to the air unfortunately.

"It is a real challenge. We just want to get it back occupied because it is the jewel in the crown of Boscombe and it is an important building for local people.

"The first thing is the heritage benefits to that and the second thing is encouraging small local businesses to occupy the ground floor with a food hall as well – a different offer, more like what you are seeing at Bobby's.

"On the upper floors we want to provide support for new businesses along their whole journey so training, getting them started, they have incubator units and then they will go into their more formal permanent homes and we have got a lot of space for that.

"It is a long term project. Towards the end of this year we are going to wrap the building in a big hoarding image, which will be lovely."

The Towns Fund finance is only for phase one of the masterplan in the area of Hawkwood Road car park.

"It will be a new link through from the high street down to that area, really attractive public realm advancements and providing a new community centre on one of the sites and some new homes and a park and keeping a lot of car parking," said Ms Covell.

"We are working on the plans and an application will be submitted in the middle of this year once we finish our engagement. It is evolving."

Discussing the challenges of the Towns Fund, she said: "£21million sounds like a lot of money but when building a park is £1million that is just one element of one project, so it is checking they are affordable and also making sure we have the right partners on board to deliver stuff.

"The board over the past 12 months has really grown with a lot of positive assistance and guidance."

"Boscombe has been planned to death. It is about time we actually did something," added Ms Covell.

"The main project with my background as a planner is the Royal Arcade and trying to fix that up because I have worked on a lot of heritage buildings in the past and it has so much potential."

The Towns Fund hub in the former Cafe Nero premises at the front of the Royal Arcade is the team's 'shop', which will be open a few days a week for residents to come in for events, meetings and questions about the projects.