THE ENTREPRENEUR behind the newly approved transformation of Branksome Chine says his development will be at the “heart of the local community” – amid resident fears it will “attract the Love Island crowd”.

BCP Council gave plans for the Branksome Chine beach café to become a Rockwater complex the thumbs up in December despite hundreds of objections.

Modelled on the successful operation he currently runs in Hove, Luke Davis will transform the 1930s beach café at Branksome into a Rockwater Village – which he says will be a “bustling destination for the local community to enjoy live music, fitness and wellness classes, morning coffees and all cravings in between”.

Councillor’s voted nine to three in favour of approving the development, despite some late rallying from residents and neighbours who feared the site was “designed to attract the Love Island crowd”.

Bournemouth Echo: Branksome Chine beach café and restaurantBranksome Chine beach café and restaurant (Image: BNPS)

One objector described the development as “straight out of a Miami beach scrapbook of unsuitable designs”.

Mr Davis has worked hard since February when the plans were submitted to alleviate these fears, encouraging residents to look into the success of the existing Hove site.

He said: “This is a passion project and our vision is to create a hub at the heart of the local community to be enjoyed by all, whilst also regenerating a seaside space that lives in harmony with the local surroundings.

“Rockwater in Branksome Chine will be a destination for lifestyle and wellness with our upstairs venue with a retractable roof offering a family restaurant, entertainment and featuring comedy and music.

Bournemouth Echo: Luke Davis, founder of RockwaterLuke Davis, founder of Rockwater

“Decking on the beach will provide a venue for community groups to use for free, encouraging such activities as yoga, poetry, chess and crafts.”

He also said attitudes had changed when his business opened a shack selling food and drink at the former Branksome Chine beach shop, telling the Echo: “I think the shack’s opening down there changed that a lot.

“There was a shift in the mindset from just fear that we were bringing some sort of Benidorm atmosphere to Branksome, which isn’t true.”

The project is set to be completed for summer 2023 and will offer new jobs for “hundreds of local residents”.

His vision also includes a similar development in Sandbanks, which would replace the existing café.

Bournemouth Echo: CGI of the planned Rockwater Village in SandbanksCGI of the planned Rockwater Village in Sandbanks

These plans, however, are yet to be decided by BCP Council’s planning committee having suffered more setbacks than the Branksome application.

As previously reported by the Echo, the Sandbanks proposal underwent a major redesign after nesting sand lizards were discovered in nearby dunes.

Originally, the budget for both developments was around £8.7m. However, following the planning delays, the total investment for both sites is now estimated at £12.5m.

While the Sandbanks development, which received far fewer objections, is yet to be approved, pre-commencement conditions have been agreed.