‘WE need long-term solutions rather than short-term fixes'.

These are the words of a parish warden who wants to reverse the fortunes of the town centre. 

Chris Mayne was born and raised on Old Christchurch Road, Bournemouth.

The 79-year-old has described the “buzzing” town centre he remembers in its heyday.

However, he has witnessed 'a steady decline' over his lifetime which has accelerated since the Covid pandemic.

But now, the warden for Bournemouth Town Centre Parish has proposed hosting a public meeting at St Peter's Church, in Hinton Road, to discuss what can be done to address this decline.

The former mayor wants to help 'tackle the problems' the town faces 'over the coming weeks or months’.

Bournemouth Echo: Chris Mayne, parish warden and former Bournemouth mayor.

“I would be delighted to do something like that here,” said Chris.

“We have had meetings in the past but if we could get all the parties together and come up with a few ideas.”

Chris said he has mentioned hosting a meeting to the new council leader, Vikki Slade.

He wants to bring together councillors, MP Conor Burns, Paul Kinvig from Bournemouth Town Centre BID, landlords, business owners, traders and the public to get as many views on the issue as possible.

Bournemouth Echo: St Peter's Church, Bournemouth.

“Westover Road used to be known as the Bond Street of Bournemouth, with some wonderful shops there,” he said.

“If we could bring those days back, I’d love to think that it could happen but it’s not an easy one.”

“I feel saddened having grown up in the town centre, and seen the decline, which has worsened certainly in recent times.

“It can be changed, and I think it should be changed. We need to keep attracting visitors to the town.

“So much emphasis has been put on the beach and seafront and not so much in the town. A lot stems from the main shopping centre moving out to CastlePoint, which in hindsight, I think was not a good idea.

“Car parking charges are another issue of course. We need to encourage shoppers into the town, and they need to have some kind of incentive.”

He added: “High business rates are another reason for the decline and rents, as well.”


As a warden, Chris has responsibility for church services and running the parish.

He said the church has had problems with anti-social behaviour in the building and on the grounds with items stolen in the past month.

Chris said he would like to see more policing in the town centre, to help make the town feel safer.

“I think a lot of people find it intimidating coming down to the town, certainly at night-time,” he said.

“I think the perception is that it’s not a particularly safe place at times.”

He added: “It would be nice to see more shops opening. More realistic rents and business rents to encourage more traders.”

The Daily Echo has been speaking to residents, shopkeepers, councillors and more concerning the state of the high street.
Scores of shops have closed for good, meanwhile, big-name retailers have moved elsewhere.
Bournemouth has been described as the jewel of the south coast, but what does the future hold?
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