BCP Council should be careful not to ‘shift the cost’ of Blue Flag accreditations to local firms, according to a leading businessman. 

Andy Lennox, vice chair of the destination management board, questioned whether businesses should be paying for the Blue Flag award which BCP Council could pull funding for. 

The award-winning restauranteur who runs Dorset’s Zim Braai and Nusara restaurants said businesses cannot be paying for things the council can no longer afford. 

He said: “The council is retreating from paying for things and there is only so much businesses can do, and to an extent we are not being listened to. 

Bournemouth Echo: Andy LennoxAndy Lennox (Image: Submit)

“Businesses and business groups are stepping up to fill the void, but we can’t pay for everything. Some things should fall on the council as a strategy-based agreement. 

“Ultimately, we should pay for things such as Purple Flag and Town Watch to try and help the town become a better place.

Read more: Tobias Ellwood criticises BCP Council for Blue Flag 'cut'

“However, even though businesses are coming together to pay for the Blue Flag, should we be doing that? 

“Blue Flag should be a statutory accreditation because we have the beach and it should be a community thing.”

Bournemouth Echo: Cllr Vikki SladeCllr Vikki Slade (Image: Newsquest)

As reported, council leader Vikki Slade said the council is in conversation with tourism sector partners, businesses and commercial organisations to enable a “sector-led” application next year. 

BCP Council is looking to fix a £44m gap in its finances with a string of cutbacks, including axing funding for the Blue Flag accreditation.

Read more: Bournemouth beaches scoop handful of Blue Flags award

Most beaches along the 15 miles of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole’s seafront were awarded Blue Flag status earlier this year for excellent water quality. 

The move was criticised by Bournemouth East MP Tobias Ellwood, who accused the council of being “short-sighted” and warned the decision will “damage” the local economy. 

Bournemouth Echo: Tobias EllwoodTobias Ellwood (Image: Newsquest)

He said the award offers residents a sense of “purpose, pride and identity”. 

Earlier this month, it was announced that the council would not be funding some Christmas lights in Bournemouth and Poole

It faced much criticism before Bournemouth Town Centre BID stepped in and said it would fund several Christmas attractions to attract as many visitors as possible.