FOUR years of work to transform Poole’s high street has concluded. 

The £1.25m improvement programme to enhance and protect historical assets while making the town centre more attractive for residents, visitors and businesses has finished. 

A 200sq m giant fish commemorating Poole marine biologist Henry Gosse, a cultural programme at the Lighthouse and new signage for businesses are all some of the highlights from the Poole High Street Heritage Action Zone (HAZ). 

At Poole Museum, New Purbeck stone paving has been laid to link the area between the museum and Scaplen’s Court.  

Bournemouth Echo: Henry Gosse muralHenry Gosse mural (Image: BCP Council)

This will be extended to improve the paving outside the main entrance, providing easy access for everyone. 

But it doesn’t stop there: there is also the opportunity to help shape the high street for the future with an ‘ideas’ map in place for the public to play with. 

This will be at an exhibition showcasing all that’s been done in Poole with the grants from Saturday, March 23 to Thursday, March 28 in the Gather Space at the Dolphin Centre. 

Caroline Peach, head of strategic planning at BCP Council, said: “The HAZ project has provided much needed investment into the local Poole Old Town community, boosting participation in cultural activity and improving the quality and condition of the buildings and general environment. 

“Over the course of the last four years, 16 High Street projects received HAZ grants, 600 school children have attended workshops,1605 people watched the SALT play at Lighthouse, Poole and 82 wall mounted and column Windsor lanterns have been installed resulting in a 74 per cent reduction in energy use. 

“With our partners at Historic England, Scaplens Court is being remodelled and public access improved. Together with Poole BID, we are really looking forward to continuing to work closely with the Poole community to develop, nurture and care for the heritage of Poole Old Town for years to come.” 

Ross Simmonds, Historic England’s head of region in the south west, added: “We want our high streets to last. 

“This means reimagining a new future for them, so they remain at the heart of communities. This scheme has proven that heritage-led regeneration can unlock a new, positive future for our high streets. 

“We are very grateful to our partners and the community for their help in the regeneration of 16 shopfronts on Poole’s high street including the renovation of Grade I listed medieval former merchants house Scaplen’s Court. 

“I have also witnessed with joy the power of bringing people together on our high streets through celebratory cultural events. These places deserve a future.”