ROLLER skating, 80s nights and film screenings could all be coming to the Lower Gardens this summer as part of ambitious new plans. 

The Lower Central Gardens Trust Board has been given proposals for Summer SKATE with a bar, big screen and catering for six weeks across July and August. 

Although the grass is only just recovering from the ice skate rink, the environment directorate at BCP Council has warned a roller rink could kill off new growth. 

But a report by four senior BCP Council officers said the event’s proposer has “composed a grass protection plan and a tree protection plan”. 

Bournemouth Echo: Graffiti in the Lower GardensGraffiti in the Lower Gardens (Image: Stephen Bartlett)

The report said: “Summer SKATE aims to be an inclusive event, which supports Dorset Mind. It activates health, which matches the Bournemouth Gardens heritage.  

“Not only SKATE but a supporting calendar of events includes yoga mornings, a big screen to show a family movie nights, free to attend SKATE sessions for local school's and hospice charities and plus events such as 80’s nights, Motown/soul nights and even SKATE with film nights.” 

The Lower Gardens has come under fire in recent months because of the graffiti left on green boxes and walls, decaying walls and damage to railings. 

Bournemouth Echo: Damaged grass after SKATEDamaged grass after SKATE

Bournemouth councillor Stephen Bartlett called on the board to “try harder” on upkeeping the gardens, saying the state reflects a lack of investment or money. 

However, the newly published report noted there has been increased cleaning at the toilets and removing graffiti. 

This includes council property such as the bandstand and, in agreement with the utility companies, the green boxes, too. 

Current bins are now considered beyond economical life and in a “poor visual condition” with an annual cost of the provision at £20,800. 

BCP officers are now working on the possibility of using wooden casing to surround the bins to make them look better. 

Bournemouth Echo: Flowers in the Lower GardensFlowers in the Lower Gardens

Meanwhile, the council is looking to significantly reduce the number of seasonal flowers and plants in the Lower Gardens and replace them with perennials instead to cut costs following the closure of the council-owned King’s Park Nursery where bedding plants were supplied from. 

The report said: “We understand this change may not have been to everyone's taste, however similarly many others understand and support the need to think about sustainability, the way we look after our planet and the importance of providing habitat as well as year-round interest in our beds.  

“We will continuously review this as these beds mature and thrive, adding additional colour and interest with bulbs.  

“In Autumn 2023 5000 bulbs were planted to enhance the colour show of the new planting including Daffodils and Crocus.” 

A further 5,000 bulbs are being proposed to be planted for spring 2025. 

The new proposals will be discussed by the Lower Central Gardens board next week.