PLANS widely seen to bring life to a “dying” Bournemouth town centre have been refused by BCP Council. 

Councillors voted in line with case officer Eden Evans to refuse Seventa Events’ Summer Skate roller rink in the Lower Gardens. 

During a meeting in the civic centre, the firm’s managing director Simon Brooks warned to councillors that refusal could be “yet another nail in the coffin” for Bournemouth’s tourism. 

Cllr Marion Le Poidevin raised concern about the lasting damage it could bring to the Lower Garden’s grass. 

She said: “If it’s going to take up to two years [for the grass to be reseeded and restored], that means next summer we can’t agree to something like this and it would be a one off.” 

Cllr Michael Tarling added: “Our gardens are somewhere very important to get some quiet during the day to eat your lunch or enjoy peaceful recreation. 

“There are other opportunities. We’ve got other leisure facilities around Bournemouth, the Pavilion, the BIC, the cinema and the associated food establishments.” 

Redhill councillor Stephen Bartlett said the event would be a “noisy, commercial events space that is totally out of character for the listed gardens”. 

He added: “The gardens are a major attraction in themselves and to remove part of them, even temporarily, reduces the attractiveness of the garden.” 

Documents that would mitigate concerns by planning officers, including the flood risk, were handed in too late, case officer Eden Evans told the meeting. 

Cllr Patrick Canavan said: “Careful consideration has been given to the ground, but I think we need to stick to the officer’s recommendations. 

“This information has come far too late and I don’t think there is any excuse with that.” 

But Cllr Cameron Adams looked at it differently: “The town centre is on its knees, let’s try and do something different.” 

Simon Brooks, managing director for Seventa EventsSimon Brooks, managing director for Seventa Events

Mr Brooks told the meeting: “The town centre, gardens and beach have had a very negative time recently with some awful situations taking place, which have also caused some dreadful PR for the brand of Bournemouth. 

“This event brings 24-hour security at our costs to the Lower Gardens and brings life to the town centre, both of which are so desperately needed.” 

Eventually, the committee refused the roller rink with a small minority of five to four.

After the meeting, Mr Brooks told the Echo the refusal is “devastating news”.  

“As a private company, we have incurred considerable cost and time, on trying to bring a safe and happy environment to what we all know is a dying town centre,” he said.  

“This is a town that I truly care about, I own and operate several town centre businesses and I am also raising my family here.  

“As several of the council members quoted in the hearing, ‘Bournemouth is on its knees and tourism needs events like this to happen’.  

“Yet, this event which generates revenue in rent to BCP, and 24-hour (at my cost) security to the Lower Gardens, generates footfall to the town centre and most importantly creates an outdoor, fun experience for all ages, was refused planning permission for its five-week, temporary use.  

“I’d like to thank my team, who have worked tirelessly on this. Also the supporters of the event including the councillors and BCP events team that are forward-thinking enough to see the huge benefits that this event would bring to the area. 

“I would also like to assure everybody, that all pre-purchased tickets will be fully refunded this week.”