A bid for up to £25million of funding to deliver transformational change in Poole High Street has been submitted by BCP Council to government.
Poole was one of the first 50 successful areas shortlisted to develop plans to reinvent their high streets. The £1billion Future High Streets Fund is part of the £3.6billion Towns Fund announced by government in 2019.
This funding bid presents an opportunity to rejuvenate Poole High Street and attract more people to visit the town centre in the post Covid-19 world. Our local high streets face the same challenges as town centres nationally and Poole High Street has particular challenges due to its length and the need for regeneration more widely in the town centre.
Councillor Mark Howell, Portfolio Holder for Economy, Regeneration & Culture, said:
“The council has submitted a strong bid. If it is successful, we will be able to transform Poole High Street into a vibrant and attractive visitor destination. This would be an important step in delivering a regenerated town centre.”
The bid includes a new attraction in the form of a covered market and food hall as part of a mixed-use development offering business workspaces, a performance and arts space for community use, as well as up to 40 new homes. The new centrally located amenity would draw people southwards from the Dolphin Shopping Centre and northwards from the tourist Quay area into the central part of the High Street, which currently has the highest vacancy rates. This increased footfall would support neighbouring businesses.
Cllr Howell added:
“The proposals we have developed seek to address the challenges the High Street faces but also breathe new life into Poole’s town centre. We want to make the most of the rich heritage of the area, existing attractions and the established Dolphin Shopping Centre by improving the experience of visitors walking between them. With Poole Museum, the historic Old Town and an enviable natural setting, Poole town centre has huge potential to move with the times and be an attraction in its own right. The proposals will help revitalise the High Street and restore Poole’s reputation as a desirable, thriving and vibrant place for residents and visitors to spend time.”
The government will reveal whether the council has been awarded funding in the Autumn.