Residents and visitors will soon benefit from a more enhanced shopping experience as improvement works gets underway outside The Arcade on Old Christchurch Road, Bournemouth.
As part of BCP Council’s commitment to revitalise high streets and support local businesses, work will start next week (22 February) to remove the corroded steel canopy that currently shrouds the façade of The Arcade, opening up the area to additional natural light.
Councillor Mike Greene, Portfolio Holder for Transport and Sustainability, and Ward Councillor for Bournemouth Central, said:
"We are committed to creating a cleaner, greener and safer place for everyone and this forms part of our drive to bring back a sense of pride in our place. We are determined to support our local business community bounce back quickly, and by taking steps to declutter Old Christchurch Road we will create an improved environment ready to welcome back shoppers and visitors once government guidance changes and it is safe to do so.”
The works are expected to take no more than four weeks, during which time the canopy will be encapsulated for the safety of others and to allow uninterrupted access to The Arcade. Erected over thirty years ago, a recent inspection of the structure commissioned by BCP Council found corrosion, insufficient drainage and health risks related to the pigeons roosting there.
Councillor Greene added: “We understand that some people may have affection for the canopy however removal is by far the best and most cost-effective option for the area. We look forward to providing shoppers with a more enhanced experience when they visit this part of Bournemouth town centre.”
Councillor Hazel Allen, Ward Councillor for Bournemouth Central, added: “Removing the canopy will reveal the attractive entrance facade of the Arcade and open up the whole area while also solving the problem of the mess created by pigeons roosting within it.”
The canopy has been housing a 220lb ‘pocket’ watch that was presented to the town in 1990 by the people of Lucerne in Switzerland to mark Bournemouth’s centenary. The clock has been out of service for many years and has already been removed and placed in safe storage. BCP Council plans to renovate and relocate the clock elsewhere in Bournemouth.
The work to revitalise this part of Bournemouth town centre complements the council’s ‘Big Plan’, which focuses on investing in the quality of urban environments to help make the conurbation a place where businesses and people want to be.