Bournemouth town centre has suffered in the last few months with the closure of Beales and Debenhams, but BCP Council is determined to revitalise the retail centre.
To that end, work is to start on 22 February to remove the corroded steel canopy that currently shrouds the façade of The Arcade on Old Christchurch Road, opening up the area to additional natural light.
Cllr 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 de-clutter 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 30 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.
Cllr 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.”
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.
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