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Bournemouth set for major Winter Gardens revamp

Bournemouth is set for the most ambitious redevelopment project in the town's history as a partnership between the town council and a major construction firm has devised a £150 million scheme for the old Winter Gardens site.

Built in 1875, the Winter Gardens was the main entertainment venue in the city for well over a century. However, it was demolished in 2006 and the 4.89-acre site has been used as a car park since then.

Now, the Bournemouth Development Company - a partnership between the council and Morgan Sindall - has submitted a planning application for a mixed-use development on the site. If it is passed by the council's planning board, it will provide hundreds of construction jobs, not least for insulation fitters and plumbers as they work on the 352 apartments that make up a key part of the scheme.

These new dwellings will include one, two and three-bed homes, with the project featuring four new buildings. These will also include leisure and commercial facilities, with space for seven restaurants along the Exeter Road side of the development, a shop, children's play areas and a piazza to link the scheme with other town centre developments. 

Underground car parking will be provided at the site for 369 residents and visitors, plus 225 public spaces. There will also be space for dozens of bicycles.

Bournemouth Council leader John Beesley commented: "This would be the largest project of its kind ever undertaken in Bournemouth. The scheme will be transformational, combining new homes, leisure and social infrastructure in a location where people will want to live, work and socialise."

Duncan Johnson of the Bournemouth Development Company said: "Health and vitality underpin the design concept, which successfully combines safe and secure town centre living in an attractive seaside location with facilities that residents and visitors need."

The Winter Gardens scheme is the largest of 16 town centre projects the partnership is working on, with the 50 per cent ownership enabling the council to generate revenues to spend on other schemes.