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Poole BID and Arts University work together to help Town Centre thrive

Top young architects from Bournemouth are being drafted in to help revitalise Poole town centre.

The previously thriving area is suffering because of a decline in visitor numbers and trade. Companies in Poole have committed to promote the Town Centre and the Quay by forming a Business Improvement District, better known as a BID.

Now Poole BID is looking to architectural students for fresh ideas to help bring back the town’s former prosperity. While some areas of the Town Centre and Quay still reflect Poole’s proud trading and cultural history, other parts are looking run down and neglected.

Historic Poole - Hotel du Vin

Historic Poole – Hotel du Vin

By working in partnership with the Arts University Bournemouth the BID hopes the vitality of the High Street can be recaptured and the once thriving maritime town regenerated and reinvigorated.

The students have been given the challenge of taking a critical look at the Town Centre by assessing the repairs which are needed to buildings, suggesting how to reinstate historical and architectural features and considering how empty properties can be brought back to life. The resulting architectural surveys will help influence a blue print for the future of the town.

BID director Gabi Naish said: “Poole has declined both as a retail and visitor destination over the last 20 years and major intervention is needed to reverse this. The BID aims to bring back the traditional life and vitality of the High Street which will attract crowds as in the past. It is exciting to have this opportunity to work with such talented students.”

Poole Bus Station

Poole Bus Station

The BID, led by volunteers committed to enhancing the area, has identified many issues which need tackling to make the area a more attractive place to live, visit and work. These include badly maintained buildings, street clutter, poor signage and advertising, empty premises and traffic problems, all of which detract from the character of the BID area.

It is also argued that the wonderful historic buildings, which display a range of architectural styles and are a proud reminder of the town’s past, are being overshadowed by the modern developments. Instead they should be celebrated.

Gabi added: “Poole has so much to offer to residents and traders but much of its heritage is in decline. With the help of the Arts University, the BID aims to highlight what can be done to reverse this and restore the qualities that have brought prosperity and popularity to the town for so many centuries.

“It is essential that the town looks to the future as well as celebrating the past, and we are excited about getting ideas from young people who will see Poole with fresh eyes.”