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Bournemouth town centre – ready for some action?

25 July 2012
by Dan

Bournemouth Town Centre Area Action Plan um area…

No I’m not tryng to incite some kind of mass uprising, I’m referring to a new planning policy document on its way from Bournemouth Borough Council. We have often mentioned the forthcoming Bournemouth Core Strategy in our news but haven’t mentioned that being developed in parallel with this is the Bournemouth Town Centre Area Action Plan.  According to the document itself:

“On adoption the AAP will form part of the statutory development plan for the Borough and the policies contained within it will provide an holistic approach to guide change, acting as the basis for development management decisions across the Town Centre to 2026.”

Got that? Ok to put it another way it’s 150 pages of extended gumpf about the Council’s aspirations for the town centre from St Michael’s to St Swithun’s roundabouts. Well it’s someone at the Council’s aspirations for the town centre – I can’t imagine that everyone up there will follow the great range of  planning-speak terms which effortlessly crop up including: public realm, sense of arrival, vitality and viability, green infrastructure, green knowledge economy, delivery mechanisms, over-arching spatial strategy…

Included within the document are policies for no less than 31 “development sites” the vast majority of which look completely pie-in-the-sky in today’s market – but who knows someone might think it worth redeveloping the Lansdowne Asda within the next 14 years? The rest of it is really quite vague. We learn that “tall buildings” are considered to be those which are significantly taller than their neighbours; and/or significantly change the skyline; and/or are taller than six commercial storeys (?) or equivalent. Brilliant. Anyway these tall buildings will be allowed at Richmond Hill and the Lansdowne with a presumption against them elsewhere. Oh unless fully justified.

Anyway the current situation with the AAP is that the Examination was conducted alongside the Core Strategy by Inspector Geoff Salter and is now closed. The Council are currently consulting on the “Schedule of Main Modifications” drawn up following the Examination until 10 August. After that the Inspector will at some point draft his report and let the Council know whether he considers the document sound or not. After which they will adopt it and it can begin the process of gathering dust, sorry I mean “implementation”.

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