It’s time to start over for Boscombe and its residents.
On November 8th, Boscombe Regeneration Partnership submitted plans for a second phase of improvements to the Boscombe area, particularly to Boscombe Crescent, with the works hopefully to start by spring next year.
The first part of the works coincided with the granting of a premises license in the first months of this year which made it possible to stage small events on the Crescent.
By that time Councillor Jane Kelly, Cabinet Member for Partnerships and Regeneration, said: “The improvements to Boscombe Crescent will add to the ongoing work to regenerate and enhance Boscombe as a place to live, work and visit. These improvement works will help to bring this public space back in to use, reduce anti-social behaviour and create a green area that local people can be proud of and will use.”
The project has received funding of £55,000 from the Council, that will be used to make decorative and substantial improvements to the Crescent.
The main aim is encouraging people to come to Boscombe and make it a really good place to live in.
The plans submitted include a restoration process of Boscombe Crescent, which according to many residents is still one of the most problematic places but also one of the most promising starting points for Boscombe’s regeneration. There are also plans for some improvements on Christchurch Road as it is the main shopping area in Boscombe.
The project includes the addition of a footpath for pedestrians going through the park from Walpole Road to the Christchurch Road and some decorative improvements to the entrance. Block work paving, new benches and new lighting are planned and importantly a dedicated electricity supply to cater for outdoor events held in the park.
Landscape Manager for Bournemouth Borough Council David Ifould said: “The Crescent is a really important space in Boscombe; both as a ‘first impression’ to the area and as an opportunity to show how investment and care can start to bring about a positive change. The Council, as part of the ‘Backing Boscombe’ project, has taken a lot of time to work with local residents through a variety of consultations to create somewhere better to visit and we’re greatly looking forward to seeing the scheme complete.”
These may sound like good plans but many local residents do not seem convinced they will result in any real change.
Dave Maskell, manager and owner of Minton Lodge Hotel, located on the Crescent said: “We appreciate the initiative but it will take years before we can really see things changing. The situation is getting worse every year and you can’t really define this an ideal tourist area right now.”
He added: “The problem is that there is still too much crime, especially drug dealing, and during the past years Boscome has been put aside.”
Silvia Pettet, manager of a well known charity shop on Christchurch Road, has been living in Boscombe for 27 years. She said: “We really need some improvements here, the situation is not good at all. It would probably take a lot of money to realise effective improvements to the area. The Police are doing really good but crime is still present and it will take some time before this will be an attractive public space. But it would be lovely to finally see more families and tourists going around.”
However both Boscombe regeneration Partnership and residents agree it will need everybody’s collaboration in order to achieve the target.
The ‘Baking Boscombe’ campaign has based the development of projects first of all on the identification of the positive stories from the area and stimulating the locals’ will to regenerate their neighborhood. Residents were invited to express their opinion on what they would like Boscombe to be like. Many comments were received and followed by events and consultations where people clearly asked for job opportunities, innovation in education, clean and finally safe streets.
It needs volunteers time and funds, and they are all really difficult to find, but maybe with everybody’s help and with small targeted interventions it could be possible to one day see Boscombe as it used to be.