Dorset

Bournemouth's Waterfront Imax building bids turned down

The Waterfront building in Bournemouth
Image caption The Waterfront building blocks seafront views

Work to lower a building that blocks Bournemouth's seafront views has hit a stumbling block after the council turned down every bid from developers.

Bournemouth Borough Council plans to reduce the Waterfront building's height by 25ft (8m) to reclaim the views.

But it said no suitable plans had been submitted.

It now wants the Bournemouth Development Company, a public-private partnership between the council and an investment firm, to develop the site.

The council wants the building, which currently houses restaurants and a former Imax cinema, to become an all-weather leisure and/or cultural attraction by the summer of 2012.

More than 3,000 people took part in a public consultation last year to have their say on what this should be.

The results showed people wanted a water park, tropical gardens and a performing arts space. A rooftop terrace will also be created.

Image caption A cherry-picker was used to help remove the Imax cinema sign on the building in March

Deputy council leader and portfolio holder for resources, Councillor John Beesley, said: "Our thanks go to all of the bidders who submitted expressions of interest in a very difficult economic climate.

"Unfortunately, none of these bids sufficiently fits with our aspirations or achieves an acceptable balance between leisure attractions and commercial uses, based on the results of the public consultation in March 2010.

"We are not prepared to compromise on the future of the Waterfront site.

"We know how much people dislike the current building; they want better views and expect good quality development which enhances their town centre and seafront."

In March, a cherry-picker removed the Imax sign but no other work to reduce the height of the building has yet begun.

The Bournemouth Development Company was established earlier this year to shape future developments in the town centre.

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