Dorset

Bournemouth hotel plan rethink as council mulls BIC revamp

Bournemouth International Centre Image copyright Google
Image caption Revised plans could include the redevelopment of Bournemouth International Centre

A controversial plan by Bournemouth's council to build a £70m hotel could be halted in favour of redeveloping Bournemouth International Centre (BIC).

The former Bournemouth Borough Council had planned to build the complex on land it owned next to the BIC venue.

But a report to the new Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council recommends scrapping the hotel plan and considering wider options for the BIC.

Opposition councillors said abandoning the hotel scheme was "short sighted".

Bournemouth Borough Council previously acquired the site in Priory Road, next to the arts and conference venue, with grant funding from the former South West Regional Development Agency on the condition that a hotel be built there.

'Window of opportunity'

The plans, which involved borrowing £70m to fund construction, were halted in May 2018 following a legal challenge by other hoteliers, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

But the procurement process was restarted in October and is now ready to be put out to tender.

The report said: "Having got to this point, officers have been reviewing the options and would now recommend that, before the tender process is commenced, cabinet should reconsider the opportunity and look at the site as a whole, including the BIC.

"This would mean the cessation of the hotel project in its current format."

BCP's cabinet is being asked to allocated £170,000 for a feasibility study at their meeting on Friday.

But former Bournemouth Borough Council cabinet member Philip Broadhead, Conservative, warned BCP's alliance cabinet not to "throw away" work that had already been done.

BCP regeneration councillor Mark Howell said there was a "window of opportunity" to consider an overhaul of the wider BIC site and a feasibility study would allow the council and BH Live, which runs the centre, to consider "redevelopment opportunities for the site".

Image copyright Google
Image caption The site was acquired by Bournemouth Borough Council and inherited by Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council

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