Councillors gave the go-ahead for Europe’s first artificial surf reef
Spontaneous applause from members of the public and local residents broke
out at a packed Bournemouth Cabinet meeting as Councillors gave the
go-ahead to exciting plans for Europes first artificial surf reef, at Boscombe.
A Planning application for the remainder of the surfing-themed leisure
scheme at Boscombe Spa could be submitted within days.
Despite having to be drastically changed following the listing of the Pier
entrance building last December, the £8million regeneration still includes
the top priorities of local people, when surveyed in 2003. These include:
* an £800,000 surf reef
* a restaurant with panoramic views – in the revamped and refurbished
* a revitalised and reopened Boscombe Pier
* improved landscaping, lighting and street furniture – including a
piazza and open air events space
* no amusement arcade.
The new scheme also includes 42 ‘super chalets’ for purchase and hire, a
Heritage Display, surfing tuition and themed retail, public art and
sculpture, and improved changing / toilet facilities.
Members of the public turned out in force to hear the debate, and the only
public deputation received at the meeting was in support of the reef, from
the Wessex Surf Club. Taking place just a stones throw from the site, at
the Chine Hotel Boscombe, Councillors and residents heard a number of
presentations specifically about the surf reef – on its construction, its
environmental impact, how it works, and safety issues for bathers and
surfers. Professor Kerry Black, the worlds leading expert on artificial
reefs, Dr David Harlow, coastal protection professional, the Council’s
Head of Tourism Mark Smith and the RNLI’s Beach Safety expert Matt Horton
all addressed the meeting in presentations lasting some 45 minutes.
Cllr Rob Copeland, Cabinet Member and local Ward Councillor said, “I am
absolutely delighted that we have been able to approve the surf reef
tonight, and give the go-ahead for the planning application on the rest of
the scheme to be submitted. We are delivering what extensive public
consultation has told us that people want, and tonight the economic
benefits to the local area have been made very clear to us – this is
nothing but excellent news for Bosocmbe, and for Bournemouth.”
Leader of the Council Cllr Richard Smith praised the scheme for being an
innovative way of “allowing local people and visitors to enjoy our assets
and take part in healthy activities.”
Continuing the extensive public information and consultation campaign that
has supported the scheme throughout, eight road shows in the Boscombe area
are now planned to support the planning process, give local people key
facts and information, and give those with a view the opportunity to
comment. These will take place on 12th, 13th, 23rd, 24th and 25th May at
the Sovereign Centre, and 26th, 27th and 28th May at Boscombe Pier.
Back in 2003, the Council spent time and money carrying out one of the
most comprehensive public consultations ever undertaken by Bournemouth Council.
* Surveying 1,200 residents from across the Town
* Plus an additional 1,100 randomly selected people from Boscombe
* Numerous presentations to local groups and organisations
* In-depth discussion groups with parents, older people and residents.
The top priorities of residents, as identified by this consultation, are
all accommodated in the Boscombe scheme.