The Development of Poole High street

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Historic England is an excellent organisation which protects our urban heritage, however their reported objection to the multiplex cinema proposed for Poole is, it is considered, misplaced.

The decline of Poole’s High Street has been a gradual process over many decades. It has coincided with the misguided phase 2 of the then Arndale Centre which cut the top of the high street off from the George roundabout, the development of Tower Park as an out of town destination, a general lack of investment in the High Street and Quay itself and the rise of on line shopping.

It is regrettable that several of these issues were “own goals” indeed the latest increase in car parking charges may potentially be put into this category, however the Business Improvement District (BID) team of Poole High Street has started to energize the situation and there is a real drive to improve things.

The inclusion of a multiplex will drive footfall, it will undoubtedly increase the number of people visiting the centre of town and add a “glow” the the Kingland Crescent and Falkland Square area. It is considered that this is a start, not the end, and the aim must be to gradually move people down the High Street to the Quay. The Multiplex is considered to add to the number of people coming to Poole in the evening, not merely shifting people from the lower High Street to the top.

By looking around at other town centres, the successful streets have adapted by making themselves more “human”. Indeed, all the bricks and mortar retail units are being forced to adapt, to offer a personal experience, whilst High Streets which thrive, like that in Falmouth, frequently offer products which are original and not mainstream. People can by products on line but they crave experiences and social interaction – hence the rise of coffee shops, restaurants and meeting places, a product that you can’t buy on a computer.

There is plenty more work to do and plenty more ideas to explore in order to breath life into our High Street, but lets not decry the first real investment in the town centre for the fear of change. Poole’s heritage is critical, however the High Street needs life, it needs people and energy as well as investment. The Society for Poole fully supports Poole heritage but also the investment in a multiplex and the restaurants, and we look forward to assisting where possible to support the BID team in reenergizing the whole High Street.

Gerald Rigler

Chairman Society for Poole Planning Committee

Notes

The Society for Poole was founded as The Society of Poole Men in 1924 and since then has been saving, supporting and promoting Poole: its history, culture and people. The Society for Poole, open to all with a passion for Poole, has been responsible initially saving Scaplen’s Court, supporting events such as Beating of the Bounds, and raising money for local charities and other organisations throughout Poole.

Mike Pearce 07795641218

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