A modern civic centre in which residents can easily attend public meetings and functions in person or online, is now a step closer. This follows improvements to the civic space within the newly remodelled BCP Council Civic Centre, formerly the Bournemouth Town Hall, being agreed at Cabinet.
Cllr Drew Mellor, Leader of BCP Council said: “Remodelling the civic space will make it fit for purpose for the public, as well as facilitate modern, more efficient ways of working for our staff and councillors. The works will give people with disabilities the same independent access to the building as any other member of the public, and the introduction of new technology will ensure access to council meetings remains available to all. This is good for local democracy and creates greater transparency over how important council decisions are made.”
Whilst the initial phase of works agreed by cabinet will focus on the council chamber and committee meeting rooms, a second phase of work will be evaluated to better understand the best way to achieve improved accessibility and fire safety measures. This will result in a further report to cabinet in due course.
The budget for the delivery of phase one the BCP Council civic space is £1.067 million, including a 17.5% contingency to account for fluctuations in the supply chain currently being experienced. This also includes feasibility funding for the accessibility and fire safety works.
A Members Working Group was established in early 2021, to identify the needs of the civic space within the newly remodelled BCP Council Civic Centre. A number of key improvements were identified including improved access for the public, up-to-date technology, sound proofing, flexible meeting space, and clear signage for the public.
As parts of the space were classified as grade II listed in 2001, and date back to the Mont Dore Hotel built between 1881-1885, the council will need to undertake all works within the constraints of its heritage listing.
The space is used for civic purposes, including council meetings, board, committee and panel meetings, school appeals and election duties. It is a popular venue for weddings and civil partnerships and is used by external organisations for meetings. It also provides accommodation for the Bournemouth Charter Trustees including the Bournemouth Mayoralty.