Southbourne Beach Development Project
Published 30th November 2020, last updated July 2023
Progress update – Planning permission for the project (ref: 7-2021-1696-J) was granted at the Planning Committee meeting on 21/07/22. Councillors approved the application by a majority vote of 11 in favour and one against.
A temporary, high quality dog-friendly restaurant and bar – sobobeach.co.uk – replaces the recently demolished bistro building
The Southbourne Beach Development Project aims to deliver a new year-round destination visitor attraction and local amenities including:
- A larger restaurant and takeaway kiosk with external seating area
- Improved public toilets
- 17 overnight-stay Beach Lodges for short-term holiday rental
- Beach showers and cycle stands
The new proposal will sit on the same footprint as the existing building whilst opening up the views of the beach when arriving via St Catherine’s Path.
Artist’s impressions of the proposed building:
The before-and-after slider above compares views on arrival via Warren Edge Car Park
Situated between Southbourne and Hengistbury Head, the Bistro on the Beach was popular with both visitors and local residents, offering multiple uses including as a restaurant and takeaway, seafront office, public toilets, showers and day-use beach huts. The property was originally one of three identical buildings constructed in the 1970s. While two of these buildings were demolished in 2014, building structural reports stated that the bistro building had reached end of life.
9th September 2021
Public online information event via Teams
31st October 2021
Season closed, tenants have vacated the building
November 2021 - May 2022
Site preparations and demolition of building
- Concept designs were shared with the public.
- Designs showed a long linear structure with a tower at the eastern end. They also included a footbridge from Warren Edge Car Park to the tower and an internal lift providing improved access to the promenade and the beach.
- The designs were further developed and presented to the Bournemouth Design Panel Review (DPR) and the BCP Planning Officer (PO) for constructive feedback as part of a pre-planning application. About the Bournemouth Design Panel (pdf)
- Key issues were around the height and scale of the building when set against the cliff and visual impact of the bridge and lift from the clifftop promenade.
- The concept designs were revised to a more sympathetic scale without sacrificing the vision of turning Southbourne into a year-round destination as set out in the Seafront Strategy.
- The requirement from the DPR to reduce the scale of the building has resulted in the removal of the public access bridge and lift.
- The designs have also adopted a smoother flow to align the building with other nearby seafront developments such as Boscombe Pier and the Overstrand.
- Ground investigation works took place to help inform the foundation design of the new proposed development.
- BCP Council still wants to improve access to Southbourne beach and will be investigating alternative methods as part of the broader Seafront Strategy.
Budget £6.8 million
Funding BCP Council
Project Lead Andrew Emery, Resort Development & Strategic Planning Manager