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 – – 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

Project background

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

September 2021

Planning Application No 7-2021-1696-J submitted 28th September; public consultation period closed 19th November

31st October 2021

Season closed, tenants have vacated the building

November 2021 - May 2022

Site preparations and demolition of building

July 2022

Planning Application No 7-2021-1696-J granted at the Planning Committee meeting on 21st July. Councillors approved the application by a majority vote of 11 in favour and one against.

Spring 2022 - Summer 2023

High quality temporary restaurant operating, including toilets -

July 2020

  • 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.

February 2021

  • 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.

May 2021

  • 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.

Site photos, April 2021


Project Details

Budget £6.8 million
Funding BCP Council
Project Lead Andrew Emery, Resort Development & Strategic Planning Manager

BCP Seafront Strategy

In development now, a bold and exciting vision for a world class seafront

Read about it