On Air Now
Heart Breakfast with Jamie Theakston and Lucy Horobin 6:30am - 10am
Council bosses in Bournemouth are now deciding the future of the hated Waterfront building, now they've seciured a deal to buy the final lease.
They'd bought the leases for the other businesses in the building, but after a deal was struck last night they now own the final lease, for the IMAX cinema itself.
The 3D cinema closed in 2005 after only being open for three years, and just three restaurants have stayed open inside the building since.
People in Bournemouth have complained for years that the building blocks views of the sea and should be pulled down, and soon they'll get their wish.
Bournemouth's deputy Council Leader John Beesley's told Heart:
"We've finally got hold of the last piece of the jigsaw, so we've now effectively got vacant possession of the IMAX building and we can now press ahead with our plans for the future.
"We've had a lot of public consultation on this, in fact an unprecedented amount in terms of response from local residents. We're feeding all that into the process so we can go forward with a scheme that will satisfy the majority of people, particularly making sure that any development is appropriate to that site in future."
We asked him what suggestions there have been to replace the building, and he told us:
"Well there have been a number that have come forward. Most of them involve leisure so they involve water facilities, gardens, public open space and entertainment but of course we need to look a little bit wider to the adjoining sites, all of which are either owned or controlled by the council. That's quite important so that we get something that will stand the test of time alongside those other sites.
" I think the public would expect us to be very open-minded about it at this stage.
"There's no question about the unpopularity of the building, most particularly around its height, bulk and mass - so it's an inappropriate building on that site and we've been very mindful of what local residents think about it."
He's also confirmed it WILL be knocked down:
"Once we've got our plans in place we can begin the substantial demolition of the building. I think what we're doing is very measured and is looking to the long term.
"I would hope that we will be able to commence that in the first half of next year, but we don't want to be boxed into a timetable that we can't meet.
"It's a very positive step for the town and it's the end of this first phase by getting vacant possession of the building. There are plenty of people who didn't believe that we could do it, and certainly that we could do it in the timescale and within the costs that we did. I'm very pleased that we've got to that point but there's still a long way to go."