IMAX Building Will Be Demolished

Bournemouth's unpopular IMAX building is set to be demolished - the council want it to become an open-air events space.

An all party Task & Finish Group of Bournemouth Councillors is recommending that the Waterfront building is demolished and a flexible open-air events space developed in its place.The events programme, which could be managed by BH Live, would include concerts by the BSO and performances from Pavilion Dance. 

It could also include drama performances and pop concerts, sports events such as beach volleyball and racquet sports, seasonal offers such as speciality markets and an open air cinema, and extreme sports attractions such as zorbing, skateboarding, BMX and brushboarding facilities.

Chairman of the Task & Finish Group and Leader of the Council Cllr John Beesley explains: "Our aim has always been to substantially demolish the building. Since acquiring the site, we have been committed to improving the view and providing an attraction on the site that local people can enjoy. "

"Over 3,500 people responded to a public consultation in 2010 on the future of the site, with an entertainment and events space amongst the top preferred uses. I am delighted that the Council is able to bring about something in which we can have confidence and that local people will use and enjoy at Pier Approach."

"Despite other operators not being able to come up with suitable proposals for the site at present, we are not prepared to allow the building to sit there in its current form, waiting for the market to pick up. This is part of an incremental improvement of the area paving the way for longer term regeneration through The Bournemouth Development Company. We know how strong local people?s desire is to see the building demolished and the space used for something they can use and appreciate."

He continues, "Ultimately, the private sector will be involved in delivering a comprehensive redevelopment of the wider area, but we know from our market testing that the development market is not buoyant enough to take forward acceptable schemes at present. That is why Cabinet will be asked on 25th April to agree to use the remaining £2million of the £8.5million budget to demolish the building and create a quality outdoor events space as phase one of the wider site."

Terence O'Rourke, Chairman of the BSO said: "We are working closely with the Council and are actively seeking ways of increasing our presence in the town, particularly in the summer months. The BSO is very excited about any opportunities to bring further BSO events and performances to Bournemouth and we look forward to seeing how these plans develop and to helping the Council in any way that we can."

Peter Gunn, Chief Executive of BH Live, added: "We have a great deal of experience of bringing quality events to our current venues, which include the BIC and Pavilion Theatre. We welcome discussions on any further opportunities to be involved in complimenting what Bournemouth, and our venues, can offer residents and visitors."