Dorset

Castlepoint car park repairs get go-ahead

Castlepoint car park in Bournemouth
Image caption Structural problems emerged less than two years after the shopping centre opened

Work to rebuild a shopping centre car park that has been beset with structural problems for a decade will now go ahead in the spring of 2015.

Castlepoint in Bournemouth opened in 2003 but the two-level car park has been reinforced with props since 2005 when it was found to be unsafe.

Bournemouth Borough Council has granted planning permission for it to be demolished and rebuilt in sections.

Work is expected to be completed by Christmas 2018.

Sean Jeffery, managing director of Kier Infrastructure UK, which built the shopping centre, said: "This is very welcome news. Together with the Castlepoint Partnership, we have worked hard to reach this stage.

"There remain a few key steps to put in place, but this consent brings us closer to being able to start work on-site."

Image caption Some shops may have temporary doors constructed while others may close for a few days

The rebuild has been delayed for years as a result of legal wrangling.

Standard Life Investments, which manages the centre on behalf of Castlepoint Partnership, would not reveal the cost of the rebuild but said there would be no cost to tenants.

To minimise disruption, work will be carried out in five phases, each taking nine to 10 months, stopping for six weeks each Christmas.

Additional parking will be created underneath existing stores to maintain at least 2,500 spaces - the amount needed at peak times.

When the project is complete, the additional spaces will be turned into more shops.

The walkways in front of the upper level stores will also be replaced in phases.

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