Surf Reef Questions

Public / Member briefing

Q&As for the Boscombe Spa Village Budget

Background to the Boscombe Spa Village Project
The Boscombe Spa Village project is going well and is on schedule to deliver all the promised benefits with most elements coming in at or below the original budget projections. This includes the renovation of Boscombe Pier and the Overstrand building, replacement toilet provision, highway alterations and hard landscaping, electronic parking signage, seasonal park & ride, and new utility supplies. The works programme is now well underway and the scheme is due to be fully completed by the end of this year. Investment in Boscombe Spa Village is complementary to the Government-funded beach replenishment works undertaken during the last two years. The reinvestment into the seafront will maintain Bournemouth’s position as the UK’s premier beach resort.

How are you paying for the scheme?
The cost of delivering the Boscombe Spa Village redevelopment is entirely covered by the original capital receipt and additional sales-linked (overage) payment from Barratt Homes. The capital receipt comes from the sale of part of the Honeycombe Chine car park to for £9.66million. In addition, the Council is expected to receive a sales-linked (overage) payment of up to £750,000 within the next 18 months which relates to the sales of properties at the site.

We are now able to commit the entire £9.66million capital receipt and the £750,000 expected sales-linked (overage) payment to regenerating Boscombe seafront, including a state-of-the-art surf reef for Boscombe. This is Boscombe’s money and it is appropriate that it should be spent to benefit Boscombe.

Why have the costs of the reef changed?
The final construction element of the scheme, the Surf Reef, is the most innovative and complex part of the Boscombe Spa Village project. Being the first of its kind in the Northern Hemisphere and with the intricacies of British tidal waters, it was only possible to have a more precise cost estimate once the sea bed surveys had been carried out and detailed engineering construction and management requirements specified. We are now able to commit the entire £9.66million capital receipt and the £750,000 expected sales-linked payment to regenerating Boscombe seafront, resulting in an absolute state-of-the-art surf reef for Boscombe.

Taking this projected change in expenditure and incorporating the financial savings made in other elements, the cost of delivering the Boscombe Spa Village redevelopment itself is entirely covered by the original capital receipt from Barratt Homes (as shown in the table below). Part of this capital receipt has already provided funding that helped shape the highly successful restorations at Boscombe Chine Gardens, but the projected overage payment ensures no cost to the Bournemouth tax payer.

The 2006 construction cost figure of £1.359 million was the best estimate that could be made at the time for what was a totally new marine engineering project for Britain. It is only now the detailed specification work has been done that the actual cost can now be projected. The cost for the reef has now been finalised, and the project itself is still funded within the capital received from Barratt homes. The cost variances have arisen as a result of:

longer than anticipated time to receive government consents, specifically in relation to the Food and Environment Protection Act (FEPA) licence due to the complex and unique nature of the project, brought with it additional inflationary building costs and meant that much of the sand harvested for the reef’s construction was displaced through natural weather conditions, meaning additional sand has had to be bought.
During this 12-month period whilst negotiating the FEPA licence, the reef design was finalised and the construction methodology determined. This involved careful refinement to the design and the construction methodology, taking into account two years of advancement in reef design and build technology to ensure the most up-to-date technology, and the highly complex technical installation requirements for a tidal location in Britain. This means we now have a reef that is far more advanced than any previous models. It has been specifically designed for surfing conditions in that part of Boscombe, which means carefully tailored sand-bags in terms of size and where they are placed, and a much more stable construction. This will result in excellent consistency in terms of wave height and shape, giving a much better quality surfing experience overall.
Since the licence has been granted, the designers of the reef, ASR Ltd, have also been commissioned as the constructors of the reef on a performance-based contract. This ensures the reef will perform to pre-stated standards and minimises risk to the Council. The final £150,000 construction payment to ASR Ltd will only be paid when we are certain that the quality waves we have specified are actually achieved at Boscombe. The contractor has also accepted an obligation to complete the construction of the reef by the end of this year.

How much economic value will the surf reef provide?
An Economic Impact Assessment has suggested that the reef will provide direct income of up to £3million per annum, and the image value of the reef alone is estimated at £10million. It will generate an estimated 60 full-time and 30 part-time jobs. A survey in Cornwall revealed that surfers spend 8% more than other holidaymakers.

The surf reef will place Bournemouth firmly on the UK surfing map and will be the most innovative sports and tourist attraction in the South. The reef will act as a ramp, pushing waves upwards, doubling their size and improving their shape for surfers. As a result, the number of good surfing days will be doubled. Bournemouth already has an established surfing community, but the reef will act as a draw for visitors to the area, enhancing water sports on offer including kite-surfing, windsurfing, wake-boarding, kayaking, SCUBA-diving, sailing and skim-boarding.

Not only will the reef be a free water sports facility, it is a green, ecologically friendly feature. The reef uses no man-made energy, but harnesses nature’s energy.

Full implementation of the scheme, including the surf reef, is imperative for the Council to derive the improved revenue streams from the project which are incorporated in the Leisure Services’ budget. These include income from the new beach chalets and the catering and retail opportunities to be provided by external contractors at the Pier Entrance Building and the Overstrand complex.

The surf reef is the vital catalyst for improving the area. Already it is having a positive effect with new boutique hotels, such as Urban Beach, opening up in preparation for an increase in the affluent surf consumer market. New boutique shops such as SourceD Clothing, unique caf├ęs such as Boscanova and the Whole Food Co-Op are changing the community.
The project has attracted high-profile names such as Red or Dead founders, the Hemingways, to work with the Council. Wayne Hemingway, HemingwayDesign, who is redesigning the Overstrand building in Boscombe seafront says: “We love Bournemouth and the Boscombe Overstrand project is one of the most exciting we’ve ever done. With the great work being done on the Pier and Europe’s first artificial surf reef, Boscombe is about to become big news. We are designing wonderful, unique beach chalets for both surfers and beach lovers alike. We want to re-establish a sense of community on Boscombe seafront, by creating something modern and unique.”

On the seafront the surf reef and super beach huts will be accompanied by a surf retail outlet, a surfing school and a glass-fronted restaurant offering fantastic panoramic views of Bournemouth and the Solent. There will also be a catering outlet selling good-quality food-to-go, an RNLI beach lifeguard station, changing rooms, toilets and hot showers, all contributing to the major transformation of Boscombe seafront.

House prices increased in the area 30% in 18 months during 2006/2007 as a result of news about the surf reef.

Will there be plans for additional car parking on the East Overcliff?
When planning permission was granted, it was a condition that no permanent additional parking on the East Overcliff should be developed until a review had been undertaken two years after the project’s completion. If the traffic impact review shows that additional parking is required, the Council will re-examine the situation for the East Overcliff. In the interim the promised electronic parking space signs have been installed and the Park & Ride scheme has been launched to ease congestion


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