Page last updated at 10:06 GMT, Saturday, 27 March 2010

Award for Boscombe's Spa Village

Boscombe's Overstrand building and surf pods
The once rundown resort has had its pier and promenade restored

The multimillion-pound redevelopment of a once rundown Dorset seafront has scooped a regeneration award.

Boscombe's Spa Village, home to Europe's first artificial surf reef, was named best project at the Local Government Chronicle Awards.

Bournemouth Borough Council said the recognition was due to the support it had received from local entrepreneurs and years of team work.

The awards recognise local government initiatives.

Among the improvements are the restorations of the pier and promenade and a luxury housing development featuring £1m apartments.

The 120-year-old pier was recently voted the National Piers Society's Pier of the Year 2010.

'Surf lifestyle'

The council said that part of the project's success was down to business owners locating to the area.

Councillor Stephen MacLoughlin, leader of the council, congratulated all involved in the regeneration.

"I don't believe we would have won this award without the support of local entrepreneurs who have believed and invested in the seafront," he added.

Some see that as a risk, I saw it as an opportunity to make a real difference to an area that I love
Mark Cribb, Urban Reef

The seafront also boasts a number of specially-designed beach pods by fashion designer Wayne Hemingway.

Mark Cribb, owner of Urban Reef restaurant, said: "I'm proud to be associated with Boscombe and with the overstrand development.

"Some see that as a risk, I saw it as an opportunity to make a real difference to an area that I love."

The council claims the regeneration has rebranded the economically and socially deprived seafront into a year-round 21st Century surf lifestyle destination.

It added that since completion, 91 long term jobs had been created on site and visitor numbers had increased by 32%.

The development features a £3m underwater artificial surf reef which enhances the waves and is similar to designs in New Zealand and Australia.

But the surf reef has attracted some controversy after the project doubled in price and it has received a mixed response from surfers.

About 5,000 people turned out to the first Sorted Surf Festival last weekend, which will become an annual event.



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SEE ALSO
Annual spot for reef surf contest
22 Mar 10 |  Dorset
Surf reef performance report due
26 Feb 10 |  Dorset
Surf reef beach huts still unsold
27 Nov 09 |  Dorset
Council seeks to recoup reef cost
06 Nov 09 |  Dorset
Surf reef opens after year delay
02 Nov 09 |  Dorset

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