On Friday I had a very productive meeting with Directors from both South West Trains and AFC Bournemouth. It was great to bring the two together to discuss Pokesdown for Boscombe station and possible improvements for the future. As the main train station for AFC Bournemouth fans and stadium visitors, with AFC Bournemouth’s fantastic promotion to the Premier League the station has become increasingly busy and in need of a bit of a makeover!
Firstly, I am delighted to confirm that, after some hard campaigning and a number of meetings with both South West Trains and Network Rail, new lifts will be built for Pokesdown station, with works commencing next year. This is a fantastic result and a much-needed upgrade for the station to meet the needs of its increasing number of station users.
This led me to think of what more we could do to cheer up what has until now been a rather lifeless and run-down local train station. This culminated in my meeting on Friday, where the following options for the station were discussed;
- Given the proximity to AFC Bournemouth, it seems like a fantastic and well-deserved opportunity for the club to put their stamp on the station. One option would be to add a subtitle/strapline to the station sign so that it reads ‘Pokesdown for Boscombe: Home of AFC Bournemouth’. This would be an easy-to-achieve and relatively cheap option that has been done similarly in stations such as Bournemouth which has the subtext ‘Home of Bournemouth University’.
- Another option would be for AFC Bournemouth to use some of the blank space at the station for club billboards and posters. This would significantly lift the colour of the station and further cement it as a home for the club. These billboards would be maintained by AFC Bournemouth and although there would be a slightly higher cost with this option, there would be no rental charge for placing their boards there.
- Finally, we had some interesting discussions about more long-term options for Pokesdown station, particularly how to make it appealing but also practical for fans and visitors, whilst respecting the needs of the local residents. We discussed the idea of using the northern platform side to build a generous walkway that would cut through to Gloucester Road and then lead on to the AFCB club itself, thus avoiding large residential areas that are currently overwhelmed by the volume of fans passing through on match days. This of course would be a long-term project requiring much discussion with a number of parties, and is one that would have to be funded by South West Trains at significant cost to them. I hope to speak with members of Bournemouth Council about these discussions in the near future.
I felt that this meeting was very productive and if implemented, the plans discussed would cement AFCB’s commitment to stay in their current location at the heart of Bournemouth.