The Land of Might-Have-Been: Happyland’s future in doubt

Coinslot Bournemouth Happyland
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The future of a Bournemouth beachfront arcade remains in limbo, with the west side of Happyland fenced off for some weeks, including the venue’s ice-cream parlour.

Bournemouth Borough Council was in discussions with the landlord of Happyland, Meyrick Estate, over the long-term plan for the building earlier this summer.

Cllr John Beesley told local media that the “currently under-utilised” site was being analysed for its “viable redevelopment potential” as part of the council’s seafront strategy.

However the council has stated that no decision or even options regarding the site’s future have been discussed in recent months and are unlikely to be for some weeks. Meanwhile, Happyland has declined to comment on the issue.

Ironically, the building which currently houses the arcade, was built by the council 75 years ago as part of a large scale investment to improve facilities for bathers at the West Beach promenade.

The building was commissioned in the nick of time as the clouds of conflict were already massing over Europe, and the outbreak of the Second World War would make such public spending on leisure attractions unthinkable for years to come. Ironic then that the new worries concerning Happyland’s future coincide with Britain’s latest disillusionment with Europe – Brexit.

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