Summary: 24 questionnaires were completed over the two drop-in sessions held on the 6th April and 11th April 2019. Feedback about the overall concept of the new design was largely positive: 59% liked the images and 75% were happy about the location. Many view the project as an exciting opportunity to maximise what Middle Beach has to offer, particularly in terms of the views from the café and ease of access to those with limited mobility. Preserving the traditional and homely feel of the café, as well as maintaining a similar food and drink offer, is very important to people. Some respondents are however concerned that moving the facilities further from the beach might change the feel of the café; with many stressing that the design of the building and ensuring safe access to the beach are imperative to overcoming this issue.  Whilst most like the idea of a seasonal pop-up facility, 25% of respondents are concerned that the Coombe is not the best location for this. Keeping the natural and wild feel of the area around the facilities is particularly important to beach users.

Demographics

  • 38% of respondents live in Studland village; a further 33% live in Purbeck; 21% live in Poole or Bournemouth; 8% live further afield.
  • 25% of people use the café at any time of day; 21% mainly visit in the morning; 21% mainly visit in the afternoon; 17% mainly visit very late afternoon/early evening.
  • 8% of respondents visit every day; 17% visit several times a week; 8 % visit once a week; 17% visit once a month; 17% visit in the summer only

Why do you visit Middle Beach and what’s important to you?

29% of respondents cite having a beach hut at Middle Beach as their main reason for visiting. 29% also say they value Middle Beach as a place for walking and exercise. 21% of people felt that retaining the character of Middle Beach is important – particularly keeping the area undeveloped, unspoilt, quiet and natural. 21% cite the great food at the café as a reason for visiting, and many also like the friendly family-run feel of the business. Easy access to the beach was cited as important by 21% of respondents.

Other reasons for visiting include: swimming; dog walking; beach days; time with family and friends; time to rest and relax; boating; to use the toilets; because it is a beautiful area; to see the view; a place to have a cuppa; good price food and drinks. Other things noted as being important to people include: keeping the area clean and tidy; retaining easy access.

What do you think of the images of the new café?

Overall feedback was positive with 42% of people thought the images were OK or good, and a further 17% think the images are very good and/or a big improvement. 29% of respondents do not like the images, with most citing their main reason being that the design is too posh, modern and out of keeping with the traditional and rustic feel of the area.

Other comments include: A more modern feel is good; a homely look is important; panoramic views from both inside and out are important; sustainability is good; the café needs screening fully especially in terms of the visual impact from the beach and coast path; a better wind break is needed as the new location is less sheltered; a low building is good; it should not be anything like a National Trust café; one respondent suggested both the café and pop up should be seasonal.

What do you feel about the location?

54% of people thought that the location is OK or good. A further 21% think it is very good and/or improved; primarily because it offers better views and easier access for those with limited mobility.13% of people do not like the proposed location, all citing that it is not a “beach café”. A further 8% agree that the feel of the café would change from a “beach café” due to the new location, but recognise the advantages of the new site. 8% also recognise the need to move due to coastal erosion.

Other comments include: Concern about loss of BBQ area; new location is not as sheltered; would prefer it to be located on the beach; the current location is best; preserving access to the beach is very important; some sea defences may be necessary.

What food offer would you like to see?

50% of respondents stated that they want to the food offer to remain as it is; with a further 17% stressing they do not want to see a similar offer to Knoll. 8% commented that they would enjoy being able to have evening meals at the café.

Other comments include: seasonal food; local produce; allergy and intolerance options; vegan options; vegetarian options; a range of light lunches and hot food; homemade food.

Other comments

25% of people do not like the idea of the pop up seasonal café being located in the Coombe due to it impacting the wild and natural feel of the site. A few people also commented that they are concerned about how the Coombe offer would affect beach huts nearby. One respondent suggested that the ice cream kiosk could provide a better location for the seasonal pop up. The following quotes were taken directly from the surveys:

“Thank you for a more thoughtful, measured approach compared to the original ‘knock down existing one then work out what to do’. Congratulations to the Parish Council”.

“The café at present needs to move due to coastal erosion, now is the chance to improve and promote the work the (National) Trust is doing to tackle erosion. If the work is done properly it will be amazing”

“I believe the new site should be forward thinking and progressive whilst keeping with the theme of the area. A new building design is imperative to achieve this”.

Other comments include: it will have a positive impact on the area; please remove the signage from the area; please move the dog bin; maximise the views; access to the beach at present is very good; preserve the heritage and atmosphere of the existing café; avoid corporate National Trust feel; the sooner the better; the new design will remove the character from the area; ‘I hope the café employs local people’; ‘I hope the residents are happy with this’