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Redevelopment plans for The Royal Hotel and TJ Hughes criticised by Weston Town Council

PUBLISHED: 07:38 13 September 2017 | UPDATED: 09:43 13 September 2017

Before and after? TJ Hughes is set for redevelopment. Picture left; Mark Atherton. Picture right: AWW Inspired Environments

Before and after? TJ Hughes is set for redevelopment. Picture left; Mark Atherton. Picture right: AWW Inspired Environments

Archant

Plans to redevelop two prominent buildings in Weston-super-Mare town centre have been dented after being criticised by town representatives.

The Royal Hotel is hoping to expand. Picture: View Architects The Royal Hotel is hoping to expand. Picture: View Architects

Weston Town Council is ‘concerned’ by proposals to revamp The Royal Hotel, in South Parade, and is not sold on Dove Properties’ plans to bring the vacant TJ Hughes building, in High Street, back into use.

The authority has called for the plans to be scrutinised by North Somerset Council’s planning and regulatory committee before planning permission is granted.

The Royal Hotel wants to almost triple its room capacity and build an underground car park on its lawn, while TJ Hughes – which has been empty for six years – has been earmarked for three ground-floor shops with 40 flats above.

But the town council said it is ‘concerned’ by the potential impact of the Royal’s extension and its plans for parking.

The town council has similar issues with the TJ Hughes plans.

A statement added: “The town council, whilst supportive of town centre regeneration, don’t consider the TJ Hughes proposal provides sufficient parking provision for either the retail or residential units.

“There are concerns the plans represent an over-redevelopment of the site given the size and number of both flats, giving rise to the concern that there will be limited appeal for local families.”

MORE: Shops and flats planned for TJ Hughes

North Somerset councillor for Central ward, Mike Bell, supports both proposals ‘in principle’, but has issues with the Royal’s plans.

He said: “I am not sure how well the proposed glazed section interacts with the main listed hotel building. There is a danger that the extension looks more like the Winter Gardens, instead of a natural addition to the hotel.

“There is also uncertainty about how practical an underground car park is. The setting of the Royal Hotel is important and radical changes to landscape heights need to be looked at again.”

Cllr Bell also believes the proposal for TJ Hughes has a number of ‘serious flaws that need to be addressed’.

He said: “There is a very poor mix of retail to residential, with the emphasis firmly on squeezing in as many one-bedroom flats and student lets as possible.

“I struggle to see how this improves the balance of housing in the town centre.

“I’m not sure how wise mixing student accommodation with private housing in a busy town centre location is either.”

MORE: What is going in Dolphin Square?

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