Weston’s flagship projects criticised for appearance as completion nears
PUBLISHED: 07:00 04 August 2017
The centrepieces of Weston-super-Mare’s town centre regeneration have received for criticism this week, with fingers being pointed at ‘disastrous’ flaws in their finish.
Questions have been asked over the ‘poor’ standard of Dolphin Square, and of replacement windows at the Winter Gardens.
Dolphin Square’s leisure phase is seeing finishing touches added ahead of handover to tenant businesses, while the Winter Gardens is being reinvented by Weston College.
However, North Somerset Councillor John Crockford-Hawley believes some work at Dolphin Square is not up to scratch.
He said: “I am increasingly concerned about some very poor standards of workmanship in the public spaces, especially in Church Square.
“Shoddy pavement laying with inaccurately-cut stone and exceptionally poor quality re-pointing along a section of historic limestone wall illustrate perfectly how a devil is in the detail.”
Previous concerns over paving at Dolphin Square saw the council say it would be re-laid – though this is yet to be done.
Cllr Crockford-Hawley added: “I find it incomprehensible how a major building contractor might justify such work.
“One can only assume supervision is less than adequate.”
He said he hopes issues are fixed so the area can be known as ‘a place of quality’ and not ‘marred by developer defects’.
The Winter Gardens is being redeveloped by the college as a law and professional services academy. The college has ploughed £11million into the project, which included replacing the seafront-facing art-deco windows with smaller glass panes.
But the change has left building looking ‘blind and subdued’, according to Weston Civic Society. Member Rosie Smith described the windows as ‘disastrous’ and ‘hugely disappointing’.
She added: “The proportions and style of the original windows have been subverted and lost. We are left with thick, flat, vertical and curved lines replacing the finer details of the original windows.
“It’s difficult to believe anyone gave significant consideration to the pavilion’s final appearance.”
A Mercury poll revealed 79 per cent of voters believe the college has improved the appearance of the Winter Gardens, but Ms Smith disagrees, and said: “In 1920-1930s architecture windows are often the most important feature – now quite lost in Weston’s foremost seafront building.
“With a little more consultation and imagination a better solution could surely have been found.”