RESIDENTS have had their say on the planning application to turn the former M&S building on Weston's High Street into a drinking and gaming centre.

The proposal, which was submitted back in January by Amber Taverns, consists of the subdivision and change of use of the entire site to create a new pub and roof terrace on the Regent Street side and separate, smaller units on High Street and via Sovereign Centre with permission for retail, restaurant and adult gaming use.

Plans have now been approved.

Commenting on the planning portal, one resident said: "I strongly object to the proposed change of use of this building. Regent Street has one of the highest crime rates in North Somerset and the development of a dedicated wet led drinking establishment will only increase this. It will bring more noise and increased anti social behaviour."

Another added: "Just what WSM does not need, another watering hole and gambling joint!"

Meanwhile, there was some support for the plans: "Empty units do nothing for the town. Get this fantastic development approved."

A spokesperson from Amber Taverns said: "It is not unusual to have objections and supportive comments when we wish to transform an iconic town centre building formerly occupied by Marks & Spencer. 

"We have thoroughly researched the town and identified the site as a perfect location - close enough to serve the high street and on the same street as many other licensed premises. 

"We have recently converted other M&S premises in Bridlington and Bishop Auckland both very successful contributors to the high street economy.

 "We strongly believe that the significant investment and the high specifications that we use to fit out the premises prompts the competition to further invest in their premises. 

"We appoint an area manager to oversee the running of the business, they are based in the region and have responsibilities for around 10-12 pubs to make weekly visits to review the business and ensure they operate to the high standards expected. 

"The premises will operate as a wet-led public house - there are already numerous outlets serving hood quality food in the immediate vicinity. Wet-led is our core business with over 165 public houses across England, Wales and Scotland. 

"We will generate between 25/30 full and part-time positions for the whole year and not just seasonal work."