FUNDING has been secured to further refurbish Weston's new Plaza Cinema building.

Formally the ODEON, the Plaza will open its doors today (Friday, December 15).

The work, which will start in the New Year, will include specialist cleaning of the cream and black tiled exterior, as well as repairing some of the damage caused by Storm Eunice in February 2022.

New glazed and timber shopfronts will be installed, while three former retail kiosks which sit on either side of the entrance will be repaired.

This will be made possible thanks to a partnership between Merlin Cinemas, Historic England and the UK government’s Levelling Up Fund.

The project will be the seventh to be delivered as part of Weston-super-Mare’s High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) Shopfront Enhancement Scheme, managed by North Somerset Council. It will be the first to include support from the Levelling Up Fund.

Councillor Mike Bell, North Somerset Council’s leader and local ward member, said: “The former ODEON building, recently bought by Merlin Cinemas and re-opened today as The Plaza, is a landmark building of national interest.

"It’s loved by so many people in the town and further afield, including those with fond memories of watching global artists perform there, including ‘The Beatles’ sixty years ago in 1963.

“I’m delighted that we’ve been be able to allocate this funding as part of our Levelling Up Fund and High Street Heritage Action Zone shopfront enhancement schemes. I very much look forward to seeing the improvements realised.”

Chris Wilkes, property and development manager at Merlin Cinemas, added: “Although we’ve only recently purchased the building, we’re very proud of its partnership with the council and Historic England to deliver improvements to this much-loved building.

"Our aim is to provide space for businesses to once again trade from the three kiosks which occupy a prime location in the heart of the history and heritage and all that it means to the local community.

"We’re delighted to have been offered this funding and we’re excited to work in town.”

Rebecca Barrett, Regional Director at Historic England, said: “The cinema played a major part in the story of 20th century Weston, and its striking, distinctively modern style adds character to today’s townscape. We are pleased to support these repairs through the High Street Heritage Action Zone and look forward to seeing the results.”