A sweet future for eyesore seafront hotel
PUBLISHED: 11:00 21 September 2013
A NEAR-DERELICT 'eyesore' which has been crumbling and empty on Weston's seafront for decades is set to be transformed into a sweet store, café and seasonal gift outlet.
The Mercury can exclusively reveal that the owners of Animal Farm Adventure Park, in Berrow, is set to take over the entire ground floor of the former Grand Central Hotel in Beach Road and will open Charlie’s Sweet Factory in November, ahead of a full launch in February.
The store should initially create 20 full and part-time jobs, with 20 full-time positions becoming available once it opens fully.
The firm has spent ‘tens of thousands’ of pounds redeveloping the 6,000sq ft derelict interior of the building, situated opposite the Grand Pier and close to Princess Royal Square, which has been empty for the best part of two decades.
Traders have welcomed the news with open arms, saying it will boost footfall and overhaul an empty unit in the town’s ‘shop window’.
Animal Farm says it is hopeful the store will provide something to do for local people and holidaymakers all year round with the store altering its theme to fit Christmas, Easter and other seasonal events.
A spokesman for the firm said: “If we can get it open for Christmas that would be a positive thing for the area because Weston slows down in winter.
“It’s about trying to think of something that will boost things.
“It will give local people something to do and create local jobs.”
Town centre manager Steve Townsend said: “It has been an eyesore for a long, long time. I think it has been pretty much an indoor market for as long as I can remember.
“It’s filling up another empty unit which is right in our shop window. It’s the one everybody sees when they come into the town.
“When Princess Anne visited the seafront recently that was the only building that looked quite shoddy.
“It will be welcomed by the nearby businesses. It has got to be a positive.”
Weston Chamber Of Trade president Gail Parsons said: “I want the people of Weston to get behind this and support it.
“It is really important that building is filled. From a retail perspective it offers something extra on the seafront.
“It will halt the deterioration which will then be important for the whole area.
“As a chamber we welcome them to the town.”