Big names in store?

DEBENHAMS, River Island, Bay Trading, French Connection, HMV and other massive High Street names could soon be setting up shop in Weston.

DEBENHAMS, River Island, Bay Trading, French Connection, HMV and other massive High Street names could soon be setting up shop in Weston.

After months of rumour, the owners of the town’s Sovereign Shopping Centre this week finally confirmed that they want to acquire the Town Square and make way for the big name brands.

Centre manager Nick Cooke has exclusively revealed to the Weston & Somerset Mercury how the company he works for, Phoenix Life Ltd, has expressed an interest to North Somerset Council about developing the land around the existing retail site.

He said: “We have had a long-held ambition to extend north onto the Town Square to provide the people of Weston with the range of shopping facilities they rightly deserve.

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“Our aim, if we were able to develop the site, would be to deliver a major department or variety store such as Debenhams and about 10 other retail units to accommodate such names as River Island, Monsoon, Bay Trading, French Connection, Warehouse, Oasis, Jane Norman, Wallis, Jigsaw, Faith Shoes and HMV.”

“Retail development of this scale would firmly place Weston on the map as a meaningful retail destination and reduce the number of residents having to complete a 50-mile round trip to visit Cribbs Causeway in Bristol, or Taunton, in order to shop for things that should be readily available within our own town centre.

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“During October and November the council will be consulting with the public on where such retail development should take place.

“While we recognise it is important to retain public open spaces such as the Italian Gardens we believe

the area to the north of the Sovereign Shopping Centre, opposite Wilkinsons and Burger King, represents the most logical and commercially viable site on which to provide much-needed retail space.

“The Italian Gardens could be retained and enhanced as part of our proposals.

“The Italian Gardens area is often confused with the Town Square.

“We also believe that our ambitions should be seen as part of a much broader town centre masterplan that could include the redevelopment of the area to the west of the Sovereign Shopping Centre next to the seafront.

“This could be for leisure facilities like a multi-screen cinema, restaurants, bars and a hotel.

“It is possible that the sale of the site could provide the necessary funds for the council to deliver other projects, such as providing a roof for the Tropicana.”

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