‘Bold and vibrant’ Weston future to be decided today
PUBLISHED: 07:03 20 October 2015
COUNCILLORS are today expected to rubber-stamp a move to buy Weston-super-Mare’s outdated police station ready to demolish it to make way for upmarket town centre housing.
North Somerset Council’s executive will meet on Tuesday to approve a deal to snap up the Walliscote Road station ahead of police plans to relocate to a bespoke base near the M5.
The deal – which must be completed by the end of March to be financed through an interest-free loan from the Homes and Communities Agency – is described as a potential catalyst which could provide ‘unstoppable momentum’ to widespread town regeneration.
Six other key sites, as pictured, are earmarked for subsequent projects, which are collectively predicted to help attract a new demographic to the area, and boost the town’s economy.
David Pasley, an executive councillor whose portfolio includes the ‘transformation programme’, says the impact would be significant.
He said: “Each site will have a mix of uses that would be aimed to maximising impact and underlining the ambition set out in the vision for regeneration.
“This includes providing economic uplift and creating an unstoppable momentum towards quality developments in the town that changes perceptions.
“This ambitious step forward, combined with the development of Weston College’s flagship Law and Professional Services Academy at the Winter Gardens, will attract talented young people to live in the town centre, helping to grow and diversify the town centre economy.”
Work on turning the police station into the desirable ‘Walliscote Grove’ homes – eight in the court, and up to 60 on the police station site – will be completed by 2020, according to the report.
LDA Design, whose artist’s impressions offer a glimpse of the type of development which could feature, say the goal is to create ‘a place of remarkable urban quality at the heart of Weston’.
The firm said: “All of the land necessary to deliver Walliscote Place is, or will soon be, in public land ownership.
“It can therefore be brought forward at pace and to a high quality to break the spiral of low value and poor quality which has held back the regeneration of the town centre for many years.
“The proposed regeneration of Walliscote Place is part of a wider strategy to lift urban quality; directly address negative perceptions and attract a wider demographic to the town centre, including young professionals and people likely to support and invest in the economic and social life of the town.
“Momentum will be essential to build confidence to attract investment and to secure future prosperity of the town.”
The plan has already won support. Town centre manager Steve Townsend said: “It’s great to see this major project getting under way at these key sites.
“Attracting more people to live here in high quality residential apartments will be a great boost for the prosperity and vitality of the town centre.”