A ‘bright future’ for Weston-super-Mare as Dolphin Square work begins

An artist's impression of what the Dolphin Square development will look like when it opens in 2017.

An artist's impression of what the Dolphin Square development will look like when it opens in 2017. - Credit: Archant

AFTER years of uncertainty and postponed start dates, an end to the ambiguity surrounding the future of Dolphin Square is finally in sight as the full line-up of businesses included in the site’s £18million leisure phase can be revealed.

An artist's impression of what the Dolphin Square development will look like when it opens in 2017.

An artist's impression of what the Dolphin Square development will look like when it opens in 2017. - Credit: Archant

The Mercury revealed last week that building work on the site is set to begin this month – and developer McLaren Life has since confirmed construction teams will move on-site this week.

It is estimated the Carlton Street site will be open to the public in 2017 and building contractor Dawnus Construction is expected to complete its work by spring 2017, when operators will move on-site to fit their units ahead of a summer opening.

McLaren Life’s managing director Alistair Bell said: “This has been a complex development to deliver and we are delighted we have secured both the operators and funding to enable this next element of Dolphin Square to start now.

“We have a list of exciting names and brands coming to Weston – many of them new to the town.”

An artist's impression of what the Dolphin Square development will look like when it opens in 2017.

An artist's impression of what the Dolphin Square development will look like when it opens in 2017. - Credit: Archant


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Mr Bell’s sentiment was echoed by council leader Nigel Ashton, who described the progress as ‘wonderful’ for Weston.

Cllr Ashton said: “We have been working with McLaren Life to get this project completed, so this announcement is wonderful news for Weston and is a valuable contribution to the council’s town centre regeneration programme.

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“The development demonstrates that leading names in the retail and leisure industry share my confidence in the future of Weston and will help to unlock the real potential of the town centre.”

Among the list of restaurants and retail operators to commit to the scheme is leading cinema company Cineworld, but McLaren Life revealed this week that Cineworld will be joined by two new leisure operators – drinks chain Costa Coffee and indoor climbing and soft play company Rock Up, which trades from a leisure scheme in Hampshire.

The company also said a health and fitness operator would be included in the scheme, but a spokesman declined to confirm who this operator would be.

Restaurants Nando’s, Pizza Express, Prezzo, Mimosa and Preto have also signed up.

The development forms part of a wider plan for Weston, which will see tired areas of the town centre transformed into upmarket housing, shopping and leisure opportunities.

The council says the combined impact of the developments will deliver a ‘bright future’. Other town centre sites, such as the police station and former magistrates’ court in Walliscote Road, have already been earmarked for upmarket housing regeneration, while the Orchard and Meadow Street shopping areas could also be revitalised.

A council spokesman said: “The announcement that McLaren Life’s redevelopment of Dolphin Square is set to get under way signals a major step forward in the regeneration of Weston town centre.

“Dolphin Square will bring new variety to the town centre and will significantly expand retail and leisure opportunities in the evening and year-round.

“The council is committed to an ambitious and bold vision for a vibrant and prosperous town in which a more diverse retail and leisure offer plays a key part, and the start of works on the Dolphin Square site will add further momentum to an ambitious programme of regeneration which is already making progress across several major projects in the town.

“The combined impact of development at Dolphin Square, the police station and magistrates court and the Winter Gardens, as well as other improvements being planned as part of the council’s town centre regeneration programme, offer a brighter future for Weston.”

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