‘All the right ingredients’ to help preserve Weston’s ‘Banksy effect’
- Credit: Archant
A year on from Dismaland, the ‘Banksy effect’ is still being felt in Weston’s cultural and economic circles – and business leaders say it can help ‘springboard’ the town onto new successes.
The world-renowned artist’s theme park parody inhabited the former Tropicana pool for five weeks last year, drawing 150,000 people to the town and resulting in a £20million shot-in-the-arm for traders.
Twelve months later, the venue has enjoyed fresh investment from owner North Somerset Council, and gone on to host theatre shows, music concerts and a summer holiday funfair, with further events – including Weston super Food Festival – planned for September.
But the positive impact is not limited to the Tropicana, says council chief executive Mike Jackson.
He said: “Dismaland has built confidence about trying something a bit different.
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“North Somerset is rich in culture, arts and heritage and we want to make the most of that. We want to harness the potential of the creative economy and nurture local talent through the development of a town centre creative hub.
“Alongside this, the continued improvement of the Tropicana site adds further momentum to our major programme of regeneration, attracting new interest and investment in the town and expanding Weston’s cultural offer.”
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Maintaining the momentum which Banksy began is now crucial, says Paul Batts, chairman of Weston Business Improvement District.
He said: “The next three or four years are really important for Weston. All the right ingredients are going into the mix – Dolphin Square, the Banksy effect, the council’s regeneration plans, what Weston College wants to achieve.
“We’ve probably got more new businesses coming in than we’ve ever had. That adds to the diversity of what’s on offer, and is giving a change in outlook.”
And Steve Anderson, president of Weston Chamber of Commerce, added: “We all want the same thing – for Weston, and the wider area, to be successful.
“Dismaland has acted as a springboard and I would urge businesses to get involved and have a voice and a stake in what happens in the future.”