‘Brilliant news’ as Dolphin Square work is set to begin

An artist's impression of Dolphin Square.

An artist's impression of Dolphin Square. - Credit: Archant

CONSTRUCTION work will finally begin on Weston-super-Mare’s £45million Dolphin Square development this month – with developer McLaren Life saying a ‘full announcement’ on the site’s future will be released tomorrow (Thursday).

The Mercury has learned work will begin on the third phase of the Carlton Street site in mid-November, and an announcement – likely to contain details of more firms which have signed up to the scheme – is set to be made shortly.

The news has been hailed as a ‘catalyst’ for unlocking growth and development in the town, and predicted to play a major part in raising Weston’s profile.

McLaren Life spokesman Richard Evans told the Mercury: “It is very likely work will start during November. We are, at the moment, preparing all the details for a full announcement.”

An eight-screen Cineworld cinema, shops and restaurant chains such as Nando’s, Pizza Express, Prezzo and Mimosa are confirmed as part of the project.

Planning permission for the ambitious scheme was first granted in 2011, and the former market bulldozed in 2013. However, planned building schedules have been repeatedly pushed back – until now.

Town centre manager Steve Townsend said the ‘brilliant’ news will be a crucial part of a wider regeneration process, with other town centre sites such as the police station and former magistrates court in Walliscote Road already earmarked for upmarket housing regeneration.

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Mr Townsend said: “There is so much exciting stuff going on in the town and I really think Dolphin Square will be the catalyst to kick-starting all of this activity. It will do great things to raise the profile of the town.

“It will make us far more than a seaside town which is dependent on seasonal trade. A nice cinema and restaurants will extend the trading hours of the town, and that is really important when you think about the increased residential development which is proposed for the centre.

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“It has been a long time coming, but it is still just brilliant news.”

The news was also welcomed by North Somerset district councillor Richard Nightingale, who represents Central ward, which contains Dolphin Square.

Cllr Nightingale said: “There is no doubt this new stage of Dolphin Square’s future will bring millions of pounds in to the town and benefit the local community. We have all waited a long time for this good news.

“Though the development has been slow, mostly due to delays caused by the recession, I know the council has worked hard to get things back on track and I have been proud to be involved.

“The outlook for Weston appears even brighter when you consider this in conjunction with the other planned town centre development activities. I am really excited about Weston’s future and will do everything to make sure our town is one of the best places to live and is a place residents can be proud of.”

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