College plans in Streetlife scrutiny

PUBLISHED: 12:00 12 March 2016

Views of Town Centre College Campus, WsM.

Views of Town Centre College Campus, WsM.

Archant

Weston-super-Mare’s Streetlife users have engaged in a lively debate this week about the future of Weston College.

The college is undertaking a massive expansion programme and has recently bought several buildings in Weston to further its aims.

It purchased the historic Winter Gardens building from North Somerset Council in 2014 and is transforming it into a law and professional services academy, while other recent acquisitions include the Arosfa hotel. The college was also granted university status last year.

Many Streetlifers felt the college’s expansion was a positive thing for the town, but others voiced concerns about the effect it could have on other businesses and public services.

John C said: “Is this the right way to go? Turning Weston from a tourist destination into a place for learning and students. I wonder how this will affect existing business.”

Tony W said: “I am sure that local businesses will be pleased with the increased trade new students will bring – those shops that are left.

“At least the uni is renovating and building in the town which, for me, is a good thing. It will and does generate jobs.”

Peter St George also welcomed the arrival of new students, and said: “I cannot see what the development and education of the next generation of legal eagles will displace in terms of our ‘seasonal tourist trade’.

“In fact, they will bring additional vibrancy and character to the town.

“Not only will the students bring more revenue to our town, but the regular visits by family members for functions and qualification events will bring increased trade in terms of accommodation and our service industries.”

Jim W was equally positive, and said: “It will help to revitalise the town.

“The old Victorian image of us as a seaside holiday resort is one that I don’t think fits the bill any longer.

“Day trips to the seaside, for sure, but we need more than that to prevent us drifting even further into the dormitory town abyss.”

However, John Hu was a little more concerned about the plans. He said: “It is just a tad worrying that Weston College seems to be taking over the whole town.”

And Rock Star said: “It will be good for the town if it encourages more growth (in) retail, entertainment and vibrant nightlife, but bad if all the students spend their rest time in Bristol. I am hoping it will trigger a whole new life and culture to Weston.”


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