Dolphin Square demolition set to start

DEMOLITION work on the old Dolphin Square precinct will begin this week ahead of the construction of a new multi-million pound shopping district.

Preparation work began before Christmas with the stripping of the old shops’ interiors and the demolition of one of the units as a test to see the strength of the 1960s concrete.

Kevin Clement, site manager for McLaren Life, said he hoped the demolition would be completed by the end of April or the start of May.

He added: “It’s going really well. We were originally quite concerned about asbestos but really there’s very little.”

Councillor Elfan Ap Rees visited the site yesterday (Wed) in a small ceremony before the start of phase three of McLaren Life’s �45million redevelopment.

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Question marks remain over what shop chains will fill the completed development, although several restaurant chains have already signed up.

Debenhams had long been linked with a move to the new complex but ruled itself out in November. Harvester, Prezzo, Real China, Nandos and Pizza Express will be joined by First Bowl and Vue Cinemas once building work is completed.

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The new 112-bed Premier Inn hotel and Brewer’s Fayre restaurant opened last month and the Carlton Street car park was completed in the autumn.

In November councillors agreed to take on the multi-storey car park on a 45-year lease at an initial rent of �435,000 per year.

Despite some concern it would lead to the council monopolising parking facilities in Weston, the motion was passed by majority vote.

The council estimates the deal will earn it between �3.8-20.3million in profit over the course of the contract.

Road closures were expected to affect Oxford Street and Carlton Street while the precinct is knocked down but Mr Clement said it is ‘unlikely’ they will be needed.

And the rubble created from the demolition work will be recycled and used in the construction of the new retail outlet.

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