Licences for Dolphin Square firms?

Dolphin Square being demolished in 2013.

Dolphin Square being demolished in 2013. - Credit: Archant

TWO restaurants which have signed up to the £45million Dolphin Square development have submitted applications to North Somerset Council for premises licences, in a move which suggests work on the site could soon get underway.

Preto and Mimosa have applied to the council for licences which would enable them to serve alcohol, stay open late and provide entertainment for customers.

The developer behind the Carlton Street scheme, McLaren Life, welcomed the applications and repeated its claim – as reported in the Mercury last week – that a positive annoucement over the future of the Carlton Street site will be made in the next few weeks.

The scheme is set to include shops, an eight screen cinema and restaurants including Pizza Express and Nando’s, but a start date for works has been delayed for several years and the site has remained derelict.

The council said the restaurants’ applications for licences were ‘not unusual’ despite work not having started on the site. It also added that unless any objections to the licence are raised, each application would be granted 28 days after it was first made and the licences would come into effect when the businesses are up and running.

A McLaren Life spokesman said: “Each business will submit its own licensing application and each will have its own needs in terms of licensing. But it is a very positive sign.

“As soon as we can do so, we will make an announcement. We are tied up with legal issues at the moment but we will make the announcement as soon as these are 110 per cent signed, sealed and delivered.”

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The issues surrounding Dolphin Square were debated at a meeting of Weston Town Council on Monday night, where councillors put forward a motion asking the district authority and McLaren Life to ‘take a more proactive stance’ in securing a ‘speedy outcome’ for the site.

However, councillor Peter Crew hinted that further progress on the site was being made behind closed doors.

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He said: “Things have happened recently which means we might be moving forward.

“The first is that one of the companies involved and hopeful to move into Dolphin Square is just about to appoint a manager to run their facility – so they must know more than we do. “

One of Weston’s district councillors also felt the applications for licences suggested work on the site would be finished possibly as early as the end of next year.

Central ward councillor Richard Nightingale said: “Every day Dolphin Square takes a step closer towards work beginning on site.

“I have been in contact (with McLaren Life) almost every other day to further progress the scheme and I know they have been furiously working behind the scenes to secure retailers and construction preparation.

“We welcome Mimosa and Preto as world class restaurant chains to the development and are pleased to see they are finalising preparations by applying for licences. The applications seem to predict work will be completed by late 2016 or early 2017.”

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