No shops causes Dolphin Square rethink

The plans for Dolphin Square may be set to change

The plans for Dolphin Square may be set to change - Credit: Archant

A MAJOR rethink of the £45million Dolphin Square plans will take place in the coming weeks to counteract the lack of interest from retailers.

Developer McLaren Life is considering revising its original planning proposals to ensure the scheme is not held up waiting for businesses to sign on.

Although demolition work is set to be completed this month, building work will not begin until the autumn, with October the most likely start date.

The six-month gap gives McLaren Life time to re-examine its original scheme which was passed unanimously by North Somerset Council in April 2011, with an estimated opening of spring 2013.

Delays and difficulties in attracting retailers have force bosses to consider changing the proposed layout by putting all the leisure sector firms together.

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Harvester, Nandos, Prezzo, Pizza Express, Real China, First Bowl and Vue Cinemas have all agreed to form part of the development and placing them in one part of Dolphin Square would allow that section to open sooner.

A spokesman for McLaren Life confirmed the lack of retailers was forcing the firm to look again at its original plans.

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He said: “At the moment we are looking at a series of different options because we want building work started. That is best for the site and for the town.

“We aren’t in a position to know exactly what we are going to do.

“If there’s going to be a leisure-only part then there will be a retail part as well.

“We are looking at three or four options as to how we can get construction under way, because that’s better (than waiting).”

Any changes the company makes to its plans will have to be ratified by the council.

No businesses have signed up to the project since 2011 despite McLaren Life repeatedly telling the Mercury discussions are ongoing with retailers.

Its spokesman confirmed this week that the position has not changed.

However, he said something will have to be in place by the autumn, otherwise builders will not be able to start work.

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