North Somerset Council considers lanes-style revamp which could 'transform' shopping in Weston-super-Mare town centre
PUBLISHED: 07:00 30 May 2017
Weston-super-Mare could become home to shopping lanes like in Brighton and other cities across Europe as the local authority's regeneration efforts gather pace.
The Mercury understands North Somerset Council is hoping to create ‘character areas’ in Weston town centre.
Orchard Street and Meadow Street have been highlighted as areas which could be revamped with shared space for pedestrians and cars like in Princess Royal Square to make it more appealing for shoppers.
The council is believed to have met with business leaders in Weston to assess the feasibility of a lanes-style revamp.
Brighton’s Lanes are a collection of narrow streets with a wide range of independent retailers, and similar shopping hubs are found across Europe.
Weston could have its own lanes, which excites Weston Business Improvement District chairman Paul Batts.
He said: “This area would lend itself to a lanes-style project because it’s full of independent shops and close-knit streets.
“What’s good is the council has seen an area can be transformed with a bit of work, like The Centre, and I want that for Orchard Meadows. A bit of decoration will help the area flourish.”
Last year, the council collaborated with businesses in The Centre, opposite Weston Town Hall, to deliver an art-deco makeover.
Mr Batts believes limited loading times and restricting traffic would inject new life into Orchard Meadows.
He added: “If it was pedestrianised it would encourage more foot traffic.
“Some shared space would be fantastic, it would encourage people to walk down and discover what’s here.
“It takes time to build things like this, but it would be the extra string to Weston’s bow. People come for the beautiful seafront, but would go away telling friends they must visit Orchard Meadows.”
Shared space is a design approach to reduce segregation between pedestrians by removing kerbs and signs, and implementing stylish paving.
Mark McGregor, the council’s head of streets and open spaces, said: “This is a fabulous area of independent businesses already.
“We’re looking at what can be done to improve the shopping experience and help traders make the most of their businesses. This forms part of our regeneration plans for the town centre.”