Restaurant chain quits Dolphin Square

Dolphin Square's leisure sector is due to open in Easter 2015

Dolphin Square's leisure sector is due to open in Easter 2015 - Credit: McLaren Life

DELAYS in rebuilding Dolphin Square have prompted a national restaurant chain to rip up its deal to be a part of the project.

Investor McLaren Life has lined up a replacement after Harvester decided it no longer wanted to be a part of the new Dolphin Square.

Harvester signed up to the £45million scheme almost three years ago when McLaren Life expected the shops and restaurants to be completed by spring 2013.

Delays - partly due to North Somerset Council not vacating Somerset House as quickly as planned - mean building work has not started on the leisure sector and the layout has been changed to give the developers more time to attract shopping retailers.

Harvester’s spokesman said: “After our initial interest and then the subsequent delays in the project process, our acquisitions focus has changed and therefore we are no longer planning a Harvester at Dolphin Square.”

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Harvester’s move mirrors Vue Cinemas when the chain pulled out of the development last autumn, with Cineworld replacing it.

A McLaren Life spokesman said: “Harvester decided it wasn’t going to be a part of the scheme but we are very, very close to finalising an agreement for a like-to-like replacement.

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“The whole project is a scheme with about 10 different operators and things happen which we can’t control.”

McLaren Life has refused to name which restaurant operator will take on the unit vacated by Harvester, as the deal has not been signed off yet.

But its spokesman said there are positives to take from the change.

He said: “It’s good news that operators are looking at the scheme and willing to invest.

“The scheme will still be the same as planned and open in a year or so in Easter 2015.”

Construction work on the leisure facilities – including the cinema, a gym and a bowling complex – is expected to begin in February or March.

Other restaurant chains committed to the project include Pizza Express, Nando’s and Real China.

Retailers are still needed for the fourth and final phase but McLaren Life remains confident that once the leisure sector is open, deals will be struck.

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