Support for new-look square

A �35million plan to regenerate a Weston shopping precinct has received widespread public support, according to the potential developers.

Sketches of a proposed transformation of Dolphin Square in Oxford Street were put on public display by London-based firm McLaren Life last week.

The plan is to knock down the square and replace it with a cinema, hotel and line-up of top-brand High Street shops.

The display showed initial design concepts and an indication of the types of uses the company plans for the site.

A spokesman for McLaren Life said more than 100 people visited the two-day exhibition at Somerset House.

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He said: “People were very pleased with the designs we put on display.

“They gave good feedback and ideas which will now be further analysed to help develop the plan for the site.

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“People liked the modern look of the sketches and the idea of many new shops moving into the town centre.

“All the issues will be looked at to make sure the best suitable idea is come up with.”

A further public consultation will be held by Christmas, before a planning application is submitted to North Somerset Council.

The firm says it hopes to begin work on the scheme, which will have a mix of between 20-25 leisure and retail units, in stages by next spring.

Yet despite the progress no retailer has been formally signed up for the scheme.

The proposal will follow guidelines set in a Dolphin Square Supplementary Planning Document, published by North Somerset Council in 2007.

It details the demolition of buildings between Union Street, Carlton Street, Beach Road and Oxford Street to make way for leisure facilities, shops and apartments.

However, the firm says its plan would not include residential apartments, stating such a use would not mix with leisure units at the site.

The company will take control of the square from Hansteen Life, which incorporated the lease when it took over from Kilmartin London in 2007.

The five-storey courtyard development was built in the 1960s, but is now judged to have very limited architectural merit and is not considered worthy of retention.

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