Poll Of The Week: Shops and flats planned for TJ Hughes

PUBLISHED: 13:00 25 August 2017

An artist's impression of the plans for TJ Hughes. Picture: AWW Inspired Environments

An artist's impression of the plans for TJ Hughes. Picture: AWW Inspired Environments

Archant

Six years after the shutters slammed shut on Weston's TJ Hughes, plans have emerged to convert the building into shops and flats.

The vacant TJ Hughes building.The vacant TJ Hughes building.

Dove Properties wants to convert the former department store into three shops and 40 homes in plans submitted to North Somerset Council this week.

The three units vary in size, with the two larger units facing High Street and a smaller unit on St James Street.

The top three floors of the four-storey building have been set aside for housing, with 21 studio student rooms on the second floor beneath 19 apartments ranging from studio to two bedrooms across the second and third floor.

Five single-car garages have also been included in the proposals.

The building was bought at auction by Dove in 2013 for £670,000, and an unnamed retailer was set to move in a year later but the deal failed to materialise.

The student accommodation is tailored to cater for the anticipated influx of students when Weston College opens its law and professional services academy at the Winter Gardens next month.

Tim Warrell, of Dove Properties, believes the proposals will add to the ‘revitalisation’ of the town centre.

He said: “The type and mix of accommodation has been derived through a careful consideration of the current and anticipated demand, which is likely to see an increase in student numbers and of both young professionals and families as the town regeneration gains momentum.”

Dove did not reveal any retailers earmarked to occupy the building.

The inclusion of a retail element will be music to the ears of Weston’s shoppers who were left disappointed after big-name shops could not be enticed into bespoke units at the soon-to-be-completed Dolphin Square development.

Town centre manager Steve Townsend, who in May said the empty building was a ‘thorn in his side’, told the Mercury he ‘welcomes the retail development on the ground floor’.

He added: “It’s a creative use of the building in line with the university accommodation needs.

“I’m very much looking forward to the coming years, and next year looks like it should be a bumper season. We’ve got a great proposition here now.”

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