Shops must be ‘niche’ to revitalise High Street, say readers reacting to Sovereign Centre sale

PUBLISHED: 17:00 11 September 2018

Weston's Sovereign Centre.

Weston's Sovereign Centre.

Archant

Weston-super-Mare needs to create a ‘unique and unusual’ retail identity for the town centre to thrive, according to social media users reacting to the views of a business boss on North Somerset Council’s multi-million-pound acquisition of the Sovereign Shopping Centre.

Paul Batts, chairman of Weston Business Improvement District (BID), believes the £21million agreement between the authority and Legal & General to buy the shopping centre is a positive move for town centre traders.

The council, which is struggling with declining funding from Government, hopes to make more than £1million a year from the deal.

Mr Batts admitted the move has ‘divided’ business owners, but he believes it makes sense for the council and the town.

He said: “You can see the long-term plan as councils all over the country lose revenue from the Government and councils need to find their own revenue streams.

“Given a choice, would you rather the Sovereign Centre was owned by the council or by some hedge fund in London which doesn’t care?

“You’d probably say it is better being run locally, rather than by a portfolio which might lose interest in a few years.

“Long-term, it has to be better for Weston. The council has a vested interest in making the shopping centre work.”

Many people took to social media to share their view.

Bob Villefin commented: “The reason big corporations offload places like Weston is they don’t make enough money these days. They’ve seen the future of retail is in decline against the online threat.

“My vision would be an area of very niche shops like Hill road in Clevedon, but on a larger scale, so that the town becomes known as the go to place for the unique and unusual. High rents will not make this possible.”

Matt Rodda said: “I think Weston needs to make a name for itself, and not have a High Street that looks like every other high street in the land. Could we put pressure on the council to keep rents low?”

Janis Deville-Hallam wrote: “If they lowered the rents of the units they would fill more of them, thus making more money instead of no money from empty units because business can’t afford the high rents.”

To join the discussion, visit www.facebook.com/wsmercury or at www.twitter.com/wsmercury

More from Weston Mercury

10:50

Significant improvements to day-time operations at Weston General Hospital’s A&E have been recognised by health inspectors.

Read more

An action-packed superhero adventure comes to cinema screens next week, and Mercury readers will win tickets to see it.

Read more

The family of a Worle youngster have praised their son’s bravery after he won a Somerset Award.

Read more
Yesterday, 20:00

A sing-along screening of 2017’s smash hit The Greatest Showman will take place at Bristol Hippodrome.

Read more
Yesterday, 18:00

A stunning display of more than 100,000 twinkling lights in a Burnham cul-de-sac has raised more than £1,000 for local charities, in just its opening week.

Read more
Yesterday, 18:00

Plans to extend Weston’s conservation area – and open it up to receiving hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of grants – has been given the green light.

Read more
Yesterday, 17:06

Father Christmas is checking in on his elves this festive season at his South West Workshop in Cheddar.

Read more
Yesterday, 17:00

With less than two weeks to go until the big day, Westonians will not have to travel far to find festive cheer this weekend.

Read more
Yesterday, 16:13

Organisations in North Somerset have walked away with accolades at a travel awards ceremony.

Read more
Yesterday, 15:35

The eat:Festivals organisers are over the moon to be able to put on their first festive food event after relocating to the Sovereign Centre.

Read more

Most Read News

Read Online

Image
Read the Weston Worle and Somerset Mercury e-edition E-edition

Local Weather

Heavy Showers

Heavy Showers

max temp: 10°C

min temp: 5°C

Useful Links

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
Competitions
Send Your Letters
Order Photos
Family notices
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Newsletter Sign Up

Weston Mercury twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists