Weston-super-Mare’s Town centre plans could be ‘undermined’ after Cribbs Causeway expansion is approved

Cribbs Causeway artist's impression.

Cribbs Causeway artist's impression. - Credit: Archant

The viability of Weston-super-Mare’s town centre regeneration may be ‘damaged’ after expansion plans for The Mall at Cribbs Causeway were approved last week.

South Gloucestershire Council gave the go-ahead to plans which will see a 35,000sqm extension built, plus the addition of a hotel and a new bus station.

The Mall’s expansion will marry together retail, leisure and residential elements, but critics argue it will absorb trade from elsewhere.

Daniel Carter, chief executive of Sovereign Shopping Centre owners Vixcroft, told the Mercury in March the plans could ‘damage the retailing and leisure potential of Weston town centre’.

He added this week: “It’s crazy and it undermines the work we have done, but it also undermines the viability of Weston’s regeneration.”

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North Somerset Council hopes Weston can compete with Cribbs’ expansion.

A spokesman said: “The council is working extremely hard to deliver a stronger, vibrant and prosperous town centre for Weston which is equipped to deal with current and future challenges.

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“One of those challenges is how to respond to competition.

“The Mall’s expansion highlights the need for Weston town centre to meet a diversity of needs and not to focus solely on the retail market.

“The council is seeking to achieve this through its own ambitious plans for the town as set out in its draft Weston town centre regeneration supplementary planning document.”

Town centre manager Steve Townsend said: “I am always fiercely opposed to any development that could divert spend away from Weston and the expansion plans for Cribbs Causeway are not ideal.

“I do take comfort, however, that we have a unique selling point that any developer would find hard to replicate and that is our beautiful seafront with miles of golden sand.

“Our neighbours at Taunton, Bath, Gloucester and central Bristol are not in such an enviable position.”

Those opposed to the proposal may be offered a lifeline, as the plans have still to be signed off by the Secretary of State.

In the wake of South Gloucestershire’s approval, Mr Carter called on the Government to review the expansion.

He said: “The extension needs to be considered very carefully.

“South Gloucestershire Council may have given its go ahead, but due to the number of objectors, its scale and impact, it should be called in by the Secretary of State.”

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