Dolphin Square plans - early start forecast

WORK to redevelop a major shopping and residential area in Weston could start 'almost immediately.' Last week the Weston & Somerset Mercury reported how

WORK to redevelop a major shopping and residential area in Weston could start 'almost immediately.'Last week the Weston & Somerset Mercury reported how every building between Union Street, Carlton Street, Beach Road and Oxford Street, which includes Dolphin Square, will be demolished under plans revealed by North Somerset Council.The area would then be redeveloped to include a library, shops, leisure facilities, car parking and luxury apartments.This week the local authority's executive member for strategic planning, John Crockford-Hawley, revealed how the first stage of work to put council offices, a centre for North Somerset Primary Care Trust (PCT) and a children's centre on the existing Carlton Street Car Park, could start soon.He said: "Because the council already operates the car park we could do the work there almost immediately."The only estimate of time scale we can be certain about is with the Carlton Street car park. "We could start it within a year if plans with the health trust go ahead."The proposals was unveiled to the public at the council's executive meeting on Tuesday.North Somerset Council's director of finance and resources, Phil Hall and director of development and environment, David Turner, will make a number of recommendations to councillors.These include market testing to see if the local authority could enter into a development partnership with suitable companies, preparing plans should it have to compulsorily purchase properties in the area and preparing a design brief. They will also recommend officers talk to bosses at CNC Properties, which has a 99-year lease on a number of buildings around Dolphin Square, to see if they can work together to redevelop the site.Once Carlton Street Car Park has been developed, the council hopes to start the demolition of Dolphin Square by 2012.The Weston & Somerset Mercury spoke to a number of traders who said they were upset they had not heard about the plans before.Cllr Crockford-Hawley said: "Consultants and senior officers have been in consultation with leaseholders like CNC."The major leaseholders in the area were notified by council officers and they have known for some time that there would be development there."As freeholders we have to negotiate with lease holders or take out CPOs but this is a procedure which must take into consideration leaseholders' businesses."CNC Properties' regional manager, Justin Kingdon, said: "We believe these plans have come out of our desire to do something with Dolphin Square."We put forward plans to the council to redevelop the area and it said we had to have third party consultants to review it. The consultants didn't review our plans."We can't say if we are in support of the redevelopment as we don't know the details at this stage."...AND WHAT THE TRADERS THINKS:* Rye Chapman, manager of Robert and Chris Barber Shop in Oxford Street, said: "All this needs revamping. It is an eyesore. Dolphin Square is run down and grubby."* Julian Cross, who owns Gifts 4 All in Oxford Street, said: "This development will affect me with all the mess and rubble. It will hit my business with all the dust going everywhere."* Kerry Kyriacou, whose parents own and live above Oxford Corner Restaurant, said: "I am unhappy that we weren't approached before and had to be told about it through the Mercury."My parents have been here for 35 years and will eventually retire but it would have been nice if they had some input into this."Dolphin Square is dated and could use some redevelopment. We are up for development but on our terms."* Andrew Morris, who runs the Chicken Inn with his parents, Colin and Georgina Morris, said: "We do know that CNC has a long lease with the council but don't know what is going on."It would be great if it did happen but talk has been going on about this for 15 years."* Janet Sharpe, who is manager at AMF Bowling in Dolphin Square, said: "I would say pigs might fly, considering the time it has taken to redevelop the Tropicana."But if it did happen I don't think it would be detrimental to AMF."* Kev Place, part owner of Scally's in Carlton Street, said: "We won't know anything until we go to the meeting in the Town Hall on Tuesday."* Lorraine Wilson, manager of Multi-Value, Pinkalicious and Gifts From Amber in Dolphin Square, said:"It is the first we have heard of it and I certainly do not think that finding out about it by it being plastered on the front of the newspaper is an example of the council working with the traders. To read that there is a meeting about it on Tuesday was news too."I think the regeneration would be good for Weston in general, but I think all of the independent traders will have concerns that the new premises would mean new rents, which may price us out of the market." * Joe Baker, manager of the Co-op store in Dolphin Square, said:"I do not think that many people or traders will be worried. However, I do think that traders will need to be compensated for any loss during the redevelopment and I do not think it will happen for years."* Mark Trevillion, manager of Bedworld in Dolphin Square, said:"I think it is a good idea for Weston as a whole because this area does need regeneration, so I am all for it. In the long term it can only be good for business."* Mrs Gasper, manager of JT Shoes in Dolphin Square, said:"I did not know about it. A customer told me about it, so we are trying to find out more about what is going on. The council should have informed us that this was going to happen. I do think it will take quite a while to go through though."* Marilyn Heaney, manager of Age Concern in Dolphin Square, said:"This is nothing new so nobody is really panicking. It's been on the cards for a long time, although we would have liked to have heard about it from the council, not find out secondhand from the Mercury."* Chris Knight, manager of Living Homes in Dolphin Square, said:"These plans were announced in July last year. Nothing happened then and nothing is happening now. It is no more than a feasibility study. Our shop is not going to be demolished.

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