Weston College’s Winter Gardens plans are revealed
PUBLISHED: 11:00 04 August 2015 | UPDATED: 12:41 04 August 2015
WESTON College’s plans for the town’s iconic Winter Gardens have finally been revealed.
If the application is approved, the ballroom will be refurbished and the pavilion restored.
A total of 10 seminar rooms will be created and the Prince Consort Hall will be split into two to make way for a court room and large lecture theatre.
When complete, the centre will cater for 700 students and 100 staff, with space for up to 650 people at events and functions.
Concerns were raised about protecting the building when the transfer was announced, but a bid for heritage status was rejected.
Now the plans reveal no alterations will be made to the original structure, which dates back to 1927, but the single-storey building to the north east of the venue – which was added in the 1980s – will be demolished to make way for a two-storey building in the same footprint.
The new building will host the centre’s main entrance and new cladding will improve the centre’s overall look and insulation.
Weston College principal Dr Phillips said: “This is an exciting opportunity for us to work with the council and the community to create something of great benefit to Weston.”
The proposal highlights that few of the building’s original features remain, but says: “The pavilion is considered to be a local heritage and community asset.
“The objective of the restoration is to preserve the best elements of the original design.
“Any repairs or the replacement of any features that are required will replicate the details used in the 1920s design.”
The rear of the Winter Gardens, which includes the Clarence, Grove and Ashcombe suites, will continue to be used as function space as well as the ballroom, and councillor Sarah Codling said: “The council has pledged to safeguard public use of the building.
“I am pleased to see the principle of community access to the Winter Gardens remains fundamental to the agreement.”
Central ward councillor Richard Nightingale said: “The Winter Gardens previously cost taxpayers a significant amount each year to keep open. In the college’s hands it can create something of benefit to Weston for generations to come.
“This is another step on the road to Weston’s regeneration, while still preserving its past.
“This project will continue to raise Weston’s reputation nationally as a centre of excellence for education.”
A consultation with specialists TownCentred Ltd is underway to improve the town centre and Sam Walker, the manager of one of Weston High Street’s oldest businesses, Walker & Ling, has praised plans for improved links to the town centre. He said: “Investment in the future of this area is very exciting.
“When the High Street is busy, all areas of the town benefit.
“It’s an exciting time for the college and for the town.”
Do you like look of the college’s plans? Let us know by tweeting us @WSMercury or find us on Facebook.
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Weston Mercury. Click the link in the orange box above for details.