Experts in call for more shops

NEW shops need to open in Weston to stop it losing trade to rival towns, according to a new economic study

NEW shops need to open in Weston to stop it losing trade to rival towns, according to a new economic study.The Sovereign Shopping Centre and Dolphin Square have been singled out as the hottest sites for expansion under the 196-page North Somerset Leisure and Retail Study.A full-sized food superstore will also be needed to serve the area's newly-built residential areas and could kick-start further commercial development there, says the report.These and other trends have been predicted in the study drawn up by property consultants Donaldsons to help inform decision makers about the health and future direction of the area until 2021.The report, due to be considered by councilors next week, says there are already too few shops in Weston town centre to pull in customers from a wider area. It says the shops are catering 'principally' for the lower mid-market.Remedies suggested include a substantial redevelopment of the Sovereign Centre and Dolphin Square or more smaller-scale developments. More offices are needed to raise the town's economic profile and, beyond the town centre, a new 'district centre' will be needed to serve the town's large new housing stock.A new food superstore could be justified by about 2011 and by 2016 there should be enough demand for 'significant non-food retailing' in the new centre. This would have to be tailored to limit its impact on the town centre trade, the report adds.


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