Dolphin Square housing project lagging behind other regeneration developments
PUBLISHED: 07:00 08 June 2018
The final phase of Dolphin Square's development has fallen behind other housing projects in Weston-super-Mare, the Mercury can reveal.
More than 100 flats are due to be created adjacent to the recently-built Oxford Street leisure complex – home to restaurants and a Cineworld cinema – but the development is lagging behind the town’s other key housing projects.
Homes England, the Government’s house-building department, is working with North Somerset Council to harvest sites at Sunnyside Road North, Locking Road Car Park and Dolphin Square for housing.
In September, Homes England told the Mercury plans would emerge before the turn of the year, but no applications have been made.
The Mercury has learned public consultations showcasing plans for Locking Road Car Park and Sunnyside Road North will be held this summer.
But Homes England has told the Mercury ‘further pre-planning technical work’ is required for Dolphin Square before blueprints can be revealed.
The delay has been blamed on an electricity substation which needs to be relocated, and the council failed in a funding bid to move it in February.
And the Mercury understands staffing changes at Homes England have exacerbated hold-ups, with new employees learning the ropes.
MORE: North Somerset Council receives cut of Dolphin Square rent.
A Homes England spokesman said: “We are liaising closely with the council in considering the development options for Dolphin Square and we hope to progress pre-application discussions in respect of a submission for outline planning consent shortly.
“The site holds a large primary substation, which is operated by Western Power and is an extremely important part of the supply network for Weston.”
Homes England is in talks with Western Power over a solution to ‘maximise housing potential’ of the development, which ties in with the ongoing town centre regeneration.
The spokesman added: “Homes England is managing a number of regeneration sites in central Weston and we share the vision of the council to bring forward the sites in ways which can provide new housing options in Weston.
“Dolphin Square is an important site. Its location adjoining the seafront and the leisure development increases its importance in further enhancing this area of the town.”