Why North Somerset Council is willing to offer rent-free periods for businesses

All manner of marine life await your visit at The SeaQuarium.

All manner of marine life await your visit at The SeaQuarium. - Credit: Archant

New investors could be offered rent-free periods to help revitalise Weston town centre.

North Somerset Council has agreed to a two-year rent-free period for Kerry Michael, of AGM Holdings, who has signed a deal with the authority to take over the SeaQuarium.

MORE: Grand Pier owners agree to turn SeaQuarium into 'special concept' restaurant

The authority has confirmed it would be willing to offer similar deals to other investors to encourage business development in Weston.

SeaQuarium, under Seaquarium Ltd, had been closed since March 2019 with no rent payments made in that time - leading to arrears totalling £116,560.

North Somerset Council said it understands the company "has no funds to meet its liability and is expected to be struck off the Register of Companies and dissolved some time after December 27, 2020.”

The council's executive member for the economy,  Mark Canniford,  said: "A rent-free period encourages businesses to invest in the property and all landlords will offer this incentive to encourage business to invest especially if we want to see significant investment in Weston.

"Huge investment is required in this site, it is not simply a paint job. So not to leave this location and facility derelict, we need to act and are delighted that the Michaels have decided to open another business here."

North Somerset Councillor Mark Canniford.Picture: MARK ATHERTON

North Somerset Councillor Mark Canniford.Picture: MARK ATHERTON - Credit: Archant

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AGM Holdings plans to invest £1.5million in the iconic building to transform the site into a 'restaurant and café, with a twist'.

Cllr Canniford confirmed rent-free periods could be offered to other businesses to garner investment in the town's Sovereign Centre.

Weston's Sovereign Centre.

Weston's Sovereign Centre. - Credit: Archant

He added: "If there are businesses who want space and can offer to invest in the town, please come forward as I am confident we can sort a rent-free period deal with property in the council's ownership - such as the units in the Sovereign Centre.

"The council will look at all ideas but the operator will have to cover service costs and it will have to be a quality operation so not to downgrade the rest of the centre."

The SeaQuarium takeover deal with the council is due to be signed off this week.