Shop and ski by the sea at Christmas?

A DRY ski slope in the heart of Weston could soon be the Christmas attraction which draws thousands of shoppers to the town centre over

A DRY ski slope in the heart of Weston could soon be the Christmas attraction which draws thousands of shoppers to the town centre over the festive season.Plans are taking shape to make the town one of the most unique places to experience Christmas in the region, with a ski slope on the Town Square off the High Street heading the list of attractions.Eventually, the Weston Town Centre Partnership, which is behind the project, would like to see the slope complemented by an ice-rink on Big Lamp Corner and possibly even a toboggan run during the Christmas season.The partnership is keen to make Weston stand out during the profitable run-up to Christmas and attract people into the town who might normally shop in other towns and cities in the South West.Its aims for this year include installing Christmas lights in Dolphin Square, St James Street and Big Lamp Corner, creating a grotto and children's show, holding themed evenings, introducing a Christmas lights scheme in the Orchard Meadows shopping area and holding a 'best dressed window' competition.Next year it hopes to bring in a dry ski slope for the Town Square and create a 'Winter Wonderland' with children's rides and a grotto. The partnership is also looking to hold German markets and significantly upgrade the town centre's lighting scheme.In future years it is keen to add more rides to the Winter Wonderland and also bring in an ice rink or toboggan run on Big Lamp Corner.The partnership's next mission is to find funding for the projects. It is confident it can find sponsors but is aware of the expense of the projects it wants to introduce. Last year property giant Barratt came forward to fund the Christmas lights with an eleventh hour gift of £15,000 in sponsorship.Town centre manager Steve Townsend said: "At the moment we are looking for a core sponsor or perhaps a mix of sponsors to drive the project forward."For this year's scheme we will need around £15,000 and then around £50,000 in three years time."The idea is to make Weston stand out as a unique place for people to visit and shop in the South West, something different to what they can already get in the other shopping centres in the region."Any businesses interested in sponsorship should call Mr Townsend on 01934 417117.

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