Work to revamp Sovereign Centre begins next month

Weston-super-Mare Sovereign Centre.

Building works to transform the shopping centre into a multi-use complex begin in December. - Credit: Archant

Weston's Sovereign Centre edges ever-closer to being revamped following North Somerset Council's pledge to make the site a hub for the town's community.

Last month, the council received £1.7million from Westminister's Getting Building Fund to revamp the precinct into a multiuse, community-focused events space.

Plans have since been revealed to transform the building's interior and exterior and people will soon be asked to suggest a new name for the shopping centre.

Weston General Stores is a temporary name and the public has been asked to help find a new one.

The revamped centre has been named Weston General Stores until the public decides its new title. - Credit: North Somerset Council

The council's executive for economy, Cllr Mark Canniford, said: “I am confident that part of the transformation plans for the Sovereign Centre will offer the changes needed to create a hub for the local community of Weston.

"This funding allows us to complete the first stage of our plans for the Sovereign Centre. We are looking at a new normal that is very different for shopping and living.

"Engagement on the name of the centre will take place in the coming weeks. This is a community space and it’s important the community has their say on what the centre will be called.”

The previous authority purchased the centre in a £21million deal in 2018 but its value has since diminished due to the strain of the pandemic.

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Amongst the changes being proposed by the council to reinvigorate the space is a new dining area inside the precinct.

A bike hub to encourage active living has also been discussed as well as a shifting focus on improving opportunities for workers and businesses post-Covid.

An artist's impression of what the Sovereign Shopping Centre could look like.

An artist's impression of what the Sovereign Shopping Centre could look like. - Credit: North Somerset Council

After securing the funds to launch the project earlier this year, councillor Robert Payne said: "It is pretty obvious which way town centres are going and the pandemic has moved these along, we do need to adapt and change things."

The council's executive committee agreed on plans to revamp the Sovereign Centre in February after thousands of people took part in a consultation carried out by Turner Works in late 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic.

Works are expected to begin next month (December 2021).