Town centre demolition

A HUGE part of Weston town centre is set to be knocked down and completely rebuilt in the biggest regeneration project in the district for over 50 years

A HUGE part of Weston town centre is set to be knocked down and completely rebuilt in the biggest regeneration project in the district for over 50 years.Every building between Union Street, Carlton Street, Beach Road and Oxford Street in Weston will be demolished under exciting new plans revealed by North Somerset Council.Dolphin Square shopping precinct will be obliterated along with Somerset House, Sands nightclub, the Kyriacou Cafe, Hobbits nightclub and the NCP car park.In its place will be built a library to replace the existing Central Library in the Boulevard, shops, leisure facilities, car parking and a modern, landmark building facing Beach Lawns which would house luxury apartments.Council offices, a centre for North Somerset Primary Care Trust and a children's centre will be built on the existing Carlton Street Car Park and Union Street will be rebuilt at a different angle to create more space for a new and bigger Town Hall reception.The radical plans will be unveiled to the public at the council's executive meeting on February 13.Although the freehold for the 2.88 acre piece of land is owned by the council, the revolutionary project could involve compulsory purchase orders being made to allow the authority to take complete control of the site.The project will be done in phases. The first step will involve developing Carlton Street Car Park and could be completed within a year. Phase two will see the northern part of the site turned into a new square with retail, leisure and residential buildings. The final phase will focus on the buildings facing the seafront.The council hopes the cost of the whole project will be recouped from sales and rentals of the offices, shops and apartments.North Somerset's executive member for finance, Cllr Mike Bell, said: "This would be a cutting edge, 21st century development that would attract shoppers to the area, enhance the look of the seafront and add a new landmark to the town."I hope we can work well with property owners and CNC, which has a long term lease on the site, to make it all happen."Executive member for strategic planning, Cllr John Crockford-Hawley, said: "We have a real opportunity to create a stunning redevelopment package for this area with high quality architecture replacing out-dated, 1960s mediocrity. This exciting project will strengthen the retail and commercial heart of Weston."Councillors and officers will now begin a consultation process with property owners and the public....BUT BUSINESSES WAIT TO BE TOLDBUSINESS owners around the Dolphin Square site are shocked at the news it is to be knocked down and rebuilt.Andrew Antonio, whose family owns the Kyriacou Cafe in Oxford Street, says it is good that Weston is being redeveloped and the town should 'move with the times', but he does have some concerns.He said: "The site is big enough to have its own shopping mall, bowling alley and cinema."Weston is falling behind the game and does need some redevelopment. We need to move with the times."But he added: "My parents-in-law have lived above the cafe for 35 years and haven't been told anything about it, so I will have to tell them."They will probably have a mixed reaction. If they are offered a new building maybe they will want to carry on the family business, maybe they won't."It is difficult to say how I feel when I don't know how the redevelopment will work."The council would have to have done its research. But it is a shock to learn about it from the Mercury."Sands nightclub owner Cam Mu hopes the new development will help the town's tourism industry, but thinks the council should pay to relocate his Beach Road business.Mr Mu said: "I am very shocked. As a local businessman the council should have informed me and got me involved. I hope that if this goes ahead the council would relocate me to another premises and pay any losses in turnover while the nightclub is closed."But the number one priority is for the development to benefit the people of Weston and increase tourism.

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