‘Garish’ shop prevents Weston High Street building getting listed status

PUBLISHED: 16:30 15 February 2018

Views of the former Burton building (now Costa and CEX) in High Street, Weston.

Views of the former Burton building (now Costa and CEX) in High Street, Weston.

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A ‘superb’ Weston-super-Mare High Street building will not be handed protected status because its character has been ‘eroded’ by a ‘don’t-give-a-damn’ national chain store.

Views of the former Burton building (now Costa and CEX) in High Street, Weston.Views of the former Burton building (now Costa and CEX) in High Street, Weston.

The former Burton’s building, on the corner of Regent Street, has been denied listed building status by Historic England because of video game exchange CEX’s ‘most garish of red shop fronts’, which has detracted from the appearance of the 1930s art-deco building.

The ‘wonderful’ building, which also houses a Costa coffee shop, features ‘glitzy jazz-age motifs’ in the shape of elephants, according to Weston Civic Society.

In the latest edition of its Weston View newsletter, the civic society criticised CEX’s ‘disfiguring’ of the unit.

A spokesman said: “Costa has created a wide-windowed ground floor with a subtle company logo which doesn’t compromise the architecture.

Views of the former Burton building (now Costa and CEX) in High Street, Weston.Views of the former Burton building (now Costa and CEX) in High Street, Weston.

“More recently the most garish of red shop fronts has so disfigured the building that Historic England felt it could not list the structure.

“That such damage could be inflicted by the don’t-give-a-damn antics of a national chain store and condoned without criticism by planners harks back to the bad old days of the 1970s.”

The spokesman suggested North Somerset Council should create guidelines for shop fronts to prevent further buildings from being refused a heritage listing.

They added: “With the creation of the Heritage Action Zone, reappraisal of conservation areas and involvement of Historic England we expect to see better things.”

Views of the former Burton building (now Costa and CEX) in High Street, Weston.Views of the former Burton building (now Costa and CEX) in High Street, Weston.

A Historic England spokesman told the Mercury ‘the principal reason for refusal is alterations over time have eroded the building’s historic character’.

Its report on the building added: “Although an eye-catching, purpose-built Burton’s shop in the art-deco style, significant alterations to the shop fronts, the repositioning of the entrances and the loss of the Crittal windows in the principal elevations have eroded the uniformity of the composition.

“The interior was always plain with a distinct lack of quality detailing and materials throughout, but the complete refurbishment of the ground and first floors has further eroded its historic character.”

The Mercury approached CEX to comment on the criticisms, but did not receive a reply before going to press.

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