Fears B&M proposal will turn Clevedon into a ‘ghost town’

An artist's impression of the redeveloped B&M store in Clevedon.

An artist's impression of the redeveloped B&M store in Clevedon. - Credit: Archant

More than 180 people have hit out plans for a key retail site they fear will ‘turn Clevedon into a ghost town’.

Wessex Investors has put forward a multi-million pound project to redevelop B&M to create a gym, shops, a café and 39 flats for over-60s.

Opponents say the town needs affordable housing, not retirement flats, and warned losing 121 parking spaces was the ‘worst thing possible’ for the Triangle.

Wessex Investors said in its application: “This multi-million pound investment will substantially improve the aesthetic and functional quality of the town centre.

“Crucially it will also secure the long-term ‘anchor’ retail presence required to enable the viability of future transformational improvements in Queen’s Square.”

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Wessex Investors said the ‘senior living’ accommodation will allow the rest of the project to happen and is ‘an economic decision aimed at reducing the risk in a fragile retail market’.

It said the development would help to regenerate Clevedon and replace the ‘uninspiring 1980s box’ building with a ‘vibrant and integrated hub’.

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Under the proposals, the B&M store would be extended and split into two shops, with a gym built above and a standalone café in the car park.

The one and two-bed ‘senior living’ flats would be built in a separate block, leaving 145 car parking spaces, plus 20 for residents.

The application says the firm owns the row of shops facing onto Queen’s Square and these could form a second phase of Clevedon’s regeneration.

Some 181 people have now objected to the proposals.

One said: “Clevedon will become a ghost town. We do not need any more flats for the elderly. We need to encourage more families.

“Without B&M, what would be the point of visiting the centre? There are already enough food outlets and who wants another gym. We already have far too many empty shops.”

Another said: “This makes no sense. There are already too many residential homes for older people in Clevedon. This should be kept as a shopping facility with parking to promote and aid commerce in the town.”

Only two people have supported the plans.

North Somerset Council will decide the fate of the application.

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