Weston-super-Mare Town Centre Regeneration - Draft Supplementary Planning Document (SPD)

Weston-super-Mare town centre regeneration Draft SPD

The Bay

EXISTING CHARACTERISTICS

1. Area at the northern end of the Bay overlooking Marine Lake, Knightstone Island and the piers. Land rises steeply towards the wooded backdrop of Worlebury Hill.

2. Characterised by seafront hotels, bars, holiday accommodation, conversions to nursing homes, apartments and HMOs.

3. Located in the Birnbeck and Melrose Conservation Areas. Numerous listed buildings including the Royal Crescent, Royal Hotel and Claremont Crescent. Grade II* listed Birnbeck Pier and Holy Trinity Church provide individual points of architectural interest in the wider bay context. Buildings are predominantly three to four storey painted render or stone Victorian and Edwardian villas and terraces some with generous setbacks from the road, interspersed by areas of private open space and car parking.

4. Royal Parade and Knightstone Road separate the built edge from the newly renovated wide pedestrian promenade and the beach.

5. Extensive views from and to this area across the bay, to Knightstone Island, and Marine Lake. Holy Trinity Church spire and St John the Baptist Church tower punctuate the wooded backdrop behind the frontage buildings.

6. Much of the mid-19th residential character derives from sub-Regency, Italianate and Tudor fashion so typical of that era. Terraces and crescents to the fore with individual larger villas further uphill lend solidity. Boundary walls, gate pillars, an impressive variety of barge boarding and occasional remnants of terra cotta additions from the former Weston Royal Potteries add to a sense of architectural self confidence. Timber sash windows were the norm, though many have been replaced using inappropriate materials or design detail. A mix of individual and shared private gardens have often given way to car parking, causing a loss of traditional boundary walls.

 

The-Bay  Legend

 

FUTURE CHARACTER STATEMENT

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The prominence of the Bay area fronting the seafront will continue as the significant and defining character of Weston as a seaside town. The focus will be to create a mix of hotel and tourist accommodation including more boutique style hotels. Bars and restaurants will continue to feature strongly in the area. The conversion of some of the poorer quality hotels and buildings to quality residential use is to be welcomed where there is no realistic prospect of the hotel being refurbished. Conversions to poor quality residential accommodation and HMO’s will be
resisted. Some student accommodation in purpose built or converted premises will add to the vibrancy of the area and sites close to the existing college may be acceptable for additional college uses.

Views form an important component of the town and seascape in the area. Glimpses of the sea from inland are to be maintained, properties should be orientated to make the most of sea views. The curving sweep of three to four storey buildings along the frontage, the wooded backdrop and the prominent church spire and tower form a cohesive vista which will be maintained.

 

DEVELOPMENT PRINCIPLES

  • Uses including leisure, cultural and tourist facilities, entertainment, and accommodation, also well designed residential uses, including purpose built student accommodation and college uses.
  • Bars, cafes and restaurant uses which spill onto the pavement along the seafront will be encouraged.
  • The conversion of poor quality existing and former hotels and care homes to well designed, quality residential uses will be welcomed where there is no realistic prospect of the existing facility being refurbished and used in the plan period.
  • The conversion of sub-divided villas and houses back to single residences will be welcomed but further sub-divisions to poor quality housing and HMOs will be resisted.
  • New development including extensions to existing properties should harmonise with the existing scale of development in this part of town and with the overall building materials which are mainly stone and painted render.
  • Buildings significantly taller than the existing built form which disrupt the curving sweep of the bay would not normally be acceptable. Buildings should not compete with or obstruct the views of the Listed church spire and tower.
  • Buildings should be orientated to make the most of sea views, ensuring seaward facing facades along the promenade.
  • Conversions of Victorian and Edwardian properties will need to ensure the integrity of the buildings are not compromised, that detailing is maintained and that any extensions conform with or complement the period architecture.
  • The curving sweep of mainly three to four storey buildings along the seafront should be maintained.
  • Views from across the bay should continue to see both this curving built form, the wooded backdrop and the church spire and tower.
  • Any public realm improvements would be required to be sympathetic to the historical character of the area and enhance both the conservation area and any listed building. Materials and street furniture should emphasise the distinctly Victorian character of this area.
  • The importance of the pedestrian and cycling network along the coast and links with the wider town centre should be recognised and enhanced in any physical improvements made to the public realm.
  • Any open spaces should take into account the impact of the wind and orientate seating areas to make the most of views but which are also sheltered.