Dolphin Square Supplementary Planning Document

2 - Location and Site Description

The site is situated at the southern end of the High Street in Weston-super-Mare town centre and includes Dolphin Square with its covered market and car park, Sands Nightclub, the Oxford Restaurant & Takeaway (No2a-2b Oxford Street), the Chicken Inn (No 12-16 Oxford Street) and Carlton Street Car Park opposite, including Scally's Pub and the former National Association of Local Government Officers (NALGO) building.
Site Plan
Dolphin Square is 1.16 hectares in size and is predominantly in Council ownership subject to a long leasehold interest by Kilmartin and other private owners. Dolphin Square is a courtyard development with a five-storey, four-storey and two-storey building constructed in the 1960's surrounding a public open square with children's play facilities. The buildings have limited architectural merit and are not considered worthy of retention. Its current uses consist of approximately 3,400 m2 of office space, 200 car parking spaces at 1st floor level, 18 residential flats (subject to short-term tenancies), 19 shops and cafes covering about 3,800 m2, a covered market with market stalls measuring 1,100m2 and a ten pin bowling alley with the same floorspace.
The Chicken Inn is a restaurant/take away of about 187 m2 situated in a single storey building along Oxford Street, which is physically attached to the back of one of the Dolphin Square buildings and is equally not considered to be of any architectural merit.
          Chicken Inn          Oxford Street
          Photo 1: the Chicken Inn                   Photo 2: No 2a and 2b Oxford Street
No 2a and 2b Oxford Street is a three-storey corner building dating from the 1930's, in private ownership and currently occupied by The Oxford Restaurant and Takeaway at ground floor level with an approximate floorspace of 65m2 and 1 residential flat above (see photo No.2). The building wraps around the corner of Oxford Street and Beach Road and forms a strong entrance to this corner from the seafront. It also provides a set-back building line along Beach Road which gives enough width to allow outdoor seating overlooking the Beach Lawns. Whilst the building is not in a bad condition, its ground floor facade has been altered substantially in the 1960s and hence, it is not considered to be of special architectural merit that would make its retention essential in a redevelopment scheme.
The building occupied by Sands Nightclub facing Beach Road is a single-story, flat-roof building in private ownership with no architectural merit, making no use of its primary seafront location. The floorspace is approximately 780 m2.
Block D, Dolphin Square surface car park has 124 spaces at surface level fronting onto the sea. The surface is neither bound nor does it have delineated bays. Again, this is a completely underused site of 0.24 ha in a prime location. The site is jointly owned by the Council and Kilmartin.
Carlton Street Car Park to the south of Carlton Street has 191 delineated car parking spaces at surface level. Carlton Street Car Park is in Council ownership and extends to 0.53 hectares in size.
The former NALGO building is a small, single storey building of about 108 m2 in size, is in Council ownership, currently used for storage by the Council and only accessible from the Carlton Street Car Park side (see photo No.3). It is of no particular architectural merit.
Scally's Pub is a well known Biker's pub with a floorspace of about 285 m2 in private ownership. The building and it's retention is not considered essential. It sits oddly with its current surroundings (see Photo No.4).
       NALGO Building         Scally
       Photo 3: NALGO Building                 Photo 4: Scally's Pub
Looking at the current land-uses of the site, the split is as follows:
floorspace chart 
Looking at the surroundings of the site, starting from the south, Carlton Street Car Park, the NALGO building and Scally's Pub are surrounded on the western, southern, and south-eastern side by residential properties (see Photo No.5), many of which have ground and first floor windows facing into the site. To the east of Carlton Street Car park is Walliscote Primary School, a Grade II listed building and the Carlton Centre used for adult education (see Photo No.6).
         Residential Properties         Carlton Centre
         Photo 5: Residential Properties         Photo 6: Carlton Centre and
                                                                            Walliscote Primary School
The Dolphin Square buildings along Union Street face the Town Hall and Emmanuel Church to the east. To the north, along Oxford Street is a mix of buildings and uses, mainly retail and leisure at ground floor with residential
above. Most buildings along Oxford Street are up to three-storeys high and display a variety of architectural styles (see photo below). The north-eastern corner of Dolphin Square forms a visual end point when looking down the High Street.
Oxford StreetTo the west of the site are the Beach Lawns and to the south is the Salvation Army building and a high-rise residential development of 8 storeys. At present, the site does not allow any visual or pedestrian links across the site between the seafront and Emmanuel Church or any visual links between the High Street and Carlton Street Car Park. The site forms a transition point between the northern side, facing main thoroughfares, shops and the High Street and the southern part being surrounded by residential and educational uses.
With regard to traffic, particularly along Oxford Road and Beach Road, the volume of traffic is quite high and does not allow pedestrians to cross the road (unless at designated points), nor does it provide for a calm, pedestrian friendly environment which would encourage outdoor seating/café culture.
The Urban Design section deals in more detail with the implications of the site surroundings for any redevelopment proposals.