Council make decision on Watchet's East Quay

WATCHET'S East Quay. PHOTO: Steve Guscott.

WATCHET'S East Quay. PHOTO: Steve Guscott.

First published in News

THE long-awaited redevelopment of Watchet’s East Quay could finally go ahead, despite councillors ending the deal with developers Urban Splash.

West Somerset councillors have confirmed their approval of an agreement with the operator of Watchet Marina to develop part of the site.

The council voted to end the long-term deal with the Birmingham-based developers after their plans to create a complex of homes and retail space were scaled down.

Watchet Marina first expressed an interest in the site last year and councillors look set to agree to a deal which would provide the owner with a defined area on East Quay to store boats and develop commercial facilities linked to the marina.

However, the agreement is still subject to final financial discussions.

The agreement with the Marina operator also leaves land on the south of the East Quay.

The Onion Collective, a West Somerset based enterprise group wants to turn the site into a mix of work units and creative space industries.

Naomi Griffith, sister Jess Prendergrast and co-directors Rachel Kelly and Georgie Grant, who launched the group, said Watchet deserved something to happen on the space after ten years.

Mrs Griffith said: “We have £80,000 of funding from the government to use for social investment and business across Watchet.

“Over the next few weeks we’ll be engaging in talks with stakeholders in Watchet including the town council and district council about what they think the money would best be spent on.

“We really want to focus on the enterprise and tourism aspects for East Quay, and to make the most of this area and encourage new businesses to come forward.

“As well as that, we would like to spend some of the money on the youth work in Watchet and in particular the youth club.

“We’ve already carried out a lot of research asking local residents their views and we’ll be making sure that the views are still the same and carrying out some more formal consultations before any decisions are made.”

Tim Taylor, leader of West Somerset Council said: “The council has agreed to enforce the break clause with the previous potential developers of this land, Urban Splash.

“This enables the council to consult people and organisations in Watchet as to how this land should be developed.

“The Onion Collective has some ideas on this and these will, of course, be considered along with any other ideas which emerge in discussions with the people and communities of Watchet.”

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