Mercury Article: Weston’s future should include protecting our past, right?

If you’ve visited the Sovereign Centre recently, you’re bound to have seen the cheerful #SUPERWESTON exhibitions about what Weston’s future should hold. The ideas range from designer shops to skateparks, tenpin bowling or even virtual reality cafes; you can take your pick.

Quite a few of us want Weston’s future to include protecting our past. We don’t have to exclude all the new, shiny stuff by preserving the old; we can and should have both at the same time. Preserving or regenerating historic Westonis a key part of what makes us unique and different today. We don’t want to be an identikit town that’s no different from any of the others in Somerset, or anywhere else for that matter. 

Reassuringly, the buildings that experts in big national organisations like Historic England think are important in Weston line up pretty much exactly with what you and I as local residents think too. 

Take Birnbeck Pier – we all know the current owner should step aside and let someone with a plan take over before it’s lost to the sea, and both the Council and Historic England agree. 

Or Worlebury Hillfort – built around 2,300 years ago, it’s a piece of Weston’s History that has suffered over the years and would be a travesty to lose.

Or Weston’s high street, which is facing the same pressures from internet shopping and out-of-town malls as many others, and which needs to reshape itself into something new and different, that’s more than just coffee and charity shops please.  

It’s a fine balancing act and local views matter. So the next time you see one of the #SUPERWESTON exhibitions, please stop for a moment and let them know what you think. Investing in Weston’s heritage makes us more interesting as a place to work, visit and live. And keeping good-looking buildings and public spaces makes our town-on-the-bay more beautiful too.