Two new attractions for Weston-super-Mare

North Somerset Council (NSC) has approved plans for two new visitor attractions to be established in Weston-super-Mare, which it said will contribute towards the transformation of the town's seafront.

Plans for the redevelopment of the 104-year-old Grand Pier, which was severely damaged by fire in July last year, were given the green light by the council's West Area committee, as were proposals for a new 40m (131ft) observation wheel. A new three-storey pavilion, designed by Bristol-based architect Angus Meek, will be built on the seaward end of the Grand Pier, incorporating a family entertainment centre that will also be able to accommodate functions, concerts and other events.

The project also includes a 91m (299ft)-high observation tower with moveable viewing deck, indoor fairground rides, shops, restaurants and a central shelter along the length of the pier, as well as a retractable glazed canopy over the existing courtyard entrance at the shore end of the pier. Pier owners, Kerry and Michelle Michael, said: "We are now keen to get on with the job of rebuilding as soon as practically possible. Our design team has been working flat out for many months to bring this project together and came up with a concept, which was everyone's overwhelming favourite.

"Getting planning permission is great but it is just another step along the way. We still need the co-operation of North Somerset Council as surrounding land owners to make this scheme work." World Tourist Attractions (WTA) is behind the plans for the new observation wheel, which will be situated on the beach lawns and will feature 30 observation pods capable of accommodating eight people each.

In a statement, WTA said: "The official launch date and opening ceremony is still to be confirmed. However, once open to the public, the wheel will become ‘quite literally’ one of the highlights to any visit to Weston-super-Mare and an iconic addition to the local skyline." NSC deputy leader and executive member for tourism, Elfan Ap Rees, added: "There is still some way to go before we see the new pier arising from the ashes, but we are committed to working with the pier owners and Weston's wider tourist industry to make this venture a success.

"In the meantime, the 'Weston Eye' is only the first of several new attractions planned for this summer to keep the visitors coming. Tourism remains a major employer and income generator for North Somerset and we need to maintain and grow visitor numbers while we wait for the pier to re-open."

North Somerset Council (NSC) has approved plans for two new visitor attractions to be established in Weston-super-Mare, which it said will contribute towards the transformation of the town's seafront. Plans for the redevelopment of the 104-year-old Grand Pier, which was severely damaged by fire in July last year, were given the green light by the council's West Area committee, as were proposals for a new 40m (131ft) observation wheel. A
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