New lease of life for ‘tired’ area of town


- Credit: Archant

AN EXCITING redevelopment plan for a tired industrial area in Portishead could see major new investment in the town.

Proposals for the regeneration of Old Mill Road have been unveiled, revealing that a railway station piazza, cinema, other leisure facilities and top retailers could help form a link from Harbour Road to Wyndham Way and the town’s High Street.

Land owner, Ignis Real Estate, has appointed a team including retail agents and planning and transport consultants to help move the regeneration forward and liaise with the community. A public exhibition and consultation is expected to be held in late spring or early summer.

A spokesman for Signet Planning, which forms part of the team, said: “The existing site is tired and has experienced recent pressures for change of use.

“The proposed development represents a significant enhancement to Portishead town centre which will create jobs, services and major new investment into the town.”

The comprehensive plans are expected to take shape in 2017 when the current leases on properties in Old Mill Road expire and some businesses could be forced to move elsewhere.

T & G Woodware, which leases five units in the road, has operated from the site for 36 years and has a workforce of about 45.

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Managing director Patrick Gardner said: “The lease we have means that we will get compensation if we have to move.

“That would help us to develop a new site and we would hope to keep that close to our current location. However, I would rather not move in the first place.”

Only last year a Portishead couple invested more than £100,000 to get the indoor play centre, The Playport, up and running in Old Mill Road and the area has recently received a great deal of interest from leisure businesses, with a wave of change-of-use applications submitted for a gym, indoor skate park, a swimming pool for babies and a dog training centre.

Andy Cleeves who will open the Fitness Hub Gym in Old Mill Road in the near future said: “I would have liked a longer lease and I am still hopeful that if we make a success of our facility that the landlords will allow us to continue to serve the community here.”

Jason Harvey, one of the businessmen behind the indoor skate park project, said: “The short lease is a bit of a shame but we are still prepared to get this project up and running to benefit the community for at least the next four or five years.”