Weston Town Council to purchase Mercury and Times building
- Credit: Archant
The iconic Weston Mercury building will be purchased by Weston Town Council.
The listed building, in Waterloo Street, was designed by Han Price and has been the office of Weston Mercury and North Somerset Times newspapers since it opened in 1885.
The building went up for sale in May last year as the paper's company Archant is relocating.
The town council will buy the building for its headquarters, community use and an information centre for both visitors and residents.
This means that the iconic Mercury building, which has been closed to the public since May, can be reopened and not risk becoming derelict while waiting for a buyer.
Town clerk Malcolm Nicholson said: "The Mercury Building is a beautiful Victorian building designed by famous architect Hans Price and has served the local community for more than 130 years as the base of the town’s local papers.
"We were sorry to hear that it was being vacated, risking it lying empty and deteriorating and it’s great that a deal has been done which will mean that it will be saved and reopened to the public for town council and community use."
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The town council has been expanding in recent years, taking on services such as the Weston Museum, Ellenborough Park and public toilets - all of which would otherwise have been closed to the public.
Its offices are currently split between Grove House, Grove Lodge and Milton Cemetery and there is not enough office space for staff and no adequate meeting rooms.
The Visitor Information Centre at the Tropicana building is not going to be available in 2022 so it will be relocated at the Mercury building to provide information to people, while having a satellite visitor information centre at the Water Park on the seafront, as well as mobile information centres from the two Tuk Tuks.
The Mercury building allows the town council to have room for all of its staff to be housed together, the information centre at the front and community meeting space all in the same building.
In coming years improvements will be made to its environmental performance, accessibility and the historic front façade cleaned.