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Conran reveals Weston-super-Mare plans

[FIRST LOOK] Conran & Partners has unveiled its latest proposals for the burned out Royal Pier Hotel in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset

The practice replaced Foster + Partners on the scheme in late 2008 and has subsequently worked on a number of designs for developer CNM Estates.

Following public consultation in 2009 and the ‘devastating fire’ that destroyed the existing hotel in September, the scheme has been substantially reduced in size from 12 to seven and will been clad in ‘honed local stone’.

The plans include 63 apartments, a boutique hotel and a new Captain’s Cabin bar as well as a restaurant, underground car parking and new shops and cafés on the promenade level.

There is also a space ‘dedicated to a lifeboat museum and visitor centre’.

Project director at Conrans Paul Zara said: ‘We are working with CNM Estates on a series or projects, and this a bold and ambitious proposal which aims to build upon the recent activity in Weston.  We’ve every confidence that between us we have designed a building worthy of this important site.’

Previous story (05.11.08)

Foster replaced in seaside switch

Foster + Partners has been replaced by Conran & Partners on the Royal Pier Hotel scheme in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset.

Developer Birnbeck Investments said it wanted ‘a more hotel-orientated’ practice to take forward the redevelopment of the seafront plot.

The scheme is being backed by local businessman Jim Scott, who has had a long and eventful relationship with the resort, having previously walked away from a 30 million overhaul of neighbouring Birnbeck Island – since bought by Urban Splash.

Earlier this summer, Scott and business partner Wahid Samady decided to close the existing hotel after reportedly posting a loss of nearly 100,000. However, the pair seem determined to press on with plans for a new hotel and have shown initial ideas to North Somerset Council’s planners.

Speaking to the Weston Mercury, Scott explained the switch: ‘Conran is more hotel-orientated so that is why we changed.’

Foster spent less than a year working on the project to build ‘a multi-million pound complex’, which would have seen luxury apartments, a five-star hotel, concept bars, restaurants and 100 apartments built on the peninsula plot (AJ online 30.11.07).

The firm’s original appointment last November was hailed with a media fanfare. Yet no images of Foster’s proposals were ever released and it has subsequently emerged that PR agency DRA Public Relations, which promoted the launch, is now in a ‘legal dispute’ with Birnbeck Investments over unpaid fees.

It is understood that Foster + Partners demanded 1.5 million in fees for the scheme.

Former RIBA president George Ferguson, who is working on a project on nearby Knightstone Island, said he had always doubted whether Foster’s scheme was ever likely to become a reality.

Ferguson said: ‘The hotel overlooks Birnbeck and it’s undoubtedly a great spot, but I’ve always taken Foster’s involvement with a pinch of salt.

‘I do think there’s an element of talking things up here.’

In February, the AJ reported that the Tropicana, a new ‘Art Deco’ leisure centre a stone’s throw from the hotel, would ‘devastate’ the area (AJ 28.02.08).

A statement from Conran’s director Paul Zara said: ‘CNM Estates chose us because of our work nationally and internationally in the hotel, residential and hospitality sectors and we have every confidence that between us we can deliver a building worthy of this important site.’

Foster + Partners was not available for comment.

Readers' comments (1)

  • This is dreadful. It is many times too big and too crude for this sensitive site. It must be refused. Incidentally, why are we offered night time views when its daytime appearance is of more significance? I think I may have answered my own question!

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