Week in Weston: Huge Expansion Predicted

It's predicted that in 10 years Weston-super-Mare in North Somerset will be bigger than Bath. Credit: ITV News

It's predicted that in 10 years Weston-super-Mare in North Somerset will be bigger than Bath and will stretch all the way to the M5.

Children at Haywood Village Academy are some of most privileged children in any school.

That's because there are only 3 classes in an entire school building.

The rest of the building, for now, lies empty, awaiting new arrivals as demand for places grow.

Next month, 100 families will join a new nursery at the school.

It's a sign, many in Weston argue, that after years of neglect and decline, Weston-super-Mare is enjoying a change of fortune.

We could feel the excitement that these children had started and that these families had started a new adventure. There are some families that come to us from outside the region - some from Bristol, and it does feel like a fresh start.

Craig Jones, Haywood Village Academy
16%

expansion in the next 10 years - Making Weston bigger than Bath.

88,000

Current population of Weston. This is expected to continue to grow rapidly.

£150m

Investment secured so far.

2030

Expected to be 9,000 extra jobs and 6,000 new homes.

Weston is predicted to expand by 16%, making it bigger than the city of Bath. Credit: ITV News

Once the town's Mayor and council leader, few know the town as well as John Crockford-Hawley.

He says there's a confidence in the town not felt for a century.

The demographics are changing and the idea that the British seaside is some place you went to buy your bungalow in order to die, that's changing. We are getting many more younger families coming to Weston and of course Weston College or University Centre Weston will epitomise that.

John Crockford-Hawley
Weston College is now one of the area's biggest employers. Credit: ITV News

Weston College is now one of the area's biggest employers with half a dozen sites across Weston-super-Mare.

Where the Beatles once played, hundreds of students will now study degree-level courses at the Winter Gardens.

After being bought for a pound, Weston College's newest site will open next month after an £11 million investment.

This is the catalyst for the regeneration of North Somerset and indeed Weston-super-Mare. We are bringing key employers back into the town, we are training their staff. There is a sense of purpose that Weston-super-Mare is not just a lovely seaside resort. It is now a place where people come to study, it's a place that companies will look at and decide they may relocate.

Dr Paul Phillips, Weston College Principal

High property prices are forcing many away from places like Bristol to fill new homes in Weston-super-Mare.

While many still commute away from Weston for their work, an enterprise zone off Junction 21 of the M5 is creating thousands of jobs.

The long-awaited £45 million redevelopment of a shopping centre to the south of the town centre will house an eight-screen cinema, restaurants and, eventually, housing.

The long-awaited £45 million redevelopment of a shopping centre to the south of the town centre. Credit: ITV News

As if to embrace the revival around it, the town's museum will this month reopen after its own two-year refurbishment.

The Visitor Manager says as well as reflecting on its proud past, the attraction will celebrate a new beginning.

When money became tight, the museum was threatened with permanent closure.

It took the people of Weston to save it and give it new life.

The town's museum will this month reopen after its own two-year refurbishment. Credit: ITV News

If you go around Weston nowadays, with everything that is happening, I think Weston is beginning to start its peak again. And I think there is a lot of encouragement in the town.

Nick Mellin, Visitor Manager at Weston Museum

Watch our Correspondent Richard Payne's full report on Weston-super-Mare below: