Weston-super-Mare High Street Heritage Action Zone

The west end of Weston-super-Mare's High Street is characterised by a unique and unusual group of 20th-century buildings.

Video not working due to cookies settings or click here to watch on YouTube

Weston-super-Mare’s expansion in the 20th century produced a unique architectural legacy. The western part of the High Street contrasts with the largely 19th-century town centre, offering glimpses of 1920s seaside fun, post-war optimism and 1960s space age idealism. It includes a cluster of important civic buildings including the Town Hall, Magistrate’s Court and three churches, plus parades of shops and offices and the stunning 1935 art deco Odeon cinema, the first in the country.

Weston’s 20th-century zone sits at the gateway to the town on the main route linking the railway station and the seafront. But this area is failing and neglected with a very high vacancy rate (25%) and high levels of social deprivation. The town centre no longer has any national department stores and footfall has decreased year on year. The poor state of repair of the buildings, shopfronts and public realm means few users stay long or spend much in this part of the town centre.

How the Weston-super-Mare High Street Heritage Action Zone will help

An award of up to £1.1 million to North Somerset Council will fund the High Streets Heritage Action Zone. This will work alongside other regeneration initiatives in Weston to breathe new life into the town's 20th century buildings, repairing them and finding new uses for them, turning surplus retail space into homes, business premises and community spaces. Alongside physical improvements, there will be a cultural programme building on Weston’s thriving creative scene, engaging people with the town’s heritage and looking ahead to its future.

Stay up to date

Below you can find just some of the progress being made in the Weston-super-Mare High Street Heritage Action Zone. For more, follow us on Twitter @HistoricEngland.

  • The first shopfront to benefit was Walker & Ling, a department store that first opened its doors in 1892. The post-war architecture was restored to its former glory in May 2021.
  • Another high street fixture to be restored is the Fork n Ale Taproom and Kitchen. Now an independent restaurant, bar and music venue, it opened in the 1800s. Historic features like its stained-glass windows will be reinstated, and the frontage restored to its original façade.
  • 21st Century super Shrines, an innovative series of contemporary shrines, is starting with a performance-based bandstand in the town centre in winter 2021/2022. It's part of a three-year cultural programme funded by Historic England and led by Culture Weston.
  • The Memory Bank Exhibition window display in the Sovereign Centre featured artwork based on the memories and hopes of people who took part in the Memory Bank Project.
  • The Women of Number 11, an original story set in Weston-super-Mare written by Rebecca Tantony for the specially commissioned High Street Tales podcast series. 

20th-century buildings to benefit

The scheme is breathing new life into the town's 20th-century buildings.

High Streets