Traders in Weymouth fear a 'miserable' Christmas on harbourside

Traders in Weymouth fear a 'miserable' Christmas on harbourside

Jo Evans, manager of the King’s Arm

Phil Cox of the Londis Harbour Stores

Beth Worthington at the Crow’s Nest Bistro

First published in News Dorset Echo: Photograph of the Author by

TRADERS say they fear for their future because shoppers have deserted their businesses.

They claim Christmas is ‘not going to happen’ in the Hope Square and harbourside areas of Weymouth because Brewers Quay remains shut for business.

Work on the Victorian brewery’s £15million overhaul has still to get underway but tenants were asked to leave by the end of last year.

Planning permission was secured in January but the site has remained dormant.

When plans were initially unveiled for the redevelopment – which includes a hotel, flats, a wet weather tourist attraction, shops and restaurants – it was indicated it would be ready by next summer’s Olympics.

But now it is understood it will not be ready until at least the end of next year.

Nearby traders say they are expecting business to be poor in the run-up to Christmas.

Geoff Tizzard-King, co-owner of The T Shop on the harbourside, said his tearoom was only open for four days a week instead of five because it has become so quiet.

He said: “Christmas isn’t going to happen this time around. It’s going to be a miserable Christmas.

“We used to depend on coach-loads of people going to Brewers Quay who would go Christmas shopping then amble around to the harbourside.

“Even the locals aren’t coming here. This time of year they would normally be going down to Brewers Quay to get Christmas presents from niche shops.

“We’ve lost passing trade. A member of staff who we used to have all year round, we now can’t afford to pay until March.

“We very much doubt we will open up for January and February.”

Former Brewers Quay trader Pauline Bolt, co-owner of Pauline’s Patchwork and Quilting Supplies, has now moved her business to Poundbury.

She said: “I was at Brewers Quay for 18 years. We could have still been there now.

“But we love it in Poundbury and we’re not going back. It’s a great shame for Weymouth to lose something like that.”

Carole Pinches, of harbourside gift shop Finishing Touches, said business was very quiet in the run-up to Christmas.

“Footfall is very much down. People in town are telling visitors Brewers Quay is closed so it’s not worth coming.”

Rosie Farnworth, manager of the Crow’s Nest bistro, said: “There’s nothing going on at Brewers Quay and it has affected us.

“We’re open seven days a week and we’re going to see what happens.”

Pub manager Jo Evans, of the Kings Arms, said: “It has gone quiet during the day for us now.

“We would normally get Christmas shoppers and some of the people who worked there stopping in for a drink.”

Phil Cox, owner of the Londis Harbour Stores, said footfall was down in the area.

He added: “It would be nice to know what’s happening with Brewers Quay because traders are very concerned about whether it’s going to go ahead.

“This side of town is very, very quiet but luckily we have increased our local trade.”

‘SUDDENLY IT WILL SPRING TO LIFE’ SAY OWNERS

WEYMOUTH Museum, which is funded and managed by Brewers Quay, will stay in the new facilities although it will be relocated temporarily when building work starts.

The delays are to do with this relocation and structural work inside the building.

Alistair Ross, director of Brewers Quay owners Brewers Quay Investments LLP, said he would expect discussions about the building to be resolved this side of Christmas and that an announcement would be made soon.

He added that structural engineers had been working inside the building He said: “It’s an extremely complex building and various elements have taken some time to discuss.

“We are resolving the relocation of the museum.

“We’ve only got one chance to make it right and we want to make sure that we do.

“There are no funding issues whatsoever.

“We are committed to the building and to Weymouth.

“There’s no doubt about that at all – suddenly it will spring into life.”

Roger Dalton, of Roger Dalton Associates, which is closely involved with the redevelopment, said it was ‘too delicate’ to discuss the timeline for the building in any more detail because deals are being finalised.

“We all share the frustration of the traders at this time but we are close to finalising a deal.”

• HARBOURSIDE area councillor John Birtwistle, left, said he was ‘really worried’ about the situation.

“That side of the harbour is dying.

“I’m worried about it because I think the people who have taken on Brewers Quay may have bitten off more than they can chew.

“I think they were far too hasty in getting rid of the sitting tenants.

“People used to come from miles away to get their Christmas shopping from Brewers Quay.

“I’m worried that we’re going to end up with a derelict site which is going to kick the guts out of this area.”

Comments (19)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

12:19pm Thu 24 Nov 11

niceonecyril says...

Somewhat misleading to say they had "coach loads" visiting Hope Square, partly true, but it was passengers from the cruise ships that were dropped off in Hope sq by coach, and this doesn't happen in November/December, so it wouldn't make any difference to the xmas trade.
Somewhat misleading to say they had "coach loads" visiting Hope Square, partly true, but it was passengers from the cruise ships that were dropped off in Hope sq by coach, and this doesn't happen in November/December, so it wouldn't make any difference to the xmas trade. niceonecyril
  • Score: 0

12:40pm Thu 24 Nov 11

Wrinklyrod says...

Councillor Birtwhistle is not alone in his scepticism over the refurbishment of Brewers Quay. There never appears to be any activity there. I had a letter published in the Echo several weeks ago asking if anyone knew what was happening. No response. I spoke to a councillor on the planning committee and he had heard nothing from the owners for nearly a year. The exterior of the building is in urgent need of renovation/restorati
on prior to re-opening as a going concern. I cannot see how this wonderful old building can suddenly "Spring into life".
Councillor Birtwhistle is not alone in his scepticism over the refurbishment of Brewers Quay. There never appears to be any activity there. I had a letter published in the Echo several weeks ago asking if anyone knew what was happening. No response. I spoke to a councillor on the planning committee and he had heard nothing from the owners for nearly a year. The exterior of the building is in urgent need of renovation/restorati on prior to re-opening as a going concern. I cannot see how this wonderful old building can suddenly "Spring into life". Wrinklyrod
  • Score: 0

12:44pm Thu 24 Nov 11

IslandJim1 says...

I now have the task of saying "I told you so" as my comments on the original reports regarding Brewers Quays regeneration pretty much predicted this outcome to the letter. This scheme was never going to happen while the rest of Weymouth infrastructure was being dug up, and a global recession is in full swing. And as a result an important Weymouth landmark has stood empty, decaying and useless for over a year. I'm sure this story is going to bring a very bitter taste to the people who where made redundant just before Christmas last year!
I now have the task of saying "I told you so" as my comments on the original reports regarding Brewers Quays regeneration pretty much predicted this outcome to the letter. This scheme was never going to happen while the rest of Weymouth infrastructure was being dug up, and a global recession is in full swing. And as a result an important Weymouth landmark has stood empty, decaying and useless for over a year. I'm sure this story is going to bring a very bitter taste to the people who where made redundant just before Christmas last year! IslandJim1
  • Score: 0

1:33pm Thu 24 Nov 11

Kaptain_Von says...

I hate to say it but reading through the corporate-speak I doubt that it will be open this time next year either. "Close to finalising a deal" is particularly worrying as it indicates that no deals have been finalised and as we all know, changes in the economic situation can stop deals in their tracks. Any deals should have been finalised months ago if the site is to be open by next year.

The museum is yet to be relocated, not an easy task and one which could impact massively on any timescales. Add to this the chaos that the Olympics will inevitably bring and this project is not going to be finished any time soon.
I hate to say it but reading through the corporate-speak I doubt that it will be open this time next year either. "Close to finalising a deal" is particularly worrying as it indicates that no deals have been finalised and as we all know, changes in the economic situation can stop deals in their tracks. Any deals should have been finalised months ago if the site is to be open by next year. The museum is yet to be relocated, not an easy task and one which could impact massively on any timescales. Add to this the chaos that the Olympics will inevitably bring and this project is not going to be finished any time soon. Kaptain_Von
  • Score: 0

1:40pm Thu 24 Nov 11

islandman says...

Currently there is absolutely no reason to walk over the Town Bridge to explore the Hope Sq area. Even approaching that area via the Council Offices, again one would not venture down there.

It's a strange old world really as I seem to remember that when all buses were redirected via Hope Sq to accommodate the installation of the intelligent traffic lights by Asda, people moaned then, but at least the pavements were busy, people window shopped, hopefully they spent money, they found comfort in food & drink. So really,unless the Quay complex does materialise, the area seems doomed.
Currently there is absolutely no reason to walk over the Town Bridge to explore the Hope Sq area. Even approaching that area via the Council Offices, again one would not venture down there. It's a strange old world really as I seem to remember that when all buses were redirected via Hope Sq to accommodate the installation of the intelligent traffic lights by Asda, people moaned then, but at least the pavements were busy, people window shopped, hopefully they spent money, they found comfort in food & drink. So really,unless the Quay complex does materialise, the area seems doomed. islandman
  • Score: 0

6:08pm Thu 24 Nov 11

Onlycommentwhenmovedtodoso says...

A big, big mistake to shut Brewer's Quay, it was a prime reason to visit Weymouth. The shops were amazing and made for great Christmas shopping, the ambience was unique, and what is going to happen to Timewalk and the fascinating display of ancient brewing techniques? Flats and hotels are not going to fill the gap that this closure has left in Weymouth. Let's hope that the "wet weather tourist attraction" will not be another slot machine arcade.
A big, big mistake to shut Brewer's Quay, it was a prime reason to visit Weymouth. The shops were amazing and made for great Christmas shopping, the ambience was unique, and what is going to happen to Timewalk and the fascinating display of ancient brewing techniques? Flats and hotels are not going to fill the gap that this closure has left in Weymouth. Let's hope that the "wet weather tourist attraction" will not be another slot machine arcade. Onlycommentwhenmovedtodoso
  • Score: 0

7:26pm Thu 24 Nov 11

this bloke says...

Well now, what a big surprise. As I seem to recall quite a few folks on here pointing out around a year ago, it was never likely to happen in time, more likely being a half finished mess than anything. Lo & behold, it isn't even started.
So now, the route to the pointless & greedily priced viewing area at the nothe, rather than passing through a lovely square brimming with bars, restaurants and quirky little shops, will pass through a mostly deserted, half derelict building site.
Pat yourselves on the back weymouth for yet another triumph of utter stupidity
Well now, what a big surprise. As I seem to recall quite a few folks on here pointing out around a year ago, it was never likely to happen in time, more likely being a half finished mess than anything. Lo & behold, it isn't even started. So now, the route to the pointless & greedily priced viewing area at the nothe, rather than passing through a lovely square brimming with bars, restaurants and quirky little shops, will pass through a mostly deserted, half derelict building site. Pat yourselves on the back weymouth for yet another triumph of utter stupidity this bloke
  • Score: 0

7:43pm Thu 24 Nov 11

iampuzzled says...

They will probably change the walker's 'last mile' route from the Swannery to the Nothe to go via Rodwell Avenue so that they don't pass through a mostly deserted, half derelict building site.(:o)) That is, if the pedestrians can negotiate the ASDA junction.
They will probably change the walker's 'last mile' route from the Swannery to the Nothe to go via Rodwell Avenue so that they don't pass through a mostly deserted, half derelict building site.(:o)) That is, if the pedestrians can negotiate the ASDA junction. iampuzzled
  • Score: 0

9:29pm Thu 24 Nov 11

What's really going on ? says...

It really is a shame about brewers quay! But shut for a year already ? I could of sworn it was still going till feb .
It really is a shame about brewers quay! But shut for a year already ? I could of sworn it was still going till feb . What's really going on ?
  • Score: 0

9:51pm Thu 24 Nov 11

Be_Happy says...

So over 100 people redundant, promises of more jobs, and lo and behold nothing.
.
W&PBC must of realised that this would happen, so why did they grant planning permission?
.
The area is now almost dead, and the replacement (IF it happens) is not going to have the same life and vibrancy of the old complex.
.
Christmas at the Quay used to be really special.
So over 100 people redundant, promises of more jobs, and lo and behold nothing. . W&PBC must of realised that this would happen, so why did they grant planning permission? . The area is now almost dead, and the replacement (IF it happens) is not going to have the same life and vibrancy of the old complex. . Christmas at the Quay used to be really special. Be_Happy
  • Score: 0

11:01pm Thu 24 Nov 11

biggestoaf says...

@this bloke
"Pat yourselves on the back weymouth for yet another triumph of utter stupidity”
I don't understand your definition of Weymouth here. How is anyone in Weymouth (including the Council) responsible for this? The decision to close and redevelop has been taken by a private commercial company.
@this bloke "Pat yourselves on the back weymouth for yet another triumph of utter stupidity” I don't understand your definition of Weymouth here. How is anyone in Weymouth (including the Council) responsible for this? The decision to close and redevelop has been taken by a private commercial company. biggestoaf
  • Score: 0

5:04pm Fri 25 Nov 11

Wrinklyrod says...

Would it help the Hope Square businesses if parking was permitted on the large area fronting Brewers Quay, say for a maximum of four hours and restricted to those using said businesses? At least up until the scaffolding arrives - so there's parking for a year or two???
Would it help the Hope Square businesses if parking was permitted on the large area fronting Brewers Quay, say for a maximum of four hours and restricted to those using said businesses? At least up until the scaffolding arrives - so there's parking for a year or two??? Wrinklyrod
  • Score: 0

10:34am Sat 26 Nov 11

JamesYoung says...

@Wrinkly - the problem with that is that the big car park at brewer's quay is managed by a parasitic private car parking company who, as they make their money by issuing fines rather than tickets, have little interest in stimulating footfall and filling spaces.
@Wrinkly - the problem with that is that the big car park at brewer's quay is managed by a parasitic private car parking company who, as they make their money by issuing fines rather than tickets, have little interest in stimulating footfall and filling spaces. JamesYoung
  • Score: 0

11:48am Sat 26 Nov 11

IslandJim1 says...

biggestoaf wrote:
@this bloke
"Pat yourselves on the back weymouth for yet another triumph of utter stupidity”
I don't understand your definition of Weymouth here. How is anyone in Weymouth (including the Council) responsible for this? The decision to close and redevelop has been taken by a private commercial company.
But the decision to grant planning permission for this "none start" development was taken by the council, despite peoples protests. Not completely to blame but defiantly a guilty party as usual!
[quote][p][bold]biggestoaf[/bold] wrote: @this bloke "Pat yourselves on the back weymouth for yet another triumph of utter stupidity” I don't understand your definition of Weymouth here. How is anyone in Weymouth (including the Council) responsible for this? The decision to close and redevelop has been taken by a private commercial company.[/p][/quote]But the decision to grant planning permission for this "none start" development was taken by the council, despite peoples protests. Not completely to blame but defiantly a guilty party as usual! IslandJim1
  • Score: 0

4:35pm Sat 26 Nov 11

Wrinklyrod says...

"JamesYoung" I assumed the area fronting the complex would be owned by Brewers Quay Investments LLP. They could permit people using the Hope Square Businesses to park here as a temporary concession prior to the outside renovation commencing. If the main car parks at the rear are run as you say then this will definately not help the businesses.
"JamesYoung" I assumed the area fronting the complex would be owned by Brewers Quay Investments LLP. They could permit people using the Hope Square Businesses to park here as a temporary concession prior to the outside renovation commencing. If the main car parks at the rear are run as you say then this will definately not help the businesses. Wrinklyrod
  • Score: 0

12:09pm Sun 27 Nov 11

Be_Happy says...

The area out the front belongs to the council.
The car park belongs to Brewers Quay llp who have given the rights to fine people who don't pay or overstay to parking eye parasites.
Brewers Quay llp want the income from the car parks so would kick off at the council if they allow parking out the front, and I doubt if Brewers Quay llp give a **** about local traders (they didn't care about the traders in the old Brewers Quay when they ousted them).
The area out the front belongs to the council. The car park belongs to Brewers Quay llp who have given the rights to fine people who don't pay or overstay to parking eye parasites. Brewers Quay llp want the income from the car parks so would kick off at the council if they allow parking out the front, and I doubt if Brewers Quay llp give a **** about local traders (they didn't care about the traders in the old Brewers Quay when they ousted them). Be_Happy
  • Score: 0

8:18pm Sun 27 Nov 11

bollywood says...

It is so sad that Brewers Quay is not still open. It was a delight to visit at any time of the year for those unusual gifts. At Christmas the decorations were especially beautiful and the whole atmosphere joyful, unlike the drab decorations in the main streets. I walk through the square daily and see holiday makers
standing in disbelief that this facility is closed. How much more of Weymouth are the planners going to destroy before it ends up without a soul like Poundbury.
It is so sad that Brewers Quay is not still open. It was a delight to visit at any time of the year for those unusual gifts. At Christmas the decorations were especially beautiful and the whole atmosphere joyful, unlike the drab decorations in the main streets. I walk through the square daily and see holiday makers standing in disbelief that this facility is closed. How much more of Weymouth are the planners going to destroy before it ends up without a soul like Poundbury. bollywood
  • Score: 0

5:27am Mon 28 Nov 11

Peter Baylis says...

This is what happens when local breweries shut down (Devenish). We have lost all of our four local breweries in Nottingham, and all the local trade eventually shuts down. A lesson to be learned there.
This is what happens when local breweries shut down (Devenish). We have lost all of our four local breweries in Nottingham, and all the local trade eventually shuts down. A lesson to be learned there. Peter Baylis
  • Score: 0

3:15pm Mon 28 Nov 11

mark84 says...

I agree with "biggestoaf" not sure how you can blame the Council for this. The choice between having the place closed for a while then redeveloped, or closed indefinately seems to be straight forward to me.

Be_Happy says "W&PBC must have known this was going to happen so why did they grant planning permission". This place would STILL have closed even if they hadnt granted planning permission as it was losing the owners money.

I used to work in the cafe down there and my parents live very close and the fact is the place just did not make much money. Aside from rainy summer days and xmas period the place was dead. I would have preferred it to stay open but the finances of keeping it as it was obviously didnt stack up.

I look forward to something viable opening on the site in order to ensure the long term future of the small businesses down that end of town. It may take a bit longer than expected but we are in a recession after all.
I agree with "biggestoaf" not sure how you can blame the Council for this. The choice between having the place closed for a while then redeveloped, or closed indefinately seems to be straight forward to me. Be_Happy says "W&PBC must have known this was going to happen so why did they grant planning permission". This place would STILL have closed even if they hadnt granted planning permission as it was losing the owners money. I used to work in the cafe down there and my parents live very close and the fact is the place just did not make much money. Aside from rainy summer days and xmas period the place was dead. I would have preferred it to stay open but the finances of keeping it as it was obviously didnt stack up. I look forward to something viable opening on the site in order to ensure the long term future of the small businesses down that end of town. It may take a bit longer than expected but we are in a recession after all. mark84
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree