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Mercury Article: What projects should we look for in Weston during 2017?

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‘Never make predictions, especially about the future,’ as the great USA baseball player and coach Yogi Berra is supposed to have said. But 2016 was so extraordinary that most of us are hoping the next twelve months will be, well, a bit quieter. So let’s ignore Yogi’s advice for a moment, and try a few unreliable predictions about what 2017 might bring, for Weston and villages at least.

Let’s start with Dolphin Square. I know it’s not much of a prediction since a fair chunk of it has been built already, but 2017 should be the year when it FINALLY opens to the public. And it’s still worth celebrating because, after so many years of stalemate and frustration, it’s a major piece of investment and a powerful statement of business confidence in Weston’s future. It shows the importance of persevering too!

Further off but getting closer are the plans for a plush new Town Square, with fancy lighting and Mediterranean-style planting to match the Italian Gardens, which should take the town centre makeover another step forwards.

Any local entrepreneurs aiming to become the next Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg, with startups to rival Apple or Facebook, will have a new digital hub in the refurbished Badger Centre. Or, if Jamie Oliver and Heston Blumenthal are more your thing, the new Food & Drink Innovation Centre (FoodWorks) planned for the Enterprise Area near J21 should get local business juices flowing.

And Junction 21 won’t escape either, with a couple of extra tweaks to increase capacity and reduce the queues.

So 2017 isn’t going to be quiet after all. There may not be another Banksy exhibition to rival 2015, but it should be just as exciting – but in a good way – as 2016. Let’s see if the predictions come true…….

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