Bethan Evans, Reporter
Saturday, July 7, 2012
SENIOR North Somerset councillors say the authority has given Clevedon Pier more than £650,000 because, as the owner, it has ‘a duty to maintain it’ but refuses to restore Weston’s Tropicana.
Executive members voted at their last meeting to provide the listed landmark with £657,601 for maintenance works.
When challenged by councillors at the meeting on why money could be provided for the repair of the pier, but not the former pool on Weston seafront which it also owns, members explained the council could face legal action if it was not repaired.
Clevedon Pier is also under the care of the Clevedon Pier Trust Ltd but as it has no policy to support the structure, if the trust surrenders the lease, the council would be forced to take on the responsibility.
Executive member Jeremy Blatchford said: “The Tropicana is not a listed building. All advice to the council is that the Tropicana is not viable without massive subsidy.
“If Clevedon Pier were not repaired the council would face legal action because it is the owner and therefore has a duty to maintain the pier. If the council were not the owner the funding would not be there.”
During the council’s discussion over granting the pier with thousands of pounds, Weston councillor Mike Bell said: “We all want to support the trust as much as we can and our hands are tied in reality anyway.
“It does not sit very comfortably with me when the council does not find any money for the redevelopment for the Trop.
“It’s one rule for them and another for us.”
Deputy leader Elfan Ap Rees said: “Chalk and cheese comes to mind. One is a beautiful elegant structure in good condition that is the key feature on Clevedon seafront.
“The other is a rundown derelict structure that ruins the sweeping vista of Weston seafront and which can only be brought back to life if a benefactor comes forward with a gift of several million ponds to donate with no strings for the good of the town.”