Bethan Evans, Reporter
Saturday, April 14, 2012
A NORTH Somerset councillor has branded the authority’s stance on the future of Weston’s Tropicana as ‘an absolute disgrace.’
This matter came to light after a report on proposals, put forward by group Trop (WSM) Ltd, to save the site said its plan was not viable.
Trop (WSM) Ltd compiled a redevelopment plan which included an Olympic-sized pool, water slides, shops and restaurants, after North Somerset Council’s executive voted to demolish the landmark.
The Secretary of State has been asked to confirm demolition – which only he can grant – and the deadline for his decision is less than two weeks away.
The group’s business plan was assessed by property consultants DTZ at the request of North Somerset Council, and its report says there are a number of inconsistencies in figures presented by the group, an over-reliance on grants and an under-estimate of redevelopment costs.
Trop (WSM) figurehead Derek Mead said the DTZ report is now being scrutinised by his accountants.
He said: “I do not think DTZ understands the figures, as the business plan was only a draft. I understand that DTZ has now been instructed not to speak to us. There are areas where they do not understand what the business plan states. And we still cannot talk to the council about it.”
Councillor Mike Bell has said he cannot understand why North Somerset’s executive members will not meet with the group.
He said: “It is an absolute disgrace that Nigel Ashton, Elfan Ap Rees and their executive cronies will not even sit around the table and talk.
“They are happy to spend public money commissioning reports to undermine alternative plans for the Tropicana. They are happy to spend taxpayers’ money on expensive barristers and legal advice to fight a judicial review in the High Court.
“Yet they cannot spare half an hour to sit around the table and see if there is any common ground to be found with Derek Mead and his business.”
Mr Mead said his group is now going to do its own report on DTZ’s response to outline the mistakes it has made.
He said: “My accountants are really annoyed about this report. There are a lot of things that could have been sorted out with DTZ but we can’t talk to them. But I don’t think there is anything insurmountable in the report, so we will have to see what happens.”