Bethan Evans, Reporter
Thursday, August 9, 2012
A NORTH Somerset councillor has said he will ‘chain himself to the bulldozers’ which threaten to demolish Weston’s Tropicana.
Leader of the Liberal Democrat group on North Somerset Council, Mike Bell, called the government decision to reduce the former pool to sand a ‘whitewash’ and criticised Weston’s MP for not doing more to save the site.
He said: “Six Conservative councillors took the decision to demolish the Tropicana in the face of public opposition. One Conservative minister has rubber stamped their decision. This has got whitewash splashed all over it.
“This decision also shows that Weston’s Conservative MP - himself a minister in the Government - has no influence at the top table. His words in the Secretary of State’s ear obviously went unheeded.”
The council was given the green light to demolish the landmark by the secretary for communities and local government despite repeated attempts to save the building.
The latest redevelopment plan was put forward by campaigning group Trop (WSM) Ltd, headed by Puxton Park owner Derek Mead.
In the letter sent by the secretary to the council, Mr Pickles confirmed the scheme proposed by the group was neither viable nor deliverable.
He also stated the building has not been subject to deliberate neglect or disrepair and the demolition of the Tropicana would have a positive impact on the conservation area and the tourist sector.
The group says it will now serve an injunction on the council, which will be taken up immediately with the High Court, after which it intends to appeal the Secretary of State’s decision.
Cllr Bell said: “This is very disappointing news but does not end the fight. We will support legal efforts by campaigners to block the demolition until alternative plans to save the Tropicana have been given a fair hearing and I for one will chain myself to the bulldozers to try to prevent demolition.
“There is an alternative plan, the building is not beyond its useful life and many people want to see the site saved as a leisure development. On all three fronts Conservative councillors and now Conservative ministers have not listened.”