Report by Alex Evans, Reporter
Saturday, August 18, 2012
WESTON MP John Penrose says it is time to ‘face reality’ over the Tropicana after the Government approved the council’s decision to send in the bulldozers.
Mr Penrose said he is ‘very disappointed’ the plans to save the landmark were ‘not viable’ and that it would be ‘silly’ to carry on the fight for a scheme which has ‘no chance of working’.
He said: “I’m very disappointed the Tropicana plans weren’t viable. A lot of people had spent a great deal of time trying to find a workable solution for the Trop, including major local businessmen like Derek Mead, so it’s only natural that a lot of us are upset.
“But as I’ve said in the Mercury many times in the past, if someone like Derek can’t make the Trop work, no-one can.
“I will continue to fight for a covered pool for Weston, which is what every Westonian wants.
“But this decision is a pretty clear message that we’re banging our heads against a brick wall if we keep trying to put it in the old Trop building.
“If the Minister – who’s completely independent from all the campaigns and has no axe to grind – concluded that Trop WSM’s plans weren’t workable, even after I’d lobbied and pestered him about them for months, then I’m afraid we have to face reality and start looking for a different site instead.
“I doubt any of us like it – I certainly don’t – but, equally, there’s no point in kidding ourselves. We have to move forward.
“The people who say they’re determined to fight on need to explain why they’re still backing a project that’s got no chance of working.”
Mr Penrose said he felt he had done enough to try to save the building, adding: “No local MP has any official power to interfere in this kind of planning decision at all.
“The only people with any legal powers were the council and the Secretary of State.
“Nonetheless I decided to stick my nose in so the Minister would look carefully at Derek Mead’s plans and, if they were viable, give them a chance.
“The trouble was, they didn’t hold water. But what I wasn’t prepared to do – which seems to be what some of the ‘fight on regardless’ campaigners would have liked – was to argue that he should have approved the plans even if they weren’t viable at all.
“That would just be silly.”
Mr Penrose urged the people of Weston to move forward and push for a new site for a pool in the town.
He added: “I didn’t want to start campaigning for this when there was still a chance we could save the old Trop. But now the decision has been taken, we’ve got to get cracking.
“I’ll start with an urgent meeting with council leaders and, depending on what they say, you can expect to hear plenty more about this over the next few months.”