A better suited site

IN THE aftermath of the fire at the Grand Pier it appears the town and its authorities have suddenly woken to ask themselves: what have we got left and what

IN THE aftermath of the fire at the Grand Pier it appears the town and its authorities have suddenly woken to ask themselves: what have we got left and what do we do now? We are informed the owners of the Grand Pier want to re-establish it as the main draw of the seafront and that is only to be applauded, but it will not and cannot happen overnight.So, thoughts logically turn to the Tropicana. While I agree that in order to maintain the town's reputation as a resort, some sort of action is needed rapidly but the proposed Henry Boot plans should not be passed on a whim because there is no pier to attract visitors.Although I am not wholeheartedly against the development I do feel strongly such a scheme should not blot the seascape and that an alternative site would be better suited. For example, Dolphin Square was in the news some months back with a proposal to flatten that and build a similar shopping, leisure, accommodation and residential centre there.Apart from the size and design of the Lifestation@Tropicana I feel the main concern with those I have talked to is the use of the Beach Lawns for parking. This is little short of legalised vandalism of a public open space and severely restricts the possibility of successful events taking place throughout the year, such as the brilliant Helidays. Additionally, a substantial length of Marine Parade will be closed to traffic with the loss of current parking spaces and for many visitors just driving along the front and sitting in the car staring out to sea is the reason to come. However, the Tropicana as it stands also has support for re-opening but we are told that refurbishment and running costs could not be recovered from revenue generated.How 'green' is the Boot scheme intended to be? It struck me the other day that if the Tropicana were re-opened as a pool with associated catering and small outlets that its running costs could be covered in some way by the use of the sun. There is an enormous bank of boards atop the south side of the building crying out to be covered in solar panels. The entire attraction could be a 'green energy' leader, utilising the power of the wind too, generating media interest and, therefore, positive publicity for the town. I'm sure costs involved will immediately prevent our authorities even considering such an idea but perhaps the owners of the pier could take that on board with their eventual rebuilding plans.ANDY NEWMAN - Quantock Road, Weston


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