A modicum of business sense
THE news that Henry Boot Ltd has decided to drop the proposed redevelopment of the Tropicana site will come as no surprise to anyone with a modicum of business sense - leaving the Weston area without the pool facility local residents have been demanding...
THE news that Henry Boot Ltd has decided to drop the proposed redevelopment of the Tropicana site will come as no surprise to anyone with a modicum of business sense - leaving the Weston area without the pool facility local residents have been demanding and waiting for at least a decade.
The present Conservative overwhelming majority on North Somerset Council has done little for Weston. Councillors further afield have always seen Weston as the favoured part of the district whereas local residents have seen little evidence of this - except noting that Weston has always been the council's milch cow as far as car parking charges are concerned - charges which are not levied in other parts of the district.
A 96-bed hotel on the seafront would never have been a success. Weston has been little more than a day-trippers' destination for many years and that is why local hotels have shut on a regular basis. The proposed hotel under the Boot scheme would have better suited at a Junction 21 site. After a night's stay, what businessman would have wanted to battle out of Weston to get onto the M5 to start his day's work?
The council has tried to have the site redeveloped at no expense to local ratepayers. That in itself was a laudable ambition but the private sector was only ever interested in developing a commercial site with a token pool as a sop to residents. However, any plan to put a 96-bed hotel on the site would have been a disaster. Ten years from completion - or earlier - the owners would have been applying to convert it into flats. And would the council be able to turn down such an application? Only if its members were willing to create an even bigger eyesore than we have at the moment.
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It is hugely unfortunate that party politics have such a massive influence on local issues. Decisions are taken in party meeting rooms with councillors not being influenced by any so-called debate in the council chamber afterwards. They vote en bloc according to their party line. That does not offer ratepayers a good service since policies are adopted and voted through with little attention to ratepayers' opinion.
The Tropicana 'debate' is a classic example. Despite the overwhelming majority of locals who expressed an opinion, Cllr Elfan Ap Rees knew best and that local opinion was rubbished, sidelined and ignored.
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Westonians and others have made the trip to Sedgemoor Splash for many years until its recent closure. A proper pool on the seafront would be supported from all over the district. It would not have been a facility for Westonians only.
And finally, wouldn't we all like to see Mr Nightingale's proposals for the Tropicana site - if they are still available. I seem to remember that they were dismissed without the public having the opportunity to see them and comment.
Elmsleigh Road, Weston