Letters to the Editor, January 26, 2012

Wasted years

HOW sad and pathetic are these councillors who are in charge of the Tropicana.

Eleven wasted years of taxpayers’ money down the drain.

Huffing and puffing always coming up with excuse after excuse, can’t do this, can’t do that.

Then up comes another excuse, the issue is car parking. Where’s the problem here councillors? To me, there’s no problem. Problem solved, park on the sands.

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When the Grand Pier was up and running after the fire destroyed the old pier, not once did I hear about the problem with parking.

Now we are told it’s going to cost us the taxpayers �800,000 to destroy the Tropicana.

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More like a million pounds. Diana Dors, Laurel and Hardy and many more stars have paid a visit to the Tropicana in it’s heyday.

There’s history that will be destroyed and gone for ever.

Shame on you councillors.


Orchard Drive, Sandford


I SEEM to have it wrong so forgive me for thinking that we have a council and its councillors to do our bidding 80 per cent of the folk that live in Weston would like the Trop to be put back to how it was and bring it into use.

It seems that the council does not give a damn about what we think. We pay the council tax, we keep them in a job.

Their job is to do what we ask, not to do what they think is best. Who the hell do you think you are? I think you are a load of wannabes.

It’s OK to revamp the town hall. Did you ask us if it was OK to spend our money? No you did not.

I’m OK Jack seems to be the way you lot think but remember this when it’s time to vote. We will remember.

We have a good seafront but the Trop is a let-down. You have made it like that. You have let it go so that you could knock it down and that’s not what we want.


Oldmixon Road, Weston


RE: ‘CONCERNED’ from Ian Pitch, Winscombe, letter in the Mercury on January 19, I can live with the opinion that, and “who in their right mind would swim open air in the evenings”. Holidaymakers, local children and adults until around 8pm, especially considering our tide times.

But to say a few letters in a local paper hardly indicates an overwhelming public support, have you forgotten the signed petition of 25,000 people collected by the late Richard Whittington who worked tirelessly to save the Tropicana, and I believe that support is still out there.


Whitecross Road, Weston


YOUR letters page last week contained a letter from a Winscombe resident in favour of the demolition of the Tropicana.

The letter contains a number of inaccuracies which I would like to address.

Over the last 11 years North Somerset Council has accepted tenders from Mace and Boot despite local misgivings that Mace was too grandiose and would not happen and Boot was too complicated, and would not be able to persuade residents to accept a hotel on the beach. The misgivings proved correct and both projects failed. During this time there were local businessmen interested in buying or developing the Tropicana, also a group set up which wanted to run it as a charity. These local people were given no chance to develop plans.

The writer describes the desire to separate from North Somerset Council as ‘just plain dotty’. I think the reason some people would like to separate is that Weston is continually being treated unfairly by North Somerset Council. Just a couple of recent examples: the re-allocation to Castlewood losing jobs in Weston (the town centre is suffering badly). Also the unfair situation of car parking charges. Weston is the only town in the whole of North Somerset to pay for parking in council car parks. We contribute �1million a year in car parking fees and I doubt that money goes to Weston. It is not ‘dotty’ to want to be governed fairly.

The writer states that “a few letters in a local paper is hardly an indication of widespread public support”. I live on the far outskirts of Weston and go into the town most days. I have yet to hear anyone support the proposal to demolish the Tropicana (I note the writer is not a resident of Weston). Is he aware that a few years ago a local pensioner organised a petition in favour of a low-key development of the pool with retractable roof and whatever consumer outlets were needed to make it viable? The petition obtained 24,000 signatures and was handed in to 10 Downing Street. I think that is the ‘proof’ required.



CAN someone please explain why it is necessary to have all the inside lights burning all over the weekend and all over the Christmas holiday in the town hall when clearly there is no-one at work?

If I leave the occasional light on in my house my wife might suggest I should switch it off but I am not asking the rest of the town to pay for them.


St Pauls Road, Weston


WELL I never, when I took my job in Bridgwater, never for one minute did I think commuting from Weston would take longer than making a decision as to what we can do with the Tropicana.

Just when we hear about another housing development taking place on the old airfield, I am still trying to come to terms with our existing one. My journey starting in Locking Road is now taking an hour to reach Junction 21 motorway exit.

The reason was because of the closure of the railway bridge at West Wick. Once again, there seemed to be no thought or prior warning, just a maze of diversion signs and the anarchy of angry cars.

This is no week-long quick fix but a terminal one for half a year. Many motorists trying to escape from the town every rush hour morning have now got to join the already standstill traffic on the main route adding to the chaos we have endured for years.

How was this ever approved or (non) planned without any provision or thought as to the horrendous situation it would cause is unbelievable.

In the midst of the madness our great leader has an answer. “Leave earlier for work”. Amazing. How about we stay in work and then we won’t need to travel at all?

In a nutshell, Weston has grown tenfold in the last decade and the army of locals who have to take on the challenge of trying to reach the motorway everyday has continually expressed the need for another junction or a resolution to stop the bottleneck at Worle.

What next? Is the answer to the Tropicana “Swim in the sea”, if it rains “use an umbrella”. My answer would be to our elected, buy a copy of Sim City for the computer and learn how to build and run a town before doing it in real life or listen to stressed-out locals who have to live this nightmare every day (not that we can have enough sleep to get them anymore).

Let’s not worry about falling over tables in Pier Square. You are more likely to trip over a stationary car before you get there.


St Austell Road, Weston


I HAVE written to the Mercury before, along with hundreds of others regarding the development of the Tropicana.

Indeed I believe the Mercury undertook a recent poll, confirming 72 per cent of people did not want to see the Tropicana demolished, yet the council still continues with this policy. The same policy I am sure that has been in place for several years. I resigned myself to the fact that this will happen and that they will once again fly in the face of public opinion.

I felt though I had to write again in response to Mr Pitch’s letter in last week’s paper and an almost identical letter of the same vein published just after Christmas.

The council defends its position by saying people who were interested in giving us a covered pool were either disillusioned, did not try hard enough or put forward schemes that were unviable.

It must be obvious that the council does not run a business, they apportion taxpayers’ money and simply have no experience in this area. Businessmen and women run viable, successful businesses, so is the council seriously saying that Mr Michael, Mr Nightingale and Mr Mead have no experience or track record in this area?

I believe Mr Nightingale even counted Serco, the largest viable swimming pool operator in the UK as part of his team. I think we can safely assume that these people know more about swimming pools than the council.

Anyway if successful businessmen want to provide the community with a swimming pool viable or not, they should have been given every opportunity and assistance to do so, not criticism.

As for the council dismissing the business case for a covered pool, well you only have to look at the number of Centre Parc sites that have opened up in the last few years, and the new swimming park less than 10 miles away in Brean to realise this is not correct. Please Mr Pitch I know the council with thank you for publicising its propaganda, but I wish it would give an ounce of credit to the rest of the community, that this line simply does hold water.

There is only one common denominator in the sad story of the Tropicana not being developed, that is North Somerset Council. The faces of developers have changed – Mace, Henry Boot, Nightingale, Mead, the Michaels, yet Councillor Ap Rees, Ashton and North Somerset Council still believe they know better, and pure arrogance has won the day.

I resigned myself to the demolition of the Tropicana, but can not resign myself to believing the council’s propaganda, it just does not bear up to scrutiny and it is disrespectful to those who have given up their time and money to try and help the community, a role the council should really be carrying out itself.

Roll on the next elections.


Careys Way, Weston

Three camps

THE saga of the Tropicana continues with letters from correspondents with differing views.

It is obvious that there are three camps, those who never wanted it rebuilt, those that would like a pool but seem to have given up and those who still believe in its future.

Recently there was an interesting letter from Ian Pitch in which he casts scorn on the businessmen who still show an interest in the Trop.

Ian asks where these white knights were in the past, well this is easy to answer.

Kerry Michael was more interested in rebuilding the Grand Pier and what a success this has become. The other white knights were always around, and I include Richard Nightingale amongst them, but why would they be involved when the council, in its wisdom, was choosing other schemes?

Ian is under the assumption that there never was and never will be any hope, which is very negative.

The businessmen that still believe are respected members of our community who have proven records of business success so why not sell them the site for �1 and if they fail then they can fork out for the demolition and it will not have to come out of our coffers?

It is also interesting that the councillors were not unanimous in their latest decision with six of them voting to keep the Tropicana alive.

If two councillors had changed their vote there would still be hope.

I believe the Tropicana, which still lives on in our minds can rise up from the ashes, just like the Grand Pier, if only the full council can show true grit.


Clarence Grove Road, Weston

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