Too important to be used as a political plaything

FOR ten years, the people of Weston have been denied the chance to influence the next stage of the Tropicana regeneration saga.

FOR ten years, the people of Weston have been denied the chance to influence the next stage of the Tropicana regeneration saga.

North Somerset Council has ignored public pleas for a new pool and instead backed two losing horses in MACE and Henry Boot.

Boot's project collapsed last month, and while it lead to immediate and obvious frustration, the people of Weston glimpsed a silver lining - the chance to have a real say on what happens next.

Interested parties eyed a council meeting on January 5 as the opportunity to put their views and appeal for the pool they've spent a decade campaigning for.


You may also want to watch:


Yet this week, this meeting has been cancelled. Instead of the Tropicana's future being discussed in a public forum, the vital issue will be tackled behind closed doors by the council's seven-strong executive.

Yes, the same executive members who have faced a barrage of allegations in recent weeks that they are 'anti-Weston'.

Most Read

Yes, the same executive members who are behind a plan to move more than 750 council jobs out of the town.

And yes, the same executive members who are plotting to sell off Weston assets including the Winter Gardens, Playhouse and museum.

Council leader Nigel Ashton says discussions will be held in secret because he wants to 'press ahead urgently' with rebuilding instead of waiting for January's meeting (though the council won't say when these talks will happen).

Yet the time for urgency has passed. The time for swift action was when previous schemes floundered.

Instead of sitting dormant for months knowing that the Boot scheme was dead, the council should have driven forward. It should have forced developers to stick to deadlines, or told them to hand the project back.

But it didn't. A decade has been wasted. So after ten years, why is the council in such a rush that it can't wait two weeks to allow the public a say?

After all, seafront contractors Birse will be occupying the site until next summer. Could the ruling administration fear for its future if there is no Tropicana progress by the time of the next election?

Maybe. But this site is too important to be used as a political plaything.

The council has had two bites at the cherry, and choked both times - now it's time to finally stop pushing aside public opinion and let people who really care about our town have a go.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus