Were there more detailed plans?

ON July 24, the chairman of the Friends of Our Tropicana (FOOT) addressed the full North Somerset Council to appeal against

ON July 24, the chairman of the Friends of Our Tropicana (FOOT) addressed the full North Somerset Council to appeal against the proposed Tropicana development and its potentially devastating impact on Weston seafront. Councillor Ap Rees was reported by the Weston & Somerset Mercury as commenting: "People need to wait until they actually see the final plans because until they come out and people can see what they are talking about then anything else is just conjecture." The assessment was based on scaled plans and elevations made available to the council at the end of last year. These formed the background to the council entering into its development partnership with Henry Boot Developments Ltd and agreeing the heads of terms for the Lifestation. Were these decisions therefore similarly 'conjecture' or were there more detailed plans all along which have been deliberately withheld from the public? Whatever the truth is the facts remain that the Lifestation will contain a 96-bed hotel, 16 retail units, a five-screen cinema, a bowling rink, children's play area, skate park, swimming pool, restaurant and eating areas supported by spaces for about 500 cars. Whatever the final shape or design is, these facilities will require a massive building which, on its isolated site, will dominate the beach and seafront, impacting on views from every direction. Of course North Somerset would benefit from such a complex in Weston. However, since location is key, how much more sensible it would be to place this development close to the town centre, leaving the swimming facilities on the beach. The Lifestation would then provide visitors and shoppers with the benefits of additional desperately needed car parking space and a new range of shops as well as leisure facilities. A Dolphin Square location, for example, would still allow the hotel to boast spectacular sea views and guests would enjoy increased choice and convenience for local shops, bars and restaurants in the town centre. Not to mention easy access to the rail, bus and road connections to the motorway. This sounds dangerously like a win, win solution for both Henry Boot and North Somerset! PETER BARRINGTON - Hutton Hill, Weston


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